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Core I & II

The Honors Core sequence establishes the foundation of the academic experience unique to the Kugelman Honors Program. Honors students take Honors Core I during the fall semester of their first year and Honors Core II in the spring.

Honors Core I

Honors Core I is an intensive introduction to critical thinking and writing designed specifically for Honors students. Called “Becoming Human,” this course is taught by Dr. Greg Tomso, Director of the Kugelman Honors Program.  All students entering the Honors Program must complete Core 1. This course focuses on developing critical thinking and academic writing skills for UWF’s Honors students, and satisfies the following university requirements: General Education Breadth Requirement-Humanities and Gordon Rule Writing.

Core I Course Description: “Becoming Human”

The world’s greatest philosophers and scientists have attempted to answer the question of what defines “the human.”  No matter what academic discipline we choose to study, the question of being human lies at the center of all we know, and all we shall ever know.   What do mean when we utter the word “human”?  To whom do we refer?   Who counts as human?  The questions are endless, as are the agony and the joy we find in exploring them.  Instead of offering a single definition of what it means to be human, this course surveys a large number of possible answers, and questions, regarding human existence and experience.  It approaches “humanness” as a contested and ever-changing notion, pausing to consider theories of human being that range from the empirical to the metaphysical.

Students who complete this course will be more skilled in engaging scientific and philosophical conversations about human existence.  They will also be more practiced in approaching academic questions from the vantage points of multiple academic disciplines, including anthropology, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, genetics, art, literature, and philosophy.

Core I also emphasizes important skills for succeeding in college, including note-taking, reading academic literature, test-taking, critical thinking, and argumentative writing.  Phones, tablets, and laptops are strictly prohibited in this course, except in cases of documented disability.

For a better idea of the course schedule and assignments, view the  Fall 2017 Core I Syllabus Fall 2017 Core I Syllabus Keep in mind that Dr. Tomso will make adjustments to the course each fall; a past syllabus is provided only to give prospective students a clearer understanding of the level of work required in Core I.


  • Ovid, Metamorphoses
  • S. Ramachandran, The Tell-Tale Brain
  • Augustine, Confessions
  • Darwin, The Descent of Man
  • Virginia Morell, Animal Wise: How We Know Animals Think and Feel
  • Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Nietzsche, Basic Writings
  • Navajo and Iroquois Creation Stories
  • Chet C. Sherwood, “A Natural History of the Human Mind”
  • Ralph L. Holloway, “The Human Brain Evolving”
  • David R. Begun, The Real Planet of the Apes
  • Samuel George Morton, Crania Americana
  • Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man
  • J. Segalowitz, “Whose Free Will is it Anyway?”
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, excerpt from “A Dissertation on the Origin and Foundation of the Inequality of Mankind”
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, excerpt from “Discourse on the Arts and Sciences”
  • Plato,The Symposium
  • John Cameron Mitchell, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

Honors Core I addresses a number of controversial and complex topics, including torture, racism, atheism, and transsexuality.  Students enrolling in Core I are expected to possess the social and intellectual maturity required to study such issues in a scholarly manner.  The Honors Program at UWF is passionately committed to the pursuit of academic knowledge and verifiable truths based on scientific inquiry, proven facts, and sound reasoning.  We expect our students to be intellectually curious, open to new ideas, and ready for debate and discussion.  We strongly embrace diversity and multiculturalism and seek out different views of the world as part our method of inquiry.

Honors Core II

In Core II, students will explore the philosophical underpinnings of community and investigate the distinctive features of communal life.  This foundation prepares students to address those features of modern society that either support or threaten community.  We give specific attention to conceptions of justice and equality, political engagement, social interaction, urban design and city planning, public presence, personal meaning and usefulness, notions of public/private property and collective responsibility, and shared physical and virtual space. Likewise, we  consider threats to community including: (potentially) social networking and technology, lawlessness and violence, collective efficacy and problems of collective action.  Students come to appreciate their role as citizens in public life, their agency in fostering more meaningful civic life, and their strength as leaders to build a better future. 

Core II equips students to apply theoretical knowledge obtained through readings to their local community in on-the-ground research experiences. We work on data literacy skills throughout the semester and engage in applied undergraduate research culminating in public presentations to key stakeholders and community partners.

Dr. Jocelyn Evans, Associate Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities, teaches Core II. In addition to being a requirement of the Honors program, Core II also satisfies the General Education Breadth Requirement-Social Sciences and UWF's Multicultural Requirement.

The results of the Honors Core II students' parks surveys in 2015, 2016, and 2017 are presented via the Pensacola Parks Application, which the UWF GeoData center developed.

The students' research also contributed to the article "Evaluating the quality of mid-sized city parks: a replication and extension of the Public Space Index," published in the Journal of Urban Design in January 2018. (Jocelyn Evans, Sara Z. Evans, John D. Morgan, Jamie A. Snyder & Frances P. Abderhalden (2018) Evaluating the quality of mid-sized city parks: a replication and extension of the Public Space Index, Journal of Urban Design, DOI: 10.1080/13574809.2017.1411185)