Fall 2019

Fall 2019 Honors Seminars

Seminar Registration for Spring Semester is currently OPEN.

The descriptions below indicate whether a seminar counts toward the International Perspective (IP) or US Diversity requirements.

Reference numbers can be found below. Should you try to enroll in a course that is full, you will be placed on a waitlist. If openings become available after a seminar is full, Honors staff will contact those on the waitlist.

Make sure you plan ahead and take at least two Honors courses and two Honors seminars or the number required by your college Honors committee. Don't wait until your last year to meet the requirements because you may find that you will have some scheduling conflicts.

Important: Attendance at Honors seminars is expected. Be sure to read the entire seminar description and requirements. Be courteous and notify your instructor in advance if you are unable to attend class.


Check back regularly for updates.

  • HON 321A: Understanding Misbehavior: Insights from Behavioral Economics for Policy Making 
  • HON 321B: HERoic Theatre
  • HON 321C: Are You What You Eat? - Full
  • HON 321D: Modern-Day Pilgrimage on the Road to Santiago de Compostela - Full
  • HON 321F: Gardens, Class and Power 
  • HON 321G: Where Images Live and What They Can Do - Cancelled
  • HON 321H: Everyday Leadership - Full 
  • HON 321J: Newspaper Physics - Full 
  • HON 321K: Current Issues in Social Science Research - Cancelled
  • HON 321L: Building Creative Minds - Full
  • HON 321M: Archives Investigations - Full
  • HON 321N: All Aboard the Blockchain Hypetrain - Full
  • HON 321P: Comedy College - Full
  • HON 321Q: Life After Birth: Comparative Neonatal Survival and Development - Full 
  • HON 321R: Entrepreneurship - Full
  • HON 321T: Jack the Ripper - 130 Year History - Full
  • HON 321U: The Way We Use Music in The Arts - Full 
  • HON 321V: Human Trafficking: From Here and Beyond - Full
  • HON 321W: The History of Reproductive Rights in America - Full
  • HON 321Y: Structured Matrices - Full
  • HON 321Z: Conflicts in the Middle East - Full
  • HON 323A: That's Me in the Corner - Full 
  • HON 323B: Understanding War - Full
  • HON 323C: On the Surface of Things - Full
  • HON 323D: Demystifying 23 and Me: The Role of Genetics in the Individual and Society - Full
  • HON 323E: Monstropsy: A Rhetorical Dissection of What Makes Monsters Monstrous - Full 
  • HON 323F: Green and Sustainable Architecture: A Critical Introduction - Full
  • HON 323G: The Iowa Caucus: Why Iowa is First-in-the-nation and What It Means in 2020 - Full
  • HON 323H: Music and Health


Full Semester HON 321A, Understanding Misbehavior: Insights from Behavioral Economics for Policy Making, T 5:10-6:00pm, Jischke 1151, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 4626005

About the Course: Why do you wait till the last minute to turn in homework? Why is it so hard to lose weight? Why does it hurt more when you lose $100 than gaining $100 makes you happy? How to not succumb to temptation? These are all important questions with far-reaching implications not just in our personal lives but also in the policy domain. Behavioral economics integrates the psychology of human behavior into economic analysis. Over the last few decades, behavioral economics has transformed the way policymakers think about the policy problems of our age. This course will introduce you to the major themes of behavioral economics and address their implications for public policy in a wide variety of policy-relevant domains. The course will illustrate how the understanding of behavioral economics can improve public policy and will enable you to think critically about the types of solutions that will best address the policy problems of our age.

About the Instructor: Sher Afghan Asad is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University. Mr. Asad earned his master’s degree from Pakistan and then worked as a development practitioner for a poverty alleviation program in the country. Mr. Asad has extensive experience in implementing a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) experiment with some of the leading economists of the world. His research at ISU is focused on the economics of discrimination using tools and technique of behavioral and experimental economics.


Full Semester HON 321B, HERoic Theatre, M 2:10-3:00pm, Carver 338, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 4627005

About the Course: Join ISU Theatre’s Director of Theatre, Brad Dell, and Lecturer in Acting, Tiffany Antone, for an immersive look at plays from ISU’s 2019/2020 Season comprised of work by female playwrights. This class invites students to read and discuss plays by prominent female playwrights, attend and analyze ISU Theatre productions, and meet/engage with exciting visiting guest artists. Additional opportunities to attend/participate in our Gender Equity Symposium will also be available to enrolled students.

**We will substitute three ISU Theatre performances for class-meeting times on the following dates/times:

Climate Change Theatre Action: October 4 @ 7:30

Chasing George Washington: October 25 @ 7:30

The Wolves: December 6 @ 7:30

 About the Instructor: Brad Dell is an Associate Professor and Director of Theatre Iowa State where he teaches Directing, Script Analysis, and Performing Arts Seminars. He has directed nearly 100 musicals and plays at Iowa State, in Des Moines, and throughout the country, and he is the immediate past Chair of Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region 5, and a recent recipient of the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion, one of the most prestigious honors in theatre education. Tiffany Antone is a playwright, performer, and director, who teaches Acting and Oral Interpretation for ISU Theatre. She is the Artistic Director for Little Black Dress INK, a female playwright producing organization, and architect behind Protest Plays Project, an online theatre resource which initiates collaborative theatre actions for positive social change around the nation. She has presented research/taught workshops for the Association of Theatre in Higher Education and The Dramatist Guild, and is a contributing writer for HowlRound.com.


Full Semester HON 321C, Are You What You Eat?, T 1:10-2:00pm, 305 Kildee Hall, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 4628005

About the Course: What nutrients are essential for life, and what foods and food supplements will improve quality of life? Why? Why not? This seminar will emphasize the role of nutrition provided by food and food supplements in promoting a healthy life through the prevention of diseases and disorders. The physiological function of nutrients and the provision of those nutrients by common foods will be the topic of the first part of the course. Then, the role of nutraceuticals as food supplements in a healthy life will be emphasized. Popular topics of nutrition will be discussed via 15-minute oral presentations by the students. By the end of the semester, students will be in a stronger position to make difficult decisions about their diet composition and supplementation and to evaluate nutrition information that is advertised to them from TV, magazines, and the internet. I will lead discussions of subject matter via handouts given to students at the class meetings.

About the Instructor: Don Beitz is a Distinguished Professor of Agriculture who has taught biochemistry (e.g., BBMB 420 and BBMB 405) for five decades at Iowa State University. In addition, he teaches an Agricultural Biotechnology Colloquium for Scholarship for Excellence student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. His research program focuses on the application of molecular biology and biochemistry to animal food production and animal diseases. He has participated actively in Honors programs (e.g., Freshman Mentor, Honors research project, Honors seminar teacher and advisor) throughout his tenure at Iowa State University.


First Half Semester HON 321D, Modern-Day Pilgrimage on the Road to Santiago de Compostela, R 3:10-5:00pm, Location TBD, 1 Credit, First Half Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 4629005

About the Course: The Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James, is a well-known pilgrimage route that leads to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. In this class we will explore the origins of the Camino de Santiago in the medieval period and ponder the enduring popularity of this pilgrimage into the 21st century. As we make our way along the Camino de Santiago, we will take time to stop and visit (virtually) some of its most notable sites to learn about the architecture, history, literature, art, gastronomy, and popular culture of the Spanish regions we cross. Our journey would not be complete without some discussion of the practice of pilgrimage, and why humans throughout history have been drawn to the experience of walking purposefully and in reflection. Our weekly readings will be complemented by film, visual art, and invited presentations by local pilgrims. We will conclude the seminar with a day hike on a local Iowa trail.

About the Instructor: Dawn Bratsch-Prince is professor of Spanish and associate provost at Iowa State University. She received her Ph.D. in Romance Philology –medieval Romance languages and literatures-- from the University of California, Berkeley. She is interested in the history, languages, and cultures of medieval Spain, as well as the history of women. After teaching a class on the Camino de Santiago in 2008, Dr. Bratsch-Prince was inspired to go experience it firsthand! She took her first pilgrim steps along the Camino de Santiago in 2015, and has returned every year since in search of purposefulness and community.


Second Half Semester HON 321F, Gardens, Class and Power, R 3:10-5:00pm, Design 0077, 1 Credit, Second Half Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, International Perspective, Reference # 4631005

About the Course: This course is about the meanings of gardens. Specifically, it is about how gardens have reflected cultural norms, class, and power overtime. Pleasure gardens, to distinguish from utilitarian gardens, impart subtle power over people, eliciting a broad range of emotions – from owe, to reverence, to privilege, to entertainment. Gardens also embody a multitude of meanings, ranging from the myth of the Garden of Eden, to the subjugation of nature, to the benevolence of humankind toward planet Earth. Yet, all gardens are means of social order and political control. Using a sample of representative gardens across cultures and time you will learn to interpret gardens as a mix of idyllic crave, symbolic construct, and corporeal pleasure. The sample includes gardens from ancient Babylon, ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, Italian Renaissance, French Baroque, English Enlightenment and Romanticism, and Modern America. You will study how owners of gardens (and parks) in various cultures and epochs asserted their power and class distinction through different landscape and garden design means and tastes.

About the Instructor: Dr. Mira Engler is a professor and the Director of Graduate Education at the Department of Landscape Architecture. Engler teaches landscape architecture and urban design theory and history and has published extensively on public art, the aesthetics of landscape, waste landscapes, and postwar urban representation. Currently Engler studies the history of ideas, themes, and debates about color in landscape design from the eighteenth-century onward.


First Half Semester HON 321G, Where Images Live and What They Can Do, W 2:10-4:00pm, Location TBD, 1 Credit, First Half Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 4632005

About the Course: With the increase use of mobile technology and social media, images have become a predominant form of communication. But are we all capable of understanding, creating, and using images effectively? This class will explore the world of images, where they live, how they speak, and how we can use them more effectively. We will also practice interpreting images and develop a critical view of them.

About the Instructor: Vitoria Faccin is a Brazilian-born graduate student pursuing an MFA in Graphic Design. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and New Art Media from the University of North Dakota in 2017. Since starting her career in Graphic Design my interest in images and how they are interpreted grew and today it translates into an interest in Visual Literacy Education and Technology. Since images surround us so much, especially with the development of mobile technology and social media she wants to share and develop this fascination with students through teaching people about the power of images.


First Half Semester HON 321H, Everyday Leadership, M 3:10-5:00pm, 3219 Sukup Hall, 1 Credit, First Half Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 4633005

About the Course: What is leadership? How do you identify your leadership potential? How do we lead everyday? This seminar will emphasize the servant leadership model and the principles of strengths based leadership. The seminar will start by exploring servant leadership and the formal versus informal leadership roles and opportunities. Then the role of how our individual strengths impact our leadership style and how we can use those strengths to make a positive difference in our personal and professional responsibilities. We will discuss formal and informal leadership examples from history and current affairs. By the end of the semester, you will be in a stronger position to recognize and then act on leadership opportunities to put into practice everyday leadership.

About the Instructor: Steven A. Freeman, University Professor of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering is a past president of the ISU faculty senate and has worked in the President’s Office for the last five years as the Faculty Advisor to the President. He also spent a decade in the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching serving as the associate director for the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and faculty mentoring. Dr. Freeman’s teaching and research is the areas of occupational safety, SoTL, and professional development.


Full Semester HON 321J, Newspaper Physics, M 10:00am-11:50am, Location TBD, 2 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 4634005

About the Course: Physics taught directly from newspapers without a textbook! We will see that fundamental and easy-to-understand physics is part of our everyday environment and activities. Topics for discussion will be what appears in the daily newspapers. This course will contain a minimum of mathematics, thus breaking a stubborn misconception about physics (e.g., that one has to master mathematics in order to learn physics). It is likely that most topics usually covered in a semester long physics course will be touched upon in this course, viz., mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and the cross-cutting concepts throughout physics, such as the relationship between forces and potential energies, symmetry principles and conservation laws, and the overwhelming importance of experimental observations.

About the Instructor: John Hauptman is a professor in the physics department doing research in elementary particle physics at accelerators and laboratories in Europe, Asia and the US. Currently, he is working with colleagues in Korea designing a novel experiment to search for magnetic charges in nature, heretofore unseen. E.J. Bahng is an associate professor of science education at ISU. She does research in hybrid mentoring for science teachers in rural schools, studies images of scientists, and teaches courses in science instruction and the nature of science. Together, Bahng and Hauptman have written a textbook for teachers to teach physics to elementary school children.


Second Half Semester HON 321K, Current Issues in Social Science Research, MW 2:10-3:00pm, Location TBD, 1 Credit, Second Half Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 4635005

About the Course: How do the decisions we make when designing our study and examining our data influence our results and interpretations? What are some ways in which we can improve the field’s research practices? Is psychological research suffering from a replication crisis? These are just some of the questions that we will examine in this course. As a group, we will examine a number of methodological issues and research practices in social science research. We will read and discuss various articles about that discuss the reproducibility of published work, “researcher degrees of freedom”, null-hypothesis testing, and open science practices. By the end of the course, you will have a better understanding of the current issues in social science research and ways in which social scientists and institutions can improve research practices.

About the Instructor: Psychology from the University of Massachusetts. Ms. Hayes teaches an on-line section of Developmental Psychology, has worked in the Academic Success Center, has taught an Honors’ seminar course, and has co-led Dialogues on Diversity. She has a passion for teaching and believes that making connections between the classroom and the real-world helps students understand that what they are learning is useful beyond school. Lucia Cherep is a fourth-year graduate student in the Cognitive Psychology program at Iowa State University ISU). Ms. Cherep earned her Master’s Degree in Psychology from ISU, and also holds a certificate in Quantitative Psychology from ISU. Ms. Cherep currently co-facilitates Dialogues on Diversity, and has also taught the Introduction to Psychology laboratory course (PSYCH 102). Ms. Cherep’s teaching philosophy is to create assignments and assessments that support the learning outcomes of her course so that when students leave, they will be self-sufficient scholars ready to apply their accumulated knowledge to other domains.


First Half Semester HON 321L, Building Creative Minds, F 10:00-11:50am, Design 0077, 1 Credit, First Half Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 4636005

About the Course: Does the term creativity sound extraordinary? We are going to explore creativity as an attitude toward life as well as a decision that anyone can make based on the extent of knowledge and experiences. Throughout a half-semester, you will examine the theory and research on creativity, a set of creative thinking tools, and creative cases in diverse disciplines. By the end of the seminar, you will be aware of your own creative traits and processes through the experiential learning opportunities, and you can continue to cultivate your creative potential in every aspect of your personal and professional life.

About the Instructor: Jae Hwa Lee, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in Interior Design whose primary research interest lies in developing educational strategies to enhance student creative potential and to foster a creative mindset. Her current research areas also include examining environmental design to stimulate creative thinking and well-being. Jae Hwa has been successful in refereed publishing and presentations nationally and internationally; her recent doctoral dissertation proposed pedagogical implications for building creative confidence of first-year university students.


First Half Semester HON 321M, Archives Investigations, W 2:10-4:00pm, Parks Library 405, 1 Credit, First Half Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 4640005

About the Course: The course will turn you into detectives as you learn how to research in the archives and share the stories that unfold from your work. You will work hands-on in a learning lab setting with rare books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and artifacts that represent a cross-section of our collections. The course will culminate in an outreach event for the ISU community, featuring your findings in the form of mini-exhibitions. At the end of the course, you will have an introductory understanding of unfamiliar handwriting, will be able to contextualize historical documents, analyze photographs, properly handle fragile and rare materials, and communicate your understanding of this research to your peers. All sessions will draw upon the collections of primary resources in the ISU Special Collections and University Archives. 

About the Instructor: Rachel Seale is the outreach archivist at Iowa State University Library Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA). Rachel  coordinates outreach, instruction, and oversees the reading room in SCUA. In July of 2016, she attended the Librarians Active Learning Institute – Archives Special Collections at Dartmouth College and continues to apply active learning principles and collaborative learning techniques while teaching students about primary source research.


Full Semester HON 321N, All Aboard the Blockchain Hypetrain, M 4:10-5:00pm, Gerdin 2117, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 4645005

About the Course: Perhaps you have heard about Bitcoin. The technology behind Bitcoin is blockchain. The potential of blockchain seems quite remarkable – tracing food to its source in three seconds, verified transactions, and securing data from competitors. This class will trace the short history of blockchain, which includes learning about how the technology works, but previous computer knowledge is not required. Creativity will required be as we explore how blockchain could be used and why its adoption has perhaps been much slower than its publicity would indicate. We will focus on supply chain applications, as these are the likeliest to have the biggest impacts.

About the Instructor: Frank Montabon is an associate professor of supply chain management. He has taught one other honors seminar and has advised multiple final projects for honors students. His Ph.D. in production and operations management is from Michigan State University. Before entering academia, Frank was an information systems consultant focusing on manufacturing and distribution firms. He has continued his consulting work while at ISU. His research focuses on issues of sustainability. He has done large-scale surveys on ISO 14000 and has published research on the efficacy of environmental approaches. His current research projects involve regulations’ effects on supply chains, social compliance of suppliers, and traceability, security, and demand planning in food supply chains. He is also a 4.0 out of 5 on RateMyProfessors as of January 2019:



Full Semester HON 321P, Comedy College, T 6:10-8:00pm, Jischke 1151, 2 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 4647005

About the Course: In this seminar, you will learn to be funnier. Humor is not a mystical process of divine intervention granted by the Comedy Gods to just a chosen few. There are tricks, techniques and theories that, when studied, can make a person funnier. When put into practice, these skills can help with self-confidence, public speaking and communication skills. While some reading and watching of stand-up routines is required, the majority of the class focus will be on creating and sharing original humor with your classmates. The seminar culminates in a live comedy showcase where you will share your newfound humor skills with the world.

About the Instructor: Gavin Jerome has been a professional entertainer for well over 20 years. He has worked with the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser and Steve Harvey. For the past decade, Gavin has been providing humor workshops for companies and associations nationwide. His extensive standup comedy experience plus many years of leading workshops on humor in the workplace makes him most qualified on creating and sharing comedy. Peter Orazem, University Professor of Economics, has been a student of Gavin’s, and has served as the Teaching Assistant for all ISU Comedy College classes. He performed at the first American Economics Association standup comedy session in San Francisco.


Full Semester HON 321Q, Life After Birth: Comparative Neonatal Survival and Development, W 4:10-5:00pm, Location TBD, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 4648005

About the Course: This class will discuss the physiological transitions that occur after birth until weaning in a variety of species i.e. cattle, sheep, swine, horses, and humans. We will discuss a variety of topics including but not limited to: the continuous physiological development of the gastro-intestinal system, brain, kidneys, lungs, and heart. In addition, we will discuss neonatal intensive care and management as well as factors that impact survival of newborns, such as nutrition, housing, disease control, maternal bonding, and neonatal adaptation. At the end of this seminar you will know how to best care for and manage neonatal animals in a variety of domestic animal species as well as humans.  This class will be evaluated based on attendance, active participation in weekly in-class discussions, and there will be an expectation that each student present a 10-minute presentation on a relevant topic of their choosing.

About the Instructor: Greer Potadle is a graduate student in Animal Physiology with a passion for doing research on various aspects of placental physiology and pathology. She has served as a teaching assistant in animal physiology laboratories and in a graduate course in perinatology. Howard Tyler is the Assistant Dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a professor in the Department of Animal Science. His research program has focused on comparative perinatal physiology and development and he has taught a variety of animal science courses, including a graduate course in perinatology. 


First Half Semester HON 321R, Entrepreneurship, R 4:10-6:00pm, Gerdin 3164, 1 Credit, First Half Semester, Enrollment Limit: 24, Reference # 5145005

About the Course: This course is designed to help students acquire sound business acumen. The class will include a series of lectures on business models for different types of business. Students will have an opportunity to directly interact with the business professionals and learn from their expertise in this field. The learning outcomes include helping students to become familiar with the overall business environment, brainstorm start up ideas, understand legal and capital needs for different types of business organizations. The class may include field trips to Workiva and Ames Ford Lincoln. Guest speakers include: Nick Johnson- Owner/Manager Ames Ford Lincoln, Eugene T. Hibbs- Owner Little Caesars of Ames, Rick Brimeyer- President Brimeyer LLC, Dave Tucker- Director of Product Development Workiva, Chris Seymour-CEO Seymour Screen Excellence

About the Instructor: Shoba Premkumar is a senior lecturer at the College of Business, finance department. Please see the description above for information on the guest speakers.


Full Semester HON 321T, Jack the Ripper – 130 Year History, F 1:10-2:00pm, Jischke 1151, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, International Perspective, Reference # 5148005

About the Course: For over 130 years we have been intrigued by the puzzle of 1888 Whitechapel murders. What is it about this specific crime that continues to captivate the world? Who did it? During this seminar, we will take a historical look at the mysterious Jake the Ripper and the victims. Students will be encouraged to develop their own views by posing questions, being open to challenges and considering alternative answers. Through a series of weekly reports and readings, students will engage in an exchange of ideas and critical thinking focusing on the who and why of the mystery.

About the Instructor: Laurie Smith Law is the Administrative Director of the University Honors Program. Ms. Law has been working with high ability students for the past 20 years and has taught several honors seminars. She has offered seminars on culture through celebrations, urban language, and social discussion. She has a background in student affairs and has worked with several learning communities programs. Ms. Law is familiar with service learning programs and has supervised students on an alternative spring break program in different areas of the country.


First Half Semester HON 321U, The Way We Use Music in The Arts, M W 5:10-6:00pm, Jischke 1151, 1 Credit, First Half Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 5149005

About the Course: Would you like to attend events at Iowa State Center, but can't find the time? Wondered how the arts intersect with your academic field? Through performance attendance, discussion, tours and readings, you’ll have an opportunity to experience international music, a musical and a modern dance production. You’ll understand the importance of these art forms and explore the connections between the arts and your chosen curriculum. And we bet that having had a taste of events at Stephens, you’ll be on the lookout for more!

Course Schedule:

Wednesday, September 25, meet at Stephen Auditorium: 5:10-7:00 pm, Introductions, and tour of Stephens Auditorium

Monday, September 30, meet in Jischke 1151: 5:10-7:00 pm, Performance Talk (Cirque Mei)

Wednesday, October 2, at Stephens Auditorium: 6:30-9:30 pm, Pre-show discussion & Cirque Mei

Monday, October 7, at Stephens Auditorium: 6:00-9:30 pm, Pre-show discussion & The Kingdom Choir. 

 Monday, October 14, meet in Jischke 1151: 5:10-7:00 pm, Performance Talk (Beautiful)

Thursday, October 17, at Stephens Auditorium: 7:00-9:30 pm, Pre-show discussion & Beautiful

Monday, October. 21 , meet in Jischke 1151: 5:10 – 7:00 pm, Discussion of selected performances and art forms,

Wednesday, October 23, meet in Jischke 1155: 5:10 – 7:00 pm

Monday, November 4, meet in Jischke 1155: 5:10 – 7:00 pm

About the Instructor: Laurie Law, director of Honors, and Sara Compton, Iowa State Center Outreach Manager, will facilitate this seminar, including in-class discussions. Laurie has led Honors seminars on a wide variety of topics. Guest speakers will appear in the classroom or via Skype, and additional ISC staff will offer a backstage tour.


Full Semester HON 321V, Human Trafficking: From Here and Beyond, W 2:10-4:00pm, Location TBD, 2 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, US Diversity, Reference # 6545005

About the Course: This seminar will explore the phenomenon of human trafficking within the United States and beyond. You will learn about the history of and concepts that define trafficking; the intersectionalities of race, gender, nationality, etc.; legal and political ramifications of trafficking, different types of trafficking: sex, labor, organ, etc., and how you can make a difference in your community by educating peers about this crime against humanity. Guest speakers include survivors of trafficking, representatives from the Central Iowa Service Network Against Human Trafficking, Youth and Shelter Services, ISU Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery, Teens Against Human Trafficking, etc.

About the Instructor: Dr. Alissa Stoehr is a Lecturer in the Sociology Department and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Her research interests include human trafficking, women’s and gender studies programs at community colleges, child support and welfare policies in the state of Iowa, racism within intercollegiate athletics, and work-life balance issues affecting female PhD students at Iowa State.


Second Half Semester HON 321W, The History of Reproductive Rights in America, M 1:10-3:00pm, Location TBD, 1 Credit, Second Half Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, US Diversity, Reference # 6564005

About the Course: This seminar will examine the history of reproductive rights in America. We will discuss how reproductive rights have impacted different historical periods as well the life experiences of different people with multiple identities (White women, women of color, men, LGBT, etc.).

About the Instructor: Dr. Alissa Stoehr is a Lecturer in the Sociology Department and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Her research interests include human trafficking, women’s and gender studies programs at community colleges, child support and welfare policies in the state of Iowa, racism within intercollegiate athletics, and work-life balance issues affecting female PhD students at Iowa State.


Full Semester HON 321Y, Structured Matrices, F 2:10-3:00pm, Location TBD, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 7631005

About the Course: Many scientific problems can often be stated in a simpler, or easier to understand, form using matrix notation. This is especially true if the equations contain structured matrices. A structured matrix is a matrix that can be described with significantly fewer parameters than the number of matrix elements. For example, a diagonal matrix has NxN elements, but only N of them could be different from zero. Examples of non-trivial structured matrices include: Hankel, Toeplitz, Vandermonde, circulant, and Fourier matrices. This class will cover both the theory and the algorithms for representing and working with these structured matrices. Applications to audio and signal processing will also be covered. Previous exposure to programming or linear algebra is recommended, but not required. Prerequisites: The Matrix (all episodes).

About the Instructor: Alexander Stoytchev is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research interests include computational perception, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and autonomous robotics. (http://www.ece.iastate.edu/~alexs/)


Full Semester HON 321Z, Conflicts in the Middle East, T 2:10-3:00pm, Location TBD, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, International Perspective, Reference # 7634005

About the Course: What are the current political conflicts in the Middle East? How to understand the wars in the Middle East? The seminar will examine the current political conflicts and wars in the Middle East. We will examine in depth the Arab-Israeli conflict, The Lebanese War, the Palestinian question and other regional issues (Iraq, the Kurds, Iran, Syria, etc). Students will understand the “complicated Middle East” and how these conflicts are impacting the war on terrorism.

About the Instructor: Jean-Pierre Taoutel has been teaching at ISU since 1999 as a Senior Lecturer of French and an Instructor of Arabic. He was born in Syria and grew up in Lebanon before moving to France. He holds an M.A and a D.E.A in French literature from the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, France. He has taught several Honors seminars. Jean-Pierre enjoys traveling and he has been in over 45 countries.


Full Semester HON 323A, That’s Me in the Corner, M 2:10-3:00pm, Location TBD, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, International Perspective, Reference # 8823005

About the Course: How much do you know about the problems that many people in the world are facing today? Are you enough aware of all the plagues (organ traffic, modern slavery, children soldiers, forced prostitution, etc.) that are destroying the lives of millions of people around you? On the first day of the seminar, you will be given a photo that represents a random person suffering from one of today’s plagues. Who is this person? What is his/her problem? How come he/she has ended up in this situation? You will be asked to do a research about the issue represented in the photo and present it in class. You will learn more in-depth about issues that, even if they don’t make the headlines, affect millions of people in the world. In fact, with some bad luck, you could have been that person in the corner!

About the Instructor: Jean-Pierre Taoutel has been teaching at ISU since 1999 as a Senior Lecturer of French and an Instructor of Arabic. He was born in Syria and grew up in Lebanon before moving to France. He holds an M.A and a D.E.A in French literature from the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, France. He has taught several Honors seminars. Jean-Pierre enjoys traveling and he has been in over 45 countries.


Full Semester HON 323B, Understanding War, W 2:10-3:00pm, Location TBD, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, International Perspective, Reference # 8825005

About the Course: “What is it like to be in a war zone?” “What challenges civilians face when they are trapped in a war” The seminar will examine the daily life in wartime and the social effects of war. How do people live in extreme conditions? Through study cases and living experiences, students will be able to better understand the “chaos of war”. We will examine the Geneva Convention and other Human Rights documents to raise awareness about war crimes against civilians. We will also explore the role of the media in conflicts. Student will be able to better understand the sided, biased or impartial role of the media. They will learn to read behind the superficial or general information presented in some media. At the end of the seminar, students should be able to understand the reality of war and its effect on society. War is not just a video game between the good and the bad.

About the Instructor: Jean-Pierre Taoutel has been teaching at ISU since 1999 as a Senior Lecturer of French and an Instructor of Arabic. He was born in Syria and grew up in Lebanon before moving to France. He holds an M.A and a D.E.A in French literature from the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, France. He has taught several Honors seminars. Jean-Pierre enjoys traveling and he has been in over 45 countries.


First Half Semester HON 323C, On the Surface of Things, TR 11:00-11:50am, Hoover 2268, 1 Credit, First Half Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 0298005

About the Course: The surface of an object captures a significant amount of information. From racial stereotypes to engineering, the surface dictates a lot about our perceived or real use of an object. Surfaces, however, are complex especially when it comes to engineering. In materials, surfaces often constitute a small part of the whole, yet they can be extremely useful in avoiding catastrophe or can limit the use of a material. This seminar will explore what our perception of surfaces are from race and color perception, to how we judge materials. Allowing scientific facts to guide what we see opens new opportunity to create such technologies as heat-free solders, safe high-energy materials, self-cleaning materials and even smart semi-permanent structures from paper. We will explore how to design affordable but high value technologies by overcoming our initial biases of surfaces and translating these engineering concepts into overcoming our perception of each other. The objective is to learn to overcome our social bias by translating initial misconceptions in the physical world as analogs to our social circles.

 About the Instructor: Prof. Thuo joined ISU in 2014 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of materials science and engineering. He also has courtesy appointment in electrical and computer engineering. Prof. Thuo received his Ph.D. in 2008. He was then a Mary-Fieser fellow (2009-2011) and nanoscale science and engineering center fellow (2011-2013) at Harvard University. He is the recipient of a number of awards like the Lynn-Anderson research excellence award, Akinc research excellence award, ACS POLY ROM (March 2018), LSAMP-IINSPIRE excellent faculty mentor award, a Black & Veatch faculty fellowship, among others. His research interests encompass the general theme of frugal innovation through simplicity. Besides his interest in science and engineering, he is interested in entrepreneurship and is a co-founder of two companies; Safi-tech inc and Sep-all LLC, based on inventions from his research group.


Full Semester HON 323D, Demystifying 23 and Me: The Role of Genetics in the Individual and Society, T 4:10-5:00pm, 105 Kildee, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 0297005

About the Course: Have you run your DNA at 23&Me or has one of your family? Are you curious as to what all this is about? We will discuss the underpinnings of the direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies like 23&Me, Ancestry, and other genetics companies. You will gain both the knowledge of the science (and pseudo-science) behind these tests and their interpretations, as well as participate in discussions about what it means to each of us, our families and their health care decisions, and society as a whole. For example: how does genetic testing results from your sister or your cousin affect your decision to test yourself or your child? Should we allow police to search all our genetic information to find a killer? What about an insurance company do they have the right to our genes to decide our insurability? Each week, we will discuss these important issues affecting people and society, as well as learn about the uncertainty in predicting health outcomes from genetic data. We will also explore genetic data using computer programs to demonstrate how the genome is read and how such predictions are made.

 About the Instructor: I, Dr. Tuggle, am a Professor in Animal Science, focusing on genomics and genetic testing in animals for the past 25 years at Iowa State. I have taught both Biol 313 (Introductory Genetics) and AnS 451 (Animal Biotechnology) to undergraduate students multiple times, as well as a graduate course in Genomics for > 20 years (AnS 556). I am both enthusiastic of the power of genetics to help us, as well as critical of the Direct-to-Consumer genetic testing environment. I strongly believe that individuals need to understand how companies and governments use our genetic information, so that we can make informed choices in our own health decisions and help society as decisions on the use of genetic information are made that directly affect us.


Full Semester HON 323E, Monstropsy: A Rhetorical Dissection of What Makes Monsters Monstrous, F 12:10-1:00pm, Jischke 1151, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, International Perspective, Reference # 0299010

About the Course: In this seminar, you will read, watch, and engage with narratives about humanity’s boogeymen, spanning ancient Nordic myths to Medieval Christian epic poems to modern monsters. Through these works, we will investigate how humanity creates its monsters, how our fears, hatreds, and even hopes manifest through the monsters we create and the fellow humans we other. By learning how to read these “monstrous works,” you will learn how to dig deeply into the rhetoric used to create “monsters.” You will examine how monsters are fears and hopes given form. Consequently, by examining the rhetoric employed to create monsters, or turn fellow humans into “monsters,” your critical thinking and interpretive skills will be sharpened to better understand the power, and dangers, of rhetoric that is fueled by fear.

 About the Instructor: Michael Wettengel is a Creative Writing and Environmental graduate student at Iowa State University. He received his Master’s in Literature in Spring 2019, also at Iowa State. His work and research focus on how elements of modern speculative fiction, particularly horror and fantasy, have roots in the fears, hopes, and monsters from our past. His works of fiction have appeared in Illinois Wesleyan University’s literary journal and have been published through Ceti Publishing.


Full Semester HON 323F, Green and Sustainable Architecture: A Critical Introduction, T 9:00-9:50am, Jischke 1151, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 0300005

About the Course: Sustainability and Green Architecture is a semester-long course designed to acquaint students with sustainable architecture and the green building movement. It teaches students to think critically about approaches to sustainable architectural design and introduces skills to determine the validity of the claims made about sustainable architecture. It introduces the many different approaches to sustainable architecture and critically examines the tools and accreditation systems. It provides an introduction to the skills needed to make informed judgments about both the technical requirements and cultural aspects of sustainable design. The class is not simply about the energy performance of buildings; nor green building methods and materials, although it includes discussion of both of these aspects of sustainable design. It is rather about how to engage critically with, and evaluate, architectural design practices. The course develops around the position that the challenge of sustainability in design is a matter of situationally specific interpretation rather than the setting of universal goals [1]. It helps students understand the breadth, interconnectedness, and global nature of a sustainability.

 About the Instructor: Andrea Wheeler is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at Iowa State University where she teaches classes on Green and Sustainable Architecture and is a studio instructor. Since completing her doctorate in 2005 on the work of Luce Irigaray she has been working on issues of gender, sustainability in the built environment. Most recently she has presented papers at conferences organized and hosted by Luce Irigaray including “Thinking Love” at the University of Bristol in June of 2016 and “To Be Born: Genesis of a New Human Being” at the University of Sussex in February 2017.


Full Semester HON 323G, The Iowa Caucus: Why Iowa is First-in-the-nation and What It Means in 2020, T 11:00-11:50am, Hamilton 0012, 1 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 0301005

About the Course: This class will give an overview of the history of the Iowa Caucus and examine the campaigns of candidates running in 2020. You will learn how Iowa became “the first-in-the-nation” in selecting presidential candidates, what makes Iowa voters special, and how candidates have campaigned in Iowa in the past and present. You will have the opportunity to witness and discuss in real-time candidates’ Iowa campaigns and to hear from media and political strategy experts about the importance and uniqueness of the Iowa Caucus.

 About the Instructor: Kelly Winfrey is an assistant professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University. Winfrey’s research focuses political communication and gender. She has published research on women as political candidates, women voters, and campaign communication. She teaches classes in political campaigns, public relations, communication, and leadership. Winfrey also serves as coordinator for research and outreach at the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics where she oversees the Archives of Women’s Political Communication, the Women in Iowa Politics Database and engagement programs such as the Ready to Run® Iowa campaign training workshops.


Full Semester HON 323H, Music and Health, R 10:00-11:50am, Music Hall 0024, 2 Credit, Full Semester, Enrollment Limit: 17, Reference # 0302005

About the Course: We will explore the relationship of music and health via readings, recordings, lectures, discussions, and musical experiences, investigating the history, theory, and practice of the creative power of sound and music in international health care settings. In addition to reviewing the work of musicians-physicians and music therapy research, we will study prevention of injury and health maintenance for musicians, and medical challenges of performing artists and composers. You actively listen to musical compositions of various styles and genres, learn to identify them by composer, historical context, and stylistic characteristics, and explore their potential use as treatment in clinical applications. You also will explore values, attitudes and norms that shape cultural differences of people who live in the US and in other regions of the world.

 About the Instructor: Dr. Miriam Zach is a musicologist, organist, harpsichordist, pianist, author, and professor. She is the inaugural Charles and Mary Sukup Artist in Organ teaching organ, harpsichord, and music-history courses at Iowa State. She is also Director of Music-Organist at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and enjoys playing chamber music as a member of the Alachua Consort. From 1996-2016 at the University of Florida she taught interdisciplinary Honors Music and Health, undergraduate and graduate Music History, organ, and harpsichord, and was Professor of the Year 2000-01. She co-edited the book Resonance: Essays on the Intersection of Music and Architecture (2007), recorded the CD Hidden Treasures: 300 Years of Organ Music by Women Composers (1998) in Princeton University Chapel, and can be heard on Pipedreams National Public Radio (2007, 2010, 2013).