Honors Colloquia

The Honors Colloquia, open only to students in Williams Honors College, are interdisciplinary seminars designed to increase understanding of the primary concerns, the intellectual traditions, and the epistemologies of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. These seminars offer you a special chance to broaden your perspectives by interacting with honors students from widely diverse fields of study. They invite you to sharpen your critical reading, speaking and writing skills so that you may thrive in your professional, civic, and personal lives. Note that all Honors students are required to take the set of three Honors Colloquia as part of the Honors Distribution. The colloquia are offered each fall and spring semester, and frequently during summer sessions. It is your responsibility to schedule the colloquia in a timely manner.

  • Students entering the Williams Honors College Fall 2018 or later are required to take 3 credit hours in each of the three groups, for a total of 9 credit hours overall.
  • Students must receive a grade of B or higher in their colloquium courses to graduate as a Williams Honors Scholar.  If a grade of B- or lower is earned, the colloquium can be retaken, but please contact Ms. Roy (kar46@uakron.edu) for assistance.

2022 Fall

The History of Anti-Semitism

MoWeFr 12:55pm – 1:45pm; HCPX 82
() 1870:350–001

Levin, Michael J

Why do people hate Jews? Is anti-Semitism different from other forms of prejudice? And what does it mean to be Jewish in the first place? In this colloquium we will explore the historical roots of these questions, using various primary sources as a springboard for discussion. We will start in Biblical times, and cover such topics as the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust, and events in modern America. There will be guest lectures from other professors in the History Department, who will bring their own expertise and experiences to the class. The emphasis of the course will be on discussion, with a final project to be determined.


Religion East and West: The Big Questions (and Answers in Words and Art)

TuTh 12:15pm – 1:30pm; HCPX 92
() 1870:350–002

Levin, Paula

We will examine the teachings of Eastern and Western Religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam - in their attempts to guide us to answers to The Big Questions: What is the meaning of life, how should I live, what happens after life, what is God. We will experience the great world of artistic expression of religious ideas through literature, virtual tours, visual media, and music. Guest lecturers will enhance our understanding of religion as it is practiced today. The emphasis of the course is on class discussion of what we experience and react to.


Enchanted Tales: Analyzing the Stories that Make Us

TuTh 2:00pm – 3:15pm; HCPX 83
() 1870:350–003

TuTh 10:45am – 12:00pm; HCPX 83
() 1870:350–004

Amir, Juliana

Stories of the dark woods, the forbidden fruit, filial love, and creative intelligence grace the pages of many beloved storybooks. This colloquium explores the construction, shaping, and use of folklore, fairytales, and myths as the pillars of our own culture. How does the language of fairytales and myths intersect with the language of our dreams, both literal and figurative? Is there a certain age where folklore loses its meaning to us? How much do these enchanted stories shape our identity? We will investigate the archetypes these stories create, how they relate in terms of our own personalities, and how they are utilized to sold modern messages. The course allows students to analyze these stories for their cultural resonance, and gives them the option of creating stories of their own.


Madness and Civilization: The Way We Remember Stories

TuTh 12:15pm – 1:30pm; HCPX 83
() 1870:350–005

Amir, Juliana

Stories have been bent to serve the public's insatiable appetite for the outrageous, the grotesque, and the scandalous. Lies can be spun as truths to promote personal interests. Who possessed agency in carving out their own legacy? Is it always a person’s actions that we deliberate in trial, or is it their artistry? Is there true danger in self-expression? Was Socrates actually put to death for corrupting the youth of Athens? Had Lewis Carroll’s friendships with children become an immoral obsession? Are serial killers the monsters that fuel the stories we hear as children? Students will look analytically at the rhetoric, archetypes, and ideology of various case studies. There will be a few short stories that support the course themes. In search of understanding, introspective opportunities will allow students to look at cultural context and its role in what we choose to believe. Class discussions provide the chance for everyone to share perspectives, and occasionally persuade others of their interpretation of events.


Humanitarian Social Media — Yes or No?

MoWeFr 11:50am – 12:40pm; HCPX 92
() 1870:350–006

Tomko, Carrie

Social media brings instantaneous news, information, and entertainment. Is it accurate in detail? Is it even true? Is it responsible "journalism"? Does it benefit humanity? Does it require accountability? This colloquium looks at the good, bad, and even the "ugly" of social media, studying the impact on culture.


Classical Athens: The Individual and the Community

TuTh 9:15am – 10:30am; HCPX 82
() 1870:350–007

Dumser, Elisha

How does one balance personal choice and freedom against the needs of the greater community? This question, which remains pertinent today, was first explored in ancient Greece. This class seeks to learn more about ourselves by examining the roots of this thorny issue as it emerged in 5th century BCE Classical Athens. Theater, philosophy, history, politics, religious practices, and the visual arts are avenues we'll explore as we discover how the competing needs of the individual and the community were debated in the birthplace of democracy.


Are We Our Brains?

MoWeFr 9:40am – 10:30pm; HCPX 83
() 1870:350–008

Blower, Nathanial S

In this class we will discuss a number of topics related to the question: Are we our brains? The central focus of the course will be a dispute between Peter Hacker and Daniel Dennett. Hacker argues against the habit in neuroscience of treating brains as though they were people: assuming that brains think, feel, perceive, intend and do all manner of things that ordinarily we say people do, not their brains. Daniel Dennett defends the neuroscientists, claiming that Hacker pays too much attention to what we ordinarily say. As we discuss this dispute, we will touch on a number of traditionally philosophical questions about free-will, the afterlife, morality, subjectivity and more. On the more scientific side, we will discuss topics in neuroscience, computer science, mathematics, linguistics and more.


US-China Relations: Past, Present, and Future

TuTh 5:15pm – 6:30pm; www
() 1870:350–501

Sheng, Michael

This course will examine the history of Sino-American relations in the 20th Century, particularly during the Cold War period after WWII. There were two “hot wars” the US fought in the Cold War era, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, both were involving China. The only times that Washington was actively preparing for the use of tactical nuclear war heads were during the Taiwan Strait Crises in 1955 and 1958. Yet, the 1958 crisis led directly to the Sino-Soviet conflict, leading to the Sino-Soviet Border War in 1969 and Nixon’s China visit in 1971. These complicated historical events should serve us well to understand current US-China relations and consequences. Was Beijing to attack Taiwan, a traditional US ally? How to handle US-China trade dispute? After all, these are two largest economies in the world today. Washington’s China policy has been known as “bi-partisan,” but policy proposals and options remain wide-ranged with large amount of uncertainty. This class will help students to be better informed to participate in such important policy debate.


Adapting the Mystery: The Mystery of Adaptation

MoWe 5:15pm – 6:30pm; HCPX 82
() 1870:350–502

Wyszynski, Matt

The classical mystery story/novel is a genre known for its strict conventions and the obligation of the author to “play fair” with the reader. This colloquium will examine some of the works of a few canonical mystery writers (Doyle, Christie, Stout), analyze how these authors establish, reenforce, and expand the limits of the genre. We will also move on to adaptations of these well-known works—as TV shows, films, podcasts, and even board games—to study how one genre and medium is adapted to other forms. There will be class discussion, several response papers, and a final project.


The Culture of Fear

TuTh 10:45am – 12:00pm; HCPX 82
() 1870:340–001

Pollock, Heather

Gloria Steinem says, Empathy is the most radical of human emotions. Where has it gone in this ironic age of global disconnect and isolation? How do we foster compassion if we cannot connect? We investigate its opposite, fear, and render it inert. From universal fears to personal ones, we will explore the nature of fear, seek its purpose, how to navigate it, understand it, and move forward into connection.


Radio, TV, Internet... Oh My!

MoFr 9:40am – 10:30am; HCPX 92
() 1870:340–002

Tomko, Carrie

Communication is key in this fast-paced society with TV, radio, and the internet bringing instantaneous news, information, and entertainment. The mass media brings global topics from across the world close to home. This colloquium will engage students by examining current event coverage in conjunction with communication theories in order to critically analyze what we seeing and hearing in the media. Watch it! Discuss it! Be a student of the world around us! Class discussion is dynamic in my classes!! Interaction in class is highly encouraged through both individual and small group projects. Small group projects are a major part of assessment in order to develop communication skills. Through the group process, students are able to interact in small group communication. Also, during the small group presentation, students gain public speaking communication skills, as well as use communication skills to facilitate a question and answer session. Development of these communication skills is key to success in academia, as well as in career settings. Academia gives us the opportunity to both develop and practice these important communication skills. On an individual level, students read a book, related to media, of their choice, and then they present the findings, as well as inquire to the other students through facilitation of a question and answer session.


STEM in the News

MoWeFr 10:45am – 11:35am; HCPX 92
() 1870:340–003

Tomko, Carrie

Students in this colloquium have an opportunity to reflect on innovations, such as: The latest in available smart phones... The ongoing discussion of global warming... The usage of self-driving cars... The challenges of feeding a growing population through technological advances in agriculture...!! As new research and technology emerge, resulting innovations enter our ever-changing world. How are these innovations communicated to the general public?? The mass media is the place where the general population learns of innovations. Students in this colloquium will engage in the analysis of the media's reporting and then the population's reaction to S.T.E.M.'s impact on society, discerning how emerging research and technology are embraced or refused by society via communication and the media's role in construction of a new reality. Class discussion is dynamic in my classes!! Interaction in class is highly encouraged through both individual and small group projects. Small group projects are a major part of assessment in order to develop communication skills. Through the group process, students are able to interact in small group communication. Also, during the small group presentation, students gain public speaking communication skills, as well as use communication skills to facilitate a question and answer session. Development of these communication skills is key to success in academia, as well as in career settings. Academia gives us the opportunity to both develop and practice these important communication skills. On an individual level, students read a book, related to media, of their choice, and then they present the findings, as well as inquire to the other students through facilitation of a question and answer session.


First Voter: Necessary Tools for the Informed Voter

Tu 4:10pm – 5:25pm; HCPX 82
() 1870:340–004

McKinney, Mitchell

In the 2022 mid-term elections, many students will have their first opportunity to vote in local, state and national elections. As these campaigns unfold, new voters will be exposed to a variety of political messages – persuasive attempts – in the form of “news” and information from the media, including digital and social media, speeches, debates and advertisements from the candidates, as well as discussions with friends, family and co-workers. In short, new voters will be bombarded with what might seem like an incessant stream of messages and political information (and you may also be generating some of these political messages yourself). In the end, the voter will have the responsibility – the power – to select who your elected representatives will be. This seminar is designed to assist new voters in analyzing various forms of political communication and to help them become informed and critical consumers of all this information. Through their own voting and other class projects, they will become fully engaged participants in the 2022 mid-term elections.


Writing and Publishing Books

TuTh 2:00pm – 3:15pm; HCPX 82
() 1870:340–005

Jon Miller

Do you like books? Do you dream of writing and publishing books for fun, for growth, for fame, for profit? This course will examine how your favorite books are written and published. We will study typical workflows for authoring books, and we will examine and compare the publishing process for a variety of books. We will learn about writing for publication, and how this differs from writing for pleasure or writing for a college class. And in this course we will write for publication: working with The University of Akron Press, we'll go behind-the-scenes to learn about the writing and production of a book of Akron history for the city's bicentennial in 2025. Students will write essays about Akron's history and have the opportunity to submit their essay for possible publication in the book.


Winning Combinations in Health Behavior: Combating Obesity

www
() 1870:340–502

Roncone II, John

This social science discipline colloquium examines health behavior in an exploration to combat obesity. Areas that will be carefully examined include: Current obesity trends, assessment of body weight and body composition, etiology of obesity, health and economic consequences of obesity, dietary interventions for obesity prevention and new insights and looking into future insights. We will engage in meaningful online discussions as well as assignments, learning from other's experiences and guidance from the professor, whom has an extensive knowledge in health education and promotion. Students will leave the course with a sound knowledge of health behavior and exploring areas in combating the obesity epidemic in the US.


Winning Combinations in Health Behavior: Exploring Health Priorities

Tu 5:15pm – 6:30pm; HCPX 82, www
() 1870:340–804

Roncone II, John

This social science discipline colloquium examines health behavior exploring health priority areas, such as, physical activity, stress management, and other dimensions of health-related physical fitness. The priority areas explored will be beneficial to students reflecting on their own health behavior(s), quality of life/healthy life years/lifestyle management. Students will leave the course with a sound knowledge of key health components related to mind/body health, research as well as health behavior models/theories.


The Willpower Superpower: The Epic of LeBron James

MoWe 3:05pm – 5:35pm; www
() 1870:340–504

tba

This course conceptually focuses on the intersection of psychology and storytelling, more specifically how the dimensions of willpower create self-understanding when life is viewed narratively. In this sense, we think of willpower as an agentic force for not only accomplishing external goals, but also how we, as individuals, can transform our inner selves and society as a collective. While The Willpower Superpower: The Epic of LeBron James is naturally about a basketball icon, it is more about how his journey, discovery and application of willpower—for better and worse—informs the development of our own. It is a unique, and surprisingly local, paradigm to analyze these concepts. In fact, the willpower and personal story we all have, when understood and applied, is a force as prodigious as LeBron James' basketball ability.


Mathematics in Art

MoWeFr 9:40am – 10:30am; HCPX 82
() 1870:370–001

Wilder, Joseph


Global Environmental Issues — with an Anthropogenic Discussion Focus

TuTh 3:30pm – 4:45pm; HCPX 92
() 1870:370–002

TuTh 5:15pm – 6:30pm; HCPX 92
() 1870:470–803

Dunbar, Michael D

During the semester we'll be exploring how our presence on the planet has impacted the natural resources, its environment, and offer a prognosis for the future. Our discussions, debates and proposals will examine how to confront some of these issues and how we can act on a local level.


American Eugenics

TuTh 10:45am – 12:00pm; HCPX 92
() 1870:370–003

Kern, Kevin

Should we be actively engaged in the business of breeding better humans? Members of the Eugenics Movement in the United States emphatically answered “yes” to this question, and actually met with some success in affecting public policy—from immigration restriction to the forced sterilization of “the unfit”—both in the U.S. and in Nazi Germany. In this course we will examine the idea and history of the eugenics in the United States, and will explore the intersection of scientific, political, social, ethical, and racial issues involved in this movement. We will also trace the long-term effects of eugenics on American life and science throughout the twentieth century and on into twenty-first century debates over genetic engineering research. By the end of the course, students not only know the major tenets of eugenics and the ways in which it manifested itself in the United States, but also be able to apply that knowledge to describing its effects and influences both in the past and in the present.


2022 Summer

Enchanted Tales: Analyzing the Stories That Make Us

Summer II (5W2)

Online Asynchronous
(31642) 1870:350–004

Amir, Juliana

Stories of the dark woods, the forbidden fruit, filial love, and creative intelligence grace the pages of many beloved storybooks. This colloquium explores the construction, shaping, and use of folklore, fairytales, and myths as the pillars of our own culture. How does the language of fairytales and myths intersect with the language of our dreams, both literal and figurative? Is there a certain age where folklore loses its meaning to us? How much do these enchanted stories shape our identity? We will investigate the archetypes these stories create, how they relate in terms of our own personalities, and how they are utilized to sold modern messages. The course allows students to analyze these stories for their cultural resonance, and gives them the option of creating stories of their own.


The Stories Behind Creativity

Intercession (INT)

MTuWThF 8:30 AM- 10:30 AM; HCPX 83
(31642) 1870:350–004

Flynn, David

STEM In the News

Intercession (INT)

MoTuTh 10:45am – 2:55pm; HCPX 82
(31694) 1870:340–003

Tomko, Carrie

Students in this colloquium have an opportunity to reflect on innovations, such as: The latest in available smart phones... The ongoing discussion of global warming... The usage of self-driving cars... The challenges of feeding a growing population through technological advances in agriculture...!! As new research and technology emerge, resulting innovations enter our ever-changing world. How are these innovations communicated to the general public?? The mass media is the place where the general population learns of innovations. Students in this colloquium will engage in the analysis of the media's reporting and then the population's reaction to S.T.E.M.'s impact on society, discerning how emerging research and technology are embraced or refused by society via communication and the media's role in construction of a new reality. Class discussion is dynamic in my classes!! Interaction in class is highly encouraged through both individual and small group projects. Small group projects are a major part of assessment in order to develop communication skills. Through the group process, students are able to interact in small group communication. Also, during the small group presentation, students gain public speaking communication skills, as well as use communication skills to facilitate a question and answer session. Development of these communication skills is key to success in academia, as well as in career settings. Academia gives us the opportunity to both develop and practice these important communication skills. On an individual level, students read a book, related to media, of their choice, and then they present the findings, as well as inquire to the other students through facilitation of a question and answer session.


Winning Combinations in Health Behavior: Combating Obesity

Intercession (INT)

www (asynchronous)
(31566) 1870:340–501

Roncone, John

This social science discipline colloquium examines health behavior in an exploration to combat obesity. Areas that will be carefully examined include: Current obesity trends, assessment of body weight and body composition, etiology of obesity, health and economic consequences of obesity, dietary interventions for obesity prevention and new insights and looking into future insights. We will engage in meaningful online discussions as well as assignments, learning from other's experiences and guidance from the professor, whom has an extensive knowledge in health education and promotion. Our main book will be, Nutrition and Obesity: Assessment, Management, and Prevention, by Alexandra G. Kazaks, and Judith S. Stern. Other secondary resources will be provided to the students from the professor. Assignment readings, HW/Labs, behavior change models/theories, online discussions, and other assignments will be assessments utilized in the course. Brightspace will be utilized to deliver this online asynchronous course for content, grades, communication/announcements, communication/class roster and emails, assessments/assignments, and communications/discussions and course materials/calendar. Students will leave the course with a sound knowledge of health behavior and exploring areas in combating the obesity epidemic in the US.


The Psychology of Physical Activity

Summer I (5W1)

MoTuWeThFr 9:45am – 11:15am; HCPX 82
(32089) 1870:370–001

Kornspan, Alan

The focus of this course is on the psychology of physical activity within the context of natural science. The course will cover scientific methodology and scientific writing utilized in the psychology of physical activity. The colloquium will be divided into two main sections. The first section introduces the historical and contemporary developments of the science of the psychology of physical activity. The second part of the course examines various phenomenon related to the science of flow states, stress, anxiety, and arousal in sports and exercise. Interactive applied activities will be provided throughout the course to help students understand how the science of the psychology of physical activity can be applied to sports and exercise.


Global Environmental Issues

Summer I (5W1)

MoTuTh 9:45am – 12:15pm; HCPX 92
(32129) 1870:370–003

Dunbar, Michael D

During the semester we'll be exploring how our presence on the planet has impacted the natural resources, its environment, and offer a prognosis for the future. Our discussions, debates and proposals will examine how to confront some of these issues and how we can act on a local level.


2022 Spring

The Culture of Fear

TuTh 9:15am – 10:30am, HCPX 92
(13974) 1870:340 – 001, 3 credit hours

Heather Pollock

Gloria Steinem says, Empathy is the most radical of human emotions. Where has it gone in this ironic age of global disconnect and isolation? How do we foster compassion if we cannot connect? We investigate its opposite, fear, and render it inert. From universal fears to personal ones, we will explore the nature of fear, seek its purpose, how to navigate it, understand it, and move forward into connection.


Minorities, Borders, and Partitions

TuTh 12:15pm – 1:30pm, HCPX 82
(14053) 1870:340 – 002, 3 credit hours

Janet Klein

This course will explore the modern construction of minorities in the context of the development of nation-states and citizenship and the consequences of the minoritization of non-dominant groups (and the majoritization of dominant groups as well). These consequences--which the class will examine--include the making of borders between states and what happens to those deemed minorities within and partitions of political entities, which have left populations on both sides of these partitions and borders vulnerable to mass violence and/or expulsion. Students will trace these processes through primary sources, secondary (theoretical) literature and case studies from around the globe, literature, and film. Some cases that the course will focus on include the Kurds, the Greek-Turkish population exchange, India/Pakistan, and Ireland, to name a few.


STEM in the News

MoWeFr 11:50am – 12:40pm, HCPX 92
(14441) 1870:340 – 003, 3 credit hours

Carrie Tomko

Students in this colloquium have an opportunity to reflect on innovations, such as: The latest in available smart phones... The ongoing discussion of global warming... The usage of self-driving cars... The challenges of feeding a growing population through technological advances in agriculture...!! As new research and technology emerge, resulting innovations enter our ever-changing world. How are these innovations communicated to the general public?? The mass media is the place where the general population learns of innovations. Students in this colloquium will engage in the analysis of the media's reporting and then the population's reaction to S.T.E.M.'s impact on society, discerning how emerging research and technology are embraced or refused by society via communication and the media's role in construction of a new reality. Class discussion is dynamic in my classes!! Interaction in class is highly encouraged through both individual and small group projects. Small group projects are a major part of assessment in order to develop communication skills. Through the group process, students are able to interact in small group communication. Also, during the small group presentation, students gain public speaking communication skills, as well as use communication skills to facilitate a question and answer session. Development of these communication skills is key to success in academia, as well as in career settings. Academia gives us the opportunity to both develop and practice these important communication skills. On an individual level, students read a book, related to media, of their choice, and then they present the findings, as well as inquire to the other students through facilitation of a question and answer session.


Winning Combinations In Health Behavior: Exploring Health Priorities

Tu 5:15p – 6:30pm, HCPX 83, WWW
(14523) 1870:340 – 005, 3 credit hours

John Roncone

This social science discipline colloquium examines health behavior exploring health priority areas, such as, physical activity, stress management, and other dimensions of health-related physical fitness. The priority areas explored will be beneficial to students reflecting on their own health behavior(s), quality of life/healthy life years/lifestyle management. Students will leave the course with a sound knowledge of key health components related to mind/body health, research as well as health behavior models/theories.


History of Sexuality in Latin America

MoWe 3:30pm – 4:45pm
(14954) 1870:340 – 007, 3 credit hours

Martha Santos

What have sex, gender, and sexuality meant across time and space in the Americas? How have people thought about sex, sexuality and gender in Latin America throughout five hundred years of history? What makes the way that gender and sexual norms work particular to specific places, times, and groups of people—and what makes them broader than that? Can we identify peculiarly “Latin American” approaches to sex and gender? How have gender and sexuality in this hemisphere changed over time, broadly speaking? We will explore these interesting questions through analysis of primary sources, scholarly work on these topics, and visual sources, including some feature film.


The Willpower Superpower: The Epic of LeBron James

MoWe 3:05pm – 4:20pm, WWW
(14443) 1870:340 – 504, 3 credit hours

tba

This course conceptually focuses on the intersection of psychology and storytelling, more specifically how the dimensions of willpower create self-understanding when life is viewed narratively. In this sense, we think of willpower as an agentic force for not only accomplishing external goals, but also how we, as individuals, can transform our inner selves and society as a collective. While The Willpower Superpower: The Epic of LeBron James is naturally about a basketball icon, it is more about how his journey, discovery and application of willpower—for better and worse—informs the development of our own. It is a unique, and surprisingly local, paradigm to analyze these concepts. In fact, the willpower and personal story we all have, when understood and applied, is a force as prodigious as LeBron James' basketball ability.


Winning Combinations of Health Behavior: Combating Obesity

WWW
(14914) 1870:340 – 506, 3 credit hours

John Roncone

This social science discipline colloquium examines health behavior in an exploration to combat obesity. Areas that will be carefully examined include: Current obesity trends, assessment of body weight and body composition, etiology of obesity, health and economic consequences of obesity, dietary interventions for obesity prevention and new insights and looking into future insights. We will engage in meaningful online discussions as well as assignments, learning from other's experiences and guidance from the professor, whom has an extensive knowledge in health education and promotion. Our main book will be, Nutrition and Obesity: Assessment, Management, and Prevention, by Alexandra G. Kazaks, and Judith S. Stern. Other secondary resources will be provided to the students from the professor. Assignment readings, HW/Labs, behavior change models/theories, online discussions, and other assignments will be assessments utilized in the course. Brightspace will be utilized to deliver this online asynchronous course for content, grades, communication/announcements, communication/class roster and emails, assessments/assignments, and communications/discussions and course materials/calendar. Students will leave the course with a sound knowledge of health behavior and exploring areas in combating the obesity epidemic in the US.


Hunting Witches in Early Modern Europe

MoWe 2:00pm – 3:15pm, HCPX 92
(14417) 1870:350 – 001, 3 credit hours

Michael Graham

This workshop-style colloquium will focus on one of the stranger aspects of early modern European history: the fact that the same era that included the scientific revolution and the early enlightenment also witnessed the execution of tens of thousands of people (mostly women) for the imaginary crime of witchcraft. We will start with a general survey of the witch hunt. Following that, teams of students will delve into sets of trial dossiers in an effort to figure out what was really going on in those particular cases. Finally, students will be able to get creative, either by writing and performing one-act plays on their particular cases, or else “forging” a pamphlet about their case, in the style of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century tabloid-style accounts of witchcraft. This course should be of particular interest to students interested in history, literature, religion, anthropology, communications, psychology or sociology.


Classical Athens: The Individual and the Community

TuTh 9:15am – 10:30am, HCPX 83
(14479) 1870:350 – 002, 3 credit hours

Elisha Dumser

How does one balance personal choice and freedom against the needs of the greater community? This question, which remains pertinent today, was first explored in ancient Greece. This class seeks to learn more about ourselves by examining the roots of this thorny issue as it emerged in 5th century BCE Classical Athens. Theater, philosophy, history, politics, religious practices, and the visual arts are avenues we'll explore as we discover how the competing needs of the individual and the community were debated in the birthplace of democracy.


Religion East and West: The Big Questions (and Answers in Words and Art)

TuTh 12:15pm – 1:30pm, HCPX 92
(14419) 1870:350 – 004, 3 credit hours

Paula Levin

What is the meaning of life? How should I live? What happens after we die? What is God? We humans, conscious of our mortality and our limitations, have wrestled with these questions since the dawn of time. In this course we will examine the teachings of major world religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam - in their attempts to guide us to answers. In addition to consulting various texts and primary sources, we will consider religious expression in art, literature, music, drama, and film. And we will discuss how religious beliefs (or the absence of them!) affect how we may experience the world.


Are We Our Brains?

MoWeFr 9:40am – 10:30am, HCPX 92
(14781) 1870:350 – 005, 3 credit hours

Nathanial Blower

In this class we will discuss a number of topics related to the question: Are we our brains? The central focus of the course will be a dispute between Peter Hacker and Daniel Dennett. Hacker argues against the habit in neuroscience of treating brains as though they were people: assuming that brains think, feel, perceive, intend and do all manner of things that ordinarily we say people do, not their brains. Daniel Dennett defends the neuroscientists, claiming that Hacker pays too much attention to what we ordinarily say. As we discuss this dispute, we will touch on a number of traditionally philosophical questions about free-will, the afterlife, morality, subjectivity and more. On the more scientific side, we will discuss topics in neuroscience, computer science, mathematics, linguistics and more.


Humanitarian Social Media — Yes or No?

MoWeFr 10:45am – 11:30am, HCPX 92
(14825) 1870:350 – 006, 3 credit hours

Carrie Tomko

Social media brings instantaneous news, information, and entertainment. Is it accurate in detail? Is it even true? Is it responsible "journalism"? Does it benefit humanity? Does it require accountability? This colloquium looks at the good, bad, and even the "ugly" of social media, studying the impact on culture.


Enchanted Tales: Analyzing the Stories That Make Us

MoWeFr 9:40am – 10:30am, WWW
(14418) 1870:350 – 503, 3 credit hours

Juliana Amir

Stories of the dark woods, the forbidden fruit, filial love, and creative intelligence grace the pages of many beloved storybooks. This colloquium explores the construction, shaping, and use of folklore, fairytales, and myths as the pillars of our own culture. How does the language of fairytales and myths intersect with the language of our dreams, both literal and figurative? Is there a certain age where folklore loses its meaning to us? How much do these enchanted stories shape our identity? We will investigate the archetypes these stories create, how they relate in terms of our own personalities, and how they are utilized to sold modern messages. The course allows students to analyze these stories for their cultural resonance, and gives them the option of creating stories of their own.


US-China relations: Past, Present, and Future

TuTh 5:15pm – 6:30pm, WWW
(14973) 1870:350 – 507, 3 credit hours

Michael Sheng

This course will examine the history of Sino-American relations in the 20th Century, particularly during the Cold War period after WWII. There were two “hot wars” the US fought in the Cold War era, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, both were involving China. The only times that Washington was actively preparing for the use of tactical nuclear war heads were during the Taiwan Strait Crises in 1955 and 1958. Yet, the 1958 crisis led directly to the Sino-Soviet conflict, leading to the Sino-Soviet Border War in 1969 and Nixon’s China visit in 1971. These complicated historical events should serve us well to understand current US-China relations and consequences. Was Beijing to attack Taiwan, a traditional UA ally? How to handle US-China trade dispute? After all, these are two largest economies in the world today. Washington’s China policy has been known as “bi-partisan,” but policy proposals and options remain wide-ranged with large amount of uncertainty. This class will help students to be better informed to participate in such important policy debate.


Polymers and the Environment

TuTh 10:45am – 12:00pm, HCPX 92
(15042) 1870:370 – 001, 3 credit hours

Ruel McKenzie

Polymers (natural and synthetic) play an important role in society and has been integrated into nearly all aspects of human life. Recent focus on the issue of plastic waste mitigation has brought the notion and necessity of sustainability of the polymers industry to the forefront of national discussions. The objective of this course is to discuss in a holistic manner: the extent to which polymers have enabled societal transformations, attempt to raise a collective awareness detailing the resultant ecological ramifications of polymer production, highlight some of the advances in mitigating the ecological impacts and to explore paths for a more sustainable coexistence with these materials.


Sustainable Plastics

TuTh 9:15am – 10:30am, HCPX 82
(15043) 1870:370 – 002, 3 credit hours

James Eagan

This course introduces students to sustainable plastic technologies, challenges, and the principals of the circular economy. Students will be able to understand the how different kinds of plastics are recovered, sorted, and recycled (or not). Topics covered include polymer recycling, composting, bio-based plastics, and life cycle analysis.


Going Nuclear: Is Nuclear Energy The Solution?

TuTh 2:00pm – 3:15pm, HCPX 92
(15044) 1870:370 – 003, 3 credit hours

Andrew Knoll

This course will cover the history of nuclear energy and the problems it has had in the past. We will then discuss the future of nuclear energy and emerging technologies. Can nuclear energy rise above it’s troubled past?


Water Law, Science & Policy: Environmental Decision-making to Attain A Fishable and Swimmable Summit Lake

MoWe 6:45pm – 8:00pm, HCPX 92
(15045) 1870:370 – 004, 3 credit hours

Emily Collins

This colloquium explores the legal, science and policy factors involved in environment decision-making and how those decision-making frameworks are utilized to restore a body of water. Students will conduct in-depth analyses (including scientific, legal, and policy-related factors) that will allow them to identify the barriers to meeting a fishable/swimmable standard in a complex water system, apply an appropriate decisionmaking framework to address those barriers, assess the strength and weaknesses of different approaches, and use written communication to evaluate and address contentious environmental issues, both locally and nationally. The colloquium will use nearby Summit Lake as its case study.


Global Environmental Issues

TuTh 3:30pm – 4:45pm, HCPX 92
(15046) 1870:370 – 005, 3 credit hours

TuTh 5:15pm – 6:30pm, HCPX 92
(15046) 1870:370 – 006, 3 credit hours

Michael Dunbar

During the semester we'll be exploring how our presence on the planet has impacted the natural resources, its environment, and offer a prognosis for the future. Our discussions, debates and proposals will examine how to confront some of these issues and how we can act on a local level.


The EX[L] Center helps students emerge as civically-engaged, adaptable leaders, ready to join in the enterprise of building strong and sustainable communities by promoting hands-on, community-based, problem-centered learning. The Williams Honors College will allow students to substitute one EX[L] [Un]Class for the corresponding Honors Colloquium course (noted below). Note that only one Honors Colloquium group may be satisfied in this way. For more information on current [Un]Classes, please visit www.uakron.edu/exl/unclasses/.


Anchoring Ourselves in Akron

will satisfy Social Science Colloquium requirement

TuTh 3:30pm – 4:45pm
7600:450 – 001, 3 credit hours

Amber Ferris

Are you interested in improving your research skills while gaining practical, hands-on experience to list on your resume? We are looking for students from all majors to work on a cross-campus research project examining how organizations build trust in communities. Students will work as a team to design a survey and interview protocol, talk with stakeholders in Akron, and explore data analysis and visualization techniques. This [Un]class will hone skills in collaboration, communication, and community-based research and is particularly relevant for students looking at careers in communication, business, nonprofit/government, education, marketing, and community outreach/engagement.


Design Your Life

will satisfy Social Science Colloquium requirement

TuTh 10:45am – 12:00pm, Olin 127
3300:489/589 – 001, 3 credit hours

Heather Braun

This hands-on course helps students solve actionable problems using the framework of design thinking. Students will collaborate with local APS students, community stakeholders, and local professionals, developing empathy, creative confidence, and teambuilding skills, and designing multiple pathways for college success.


Menus and Manuscripts at Hower House

will satisfy Social Science Colloquium requirement

TuTh 2:00pm – 3:15pm
3300: 489/589 – 001, 3 credit hours

Hillary Nunn

In this hands-on course, we’ll explore the central role that food, cooking, and entertaining played at the Hower House in the early twentieth century. We’ll use tools like blogs, websites, digital archives, and Instagram feeds to bring archival research to new audiences, and we’ll prepare a cookbook for print publication to showcase the Hower family’s recipes. In the process, we’ll learn not just about the era’s food and parties but about the wide array of people involved in their production. No special experience with digital tools required.


Discover the UA Museum of Zoology

will satisfy Natural Science Colloquium requirement

We 12:55pm – 3:25pm, ASEC D415
5500:480 – 001 or 3100:495 – 610, 3 credit hours

Lara Roketenetz/Gary Holliday

Students will engage in a combination of detective work, biology, archives, art, and education/outreach to prepare a collection of taxidermied birds donated to UA by the Rhodes family in the early 1900s for public access and exhibition. Students will have the opportunity to learn from leading experts regarding the historical significance of biological collections, proper preservation protocols, digitizing and archival practices, and the urgency of science education and communication for a public audience. Campus and community partners include experts from local museums, nature centers, and UA's Cummings Center for the History of Psychology.


Propose a Colloquium

For faculty

If you are a faculty member here at UA and would like to teach an Honors Colloquium, we would love to hear your idea. A colloquium should typically be on a specific unique topic of particular interest to the faculty member teaching the course, and should not duplicate courses otherwise offered in the general curriculum. Keep in mind that there will most likely be students from a broad range of disciplines in any given colloquium group.

Use this form to submit a colloquium proposal for the Williams Honors College to consider whether and when it might fit into an upcoming schedule.

For students

Are you a Williams Honors College student with an idea for an exciting and unique Honors Colloquium? Email us your idea for consideration. Additionally, we are always happy to add more Honors Colloquia in a given semester for a given subject area once the others have filled, so please keep us in the loop about what type of colloquia you need and your preferred date and time if everything is full, and we will look to provide additional offerings before the semester begins.