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Honors Courses & Seminars

Each semester, the Honors General Education course offerings and Honors Seminar topics change. Check here for the latest on current and upcoming course offerings.

Spring 2020 Honors Courses & Seminars
Course NumberTitleCRN
IDH 1041 Honors Core 2 10148
IDH 3055 Honors Thesis Methods 10742
IDH 3990 Honors Service Learning and E-portfolio 12463
IDH 4035 Honors Seminar: The Art of Beer Brewing 12459
IDH 4037 Honors Seminar: Religion and Healthcare 12461
IDH 4038 Honors Seminar: Beyond the Human 12458
IDH 4970 Honors Thesis Contact Staff

Please note that Honors Seminars require a separate sign-up ahead of registration, and to register for Honors Thesis hours, a student must have submitted a thesis prospectus/proposal that both their Thesis Advisor and Honors Director have approved. If a student has any questions about these courses, (s)he can contact the Honors staff for more guidance.

IDH 4035: The Art and Science of Brewing (CRN 12459)

Dr. Joseph Moss

W 6:00 – 8:45 PM

Brewing is one of mankind’s most important discoveries spanning generations, socio-economic classes, and international borders. This course will directly expose the student to both the scientific and the creative aspects of brewing. Through discussion and active participation, students will discover brewing in its simplest form as well as the complex dynamics of this age-old craft and continually prospering industry. The course is a mixture of lecture and applied science with topics including: brewing fundamentals, chemical processes, yeast fermentation and enzymatic activities, advances in methodology, and socio-economic influences.  This class is limited to 15 students. Participants must be 21 years of age.

IDH 4037: Religion & Healthcare (CRN 12461)

Dr. Jack D. Giddens

MW 1:00 - 2:15 PM

What is the relationship between Religion and Health?  As the healthcare industry hurdles forward toward an increasingly holistic, palliative care model, the role of Religion has become increasingly relevant and even perhaps central to health and healing.  Most health practitioners, at both the clinical and administrative levels acknowledge this increasingly central role of religion in facilitating patient healing.  Healthcare scholars also acknowledge an extremely prolific contemporary research basis supporting the relationship between Religion and Health.  But the question remains: how does this work?  What is the nature of the relationship between Religion and Health?  How do healthcare practitioners implement a religious element into the healing process?  How might healthcare embrace the role of religious practitioners in helping to facilitate health and healing?   This course will examine the history of these relationships, and the current ‘state of the state’ of the Healthcare industry relevant to Religion and Health.   The course will consist of readings from the key research book in the industry and will provide a hybrid lecture and Socratic discussion format.  The course will also provide opportunity for a major paper where students can explore their key interest relevant to Religion and Health(care).

IDH 4038: Beyond the Human: Entering “Area X” (CRN 12458)

Dr. Robin Blyn

MW 2:30 - 3:45 PM

Strange things are happening in Area X: unnatural animal behavior, messages written in mysterious fungi shaped like tiny hands, a low moaning in the night,  a tower with a spiral staircase that descends into the ground, an alien and shimmering light.

In this class, we will metaphorically and literally enter Area X, the fictional territory cut off from the rest of the world in the fantastic novels of Jeff Vandermeer.  Area X will be our metaphor for a state of mind in which we no longer take for granted that the human being is the privileged and primary life form on planet Earth.  From the perspective of Area X, we begin to see the relationship between human and nonhuman ecologies.  We begin to explore the implications of the fact that only 10% of the cells in a human body belong to the human genome, that slime molds are intelligent, that plants communicate with one another underground, that nonliving things are capable of acting with and upon us. This class, then, is a thought experiment in rethinking what we are and our connections to other animals, plants, and nonliving things.

As part of this class, will also actually enter the territory of Area X. When Vandermeer wrote The Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance), he based his “Area X” on a 14-mile hike in St. Marks Wildlife Refuge, just a few hours from Pensacola. In addition to our readings in biology, environment studies, and philosophy, we will read Vandermeer’s novels, meet the author, and camp out together for our own interdisciplinary “Southern Reach Field School.” Here, you will have the chance to get to know the flora and fauna of the territory and to participate in workshops led by faculty from arts and sciences alike.

Join me in Area X… if you dare.


IDH: 4031: The Nature of Writing (CRN 82696)

Jasara Norton

MW 1:00-2:15 PM

In this hybrid course that mixes writing, research, and creativity, we will investigate the voices we give to nature.  Is nature a real thing, or just a human idea? It may seem strange to ask this question, but the very concept of “nature” only makes sense through cultural, political, and economic lenses that change as we change. Because people have been sharing stories about nature since before writing emerged, it can be difficult to disentangle the narrative from the thing itself.

This course will investigate nature through a mixture of reading, writing, and active field research. Specifically, we will collect and inquire into place-based narratives of a number of local sites, including UWF’s Community Garden and Gulf Islands National Seashore. We will compile and frame our field notes in a portfolio that integrates readings of traditional and multimedia texts – from Mark Twain’s travel narratives to the most recent environmental documentaries. Students will also conduct research to trace the story of one natural location or living thing of their choosing, perhaps Bayou Texar, UWF’s nature trail, or Gulf Coast sea turtles. For this final project, students will individually chart the narrative of their chosen example of “nature” using a multimodal map. Students who take this course can expect to meld their academic writing and research skills with the creativity of more public modes of writing to develop an informed and self-aware voice of their own.

IDH 4032: A Study of Strategy (CRN 82807)

Dr. Jacob Shively

TR 4:00-5:15 PM

Strategy is one of humanity’s most essential and most complex behaviors. It is the process of identifying a goal, evaluating a context, and applying the right means for the ends. Done well, it is transformative. Done poorly, it is catastrophic. In this course, students will study and discuss strategy as a basic concept as well as how it is applied across disciplines and fields as well as in their own lives. Class time will be divided into traditional lectures as well as seminar-style discussions. In addition, we will interact with strategists in our own community. These experiences will take the form of either a guest speaker or a site visit. Students will interact with experts, who may include city planning officials, military officers, public health professionals, and business owners.

Along the way, students will write two analysis and reflection essays as well as a final essay. In addition, students will complete a strategy case study. Students will be welcome to focus the study on their own major field or in another area. Either way, the student’s job is to precisely identify the origins and implementation of a given strategy and then assess its impacts. Along with the usual academic sources, students will also be required to conduct at least one expert interview.

IDH 4030: The Ecology of Florida (CRN 81893)

Dr. Frank Gilliam

MW 9:00-10:15 AM

This course surveys environmental issues that are globally significant and regionally relevant to the citizens of Florida.  The past century has witnessed unprecedented degradation of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems on a global scale, from acid deposition to depletion of the protective ozone to climate change.   We will explore how these environmental problems affect the Sunshine State. 

While firmly rooted in environmental science, this course is specially designed for Honors students of diverse academic backgrounds.  Special attention will be given to methods and concepts of science, background on Florida’s complex environment, and unifying themes and principles of ecology, the biological discipline that studies the interactions between organisms and their abiotic and biotic environment. We’ll examine Florida’s rising sea levels, destruction of coral species and the reefs they assemble, the development of algal blooms (including, but not confined to, red tides), the dynamics of tropical storms/hurricanes (including frequency, strength, and effects on natural ecosystems and human populations), and the epidemiology and pathogenicity of Vibrio bacteria.

A given class meeting will involve a lecture and other discussion led by the instructor. The course may also include field trips in the immediate area, e.g., impacted beaches and forests, that relate to topics covered in lecture.  In addition, there will be occasional ‘guest’ lectures by UWF faculty who are experts in their respective fields.  Finally, off-campus scientists will be sought to complement the instructor’s expertise.

 Each student will complete an independent investigation on a chosen topic, resulting in a paper and PowerPoint presentation.  Final grades will be based on a combination of two mid-term exams and a comprehensive final exam, the independent assignment, and class participation.  Examinations will be essay format, with each question graded according to how closely the student expresses complete understanding of what is being asked.  Prior exposure to the scientific method will be beneficial, but not required.  All students are welcome.


IDH 4033: Human Powered Vehicle (CRN 12929)

Dr. John Todorovich

F 2:00 - 4:45 pm

The human-powered vehicle project began spring 2018. "The ultimate goal of the human powered vehicle team is to build a human-powered vehicle which can reach 100 miles per hour at the world competition in Nevada,"  wrote Philip Billings, a business major participating in the project. "This summer, we will begin building our first bike, to be called the 'frankenrecycle' as it will be a recumbent bicycle built out of parts found on older bicycles the university has collected over the years. This fall, we hope to have built our first bike, and take what we learned from that process and apply it as we begin to build our actual human-powered vehicle."

While many of the participating students are mechanical engineering majors, there are several in other stem and non-stem majors. This project is truly interdisciplinary, and we work to include each individual's unique talents," Philip wrote. For example, as a business major, Philip will be focusing on the project's fundraising.


IDH 4034: The Art of Buon Fresco (CRN 12754)

Dr. Marzia Ransom

TR 4:00 - 5:15 pm

This course will focus on the research, design, and construction of a roman fresco.

The fresco has been deemed one of the most difficult forms of painting to master, and it is one of the most admired forms of art. Many ancient frescoes are still standing in situ, giving us the opportunity to observe and discuss both the design and development of different technical applications, from the creation of the surfaces, to the final pigmentation.

As a team, we will primarily investigate the history behind the Roman frescoes and its later Renaissance development, right into Contemporary times. We will study the terminology referencing the art of fresco and the students will approach the investigation through research, critical thinking, and practice.

The class will mostly meet in studio. however, some class time will be devoted to research at the library.


IDH 4035: The Rise of the Goddess (CRN 12755)

Dr. June Watkins

F 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Many have said that the repression of the feminine has led to a planet on the verge of collapse. The course explores the symbolic significance of the goddess myth and the impact of its loss on all aspects of western culture. The loss of the goddess myth has resulted in an imbalance, one that favors violence over peace, environmental destruction over sustainability, and competition over cooperation.

We will trace feminine images in history: from the Great Mother Goddess of the Neolithic age, the earth goddess, and the sexual goddess that births all things, to the goddess raped and murdered, which ends with the subjugation of the goddess into the obedient virgin of the Abrahamic monotheistic religions. Finally we will explore the re-emergence of the feminine today in neopaganism, feminist theology, and the women's march.

The course will be delivered in a blended format, which means we will meet in the classroom once a week, as we leverage the technological tools of the online format for lectures, films, and discussions. Students will be responsible for research and presenting multiple perspectives. Students will be assessed through literature reviews, research papers and group presentations.