Honors Program Courses | Springfield College

Honors Program Courses

Fall 2023 

ENGL 212-4H: Science Fiction with Professor Will Arighi

This course is a study of science and speculative fiction, examining histories of the genre, as well as theories of genre focusing on science fiction texts. This semester ENGL 212 will focus on the theme of feminist futures. We will examine novels, films, and short stories by Marge Piercy, Octavia E. Butler, Larissa Lai, Janelle Monae, and others that depict possible futures from the standpoint of feminist critiques of the present.

HNRS 192: Close Listening—Podcasting as a Storytelling Medium with Professor Rebecca Lartigue

This colloquium will analyze oral storytelling, in particular the contemporary medium of the podcast. Both fiction and non-fiction storytelling will be considered. We’ll think about historical contexts for oral storytelling (for example, oral literary traditions around the world and radio dramas of the early twentieth century), the appeal of stories, and some of the ethical questions that have been recently raised by this popular medium. After familiarizing ourselves with techniques and rhetoric of storytelling, we’ll see what stories we ourselves have to tell.

HNRS 192:  “Conscientious Capitalism” -- Real Phenomenon or Oxymoron? with Professor Saul Valdiviezo

In this colloquium we’ll explore companies and leaders that transcend the quintessential business notion that profits are the only thing that matters. We’ll explore the impact that B-corps (Benefit companies) and leaders who enact conscientious initiatives have on companies and stakeholders, examining companies such as Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s. Positive initiatives such as servant leadership, empathic leadership, emotional intelligence, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) will also be considered.

HNRS 192:  Environmental Skepticism with Professor Chelsea Corr-Limoges

The derailment of a train carrying vinyl chloride near East Palestine, Ohio in February 2023 illuminated the need for routine and reliable measurements of air, water, and soil pollution. Yet public skepticism around the collection, interpretation, and communication of environmental data continues to be a significant barrier for environmental research and subsequent action. While politics certainly play a role in this mistrust, issues surrounding science ethics, communication, and education contribute as well. We will examine how these factors have shaped the discussions around several modern environmental issues such as climate change, second-hand smoke exposure and indoor air quality, GMOs, PFAS exposure, and the Flint water crisis. This course will meet periodically with Prof. Abdullah’s colloquium to specifically dissect the role of data ethics as an obstacle to progress on these issues and other emerging interdisciplinary STEM topics.

HNRS 192: Future Ethics in Biomedicine with Professor Chris Abdullah

The Era of Big Data has ushered in a host of new questions across biomedical disciplines. The rate at which we are gathering data far exceeds our capacity to fully understand it, yet we are already using it to shape our futures in genetic engineering, drug development, and healthcare. In this course, we’ll discuss the current applications of big data in biomedicine and explore the current and future ethical implications that come with this newfound knowledge. This course will meet periodically with Prof. Corr-Limoges’ colloquium to discuss interdisciplinary STEM ethical questions that are evolving in this arena.

HNRS 192: A Good Laugh Goes A Long Way--The Healing Benefits of Humor with Professor Pamela Higgins

This colloquium provides students the opportunity to discuss the effects of humor and laughter on health. Students will examine how humor helps humans confront stressful life events, and they will also consider the impact of humor and laughter on disease processes. The social, emotional, and physical benefits of humor will be highlighted.

HNRS 192: The Psychology and Cycle of Poverty with Professor Chris Hakala

Poverty exists in the U.S. in ways that often go under the radar of many of us. In this Honors Colloquium, we will not only consider some of the societal causes of poverty but also discuss the psychological and physical issues associated with it. Part of this course will involve leaving our campus to explore our community, as well as spending a great deal of time learning about different communities across the U.S. A goal is to understand ways that we can reduce the chasm between those who suffer from poverty and those who do not.

HNRS 192: Rhetoric of AIDS with Professor Anne Wheeler

In Rhetoric of AIDS, we will rely upon primary sources (e.g. medical publications, personal journals, government documentation, archival footage) to structure our inquiry into the nature of the discourse that has surrounded the AIDS virus from the beginning of the pandemic through the present.

MUSC 332-4H: Music as a Form of Social Protest with Professor Chris Gagne

This course provides a survey of music that is rooted in an expression of sociopolitical protest. Throughout the course, students will explore various styles and subgenres of protest music demonstrated throughout history. Additionally, students will analyze the compositional elements, as well as the relevant cultural context, of all representative works. As a final project, enrolled students will compose their own protest song on a subject of their choosing as a means of assimilating the concepts discussed in class, and also as an exercise in creative self-expression.

RELI 109-4H: Religions of the World with Professor Kate Dugan

This course is an introduction to the academic study of religion; to several of the world’s religions; and to the way people think, talk, and analyze religion, religions, and being religious. We will study various religions’ founders and key individuals, examine major ideas within these religions, and explore how these religions look in the contemporary world. This course asks questions about what religion is and how people have defined religion. To study religion is to study a complex and messy dimension of human life, and so this course asks questions about what is “sacred” and what “rituals” are. What is the role of sacred texts and belief in various religions? How does religious identity affect day-to-day life around the world?  

SCSM 101-4H: Springfield College Seminar with Professor Kari Taylor

The Springfield College Seminar is an interdisciplinary, thematic course developed for students entering the College. The course provides an introduction to the Springfield College Core Curriculum, as well as to the intellectual culture and Humanics mission of the College. The course is designed to engage students through practicing the fundamental skills necessary for academic success: critical thinking, effective writing, analytic reading, and oral communication. 

View Past Honors Program Courses: 

Honors Colloquia (HNRS 192)       Interdisciplinary Seminars (HNRS 282)

Seminars in a Discipline (HNRS 283)   Guided Study Courses (HNRS 141 and HNRS 499)