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Honors Faculty Fellows program seeks proposals for fall 2022 and spring 2023

October 20, 2021

The University Honors Program (UHP) is excited to announce the 2022-2023 Honors Faculty Fellowship call for proposals. Faculty selected to teach Honors seminars are recognized as Honors Faculty Fellows during the year in which they teach their Honors seminar.

The Honors Faculty Fellowship program began in the fall of 2020 with a cohort of NIU’s award-winning professors and innovative researchers. It has since continued to provide engaging, interdisciplinary seminars to NIU Honors students throughout the past three semesters. Faculty and instructors interested in participating in 2022-23 are encouraged to propose an Honors Seminar by Nov 30, 2021.

Andrea Radasanu, director of the University Honors Program

“These three-credit seminars are meant to appeal to students from across disciplines and are at the core of the UHP curriculum,” said Director of the University Honors Program Andrea Radasanu. “This is a fantastic opportunity for faculty and instructors to teach small classes made up of dedicated, enthusiastic and accomplished students.”

Faculty and instructors selected as for an Honors Faculty Fellowship can apply for course enrichment funds of up to $1,000 to try out new material or enhance an existing course.

“We are excited about the amazing seminars this year, and we are already looking for our slate of Honors Faculty Fellows for next year,” continued Radasanu. “Honors seminars are the crown jewel of the honors curriculum and, in many cases, introduce students to entirely new material.”

When designing Evolution of Art, the course he is currently teaching to an interdisciplinary group of students, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Paul Kassel operated under the assumption that “everyone knows a little something about the arts.”

His approach worked, not only for his students, but also for himself as an educator.

“Teaching honors students is very gratifying–they tend to be curious, motivated and challenging,” said Kassel. “I always learn a lot–both as a teacher and as a researcher and artist.”

Being an Honors Faculty Fellow not only provides the opportunity to teach curious and motivated students from a variety of disciplines, but also provides the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from other departments on campus.

“We have all sorts of experts at NIU and I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with a few outside my college.” Continued Kassel. “Dr. Leila Porter, chair of the Department of Anthropolgy, has lectured the class on the limits of evolutionary theory as well on her own research and Dr. Amy Newman from the Department of English led a session on poetry, which resulted in all the students writing and reciting an original poem.”

“These are the kinds of experiences that stay with a student for a long time” continued Kassel. “And with teachers, too.  It’s the reason I teach, and I’m grateful to be part of the seminar program.”

Spring 2022 will continue to provide Honors students with a variety of courses. Uncovering the -isms in Disney films, exploring Native American history and culture within Illinois, and understanding policies and politics surrounding undocumented immigrants are just a few of the themes honors students will have the opportunity to explore during the seminars scheduled for spring semester.

Seminars scheduled for the Spring 2022 semester include:

Social Justice: Transformation, Imagination, Belonging (HIST 399) taught by Associate Professor Amanda Littauer from the department of History and the Center for the Study of Women Gender and Sexuality.

Professor Littauer’s seminar will view the expansive subject of social justice through the lenses of history; gender, sexuality and critical race studies; art and literature; popular nonfiction and the social sciences. Course participants, together with the professor, will work to cultivate their own socially-just learning community by engaging in practices based in mindfulness, radical self-care and restorative justice. Assignments enlist analysis as well as reflection, creativity, and imagination.

Global Mental Health:  Social Determinants and Service Delivery (HON 310) taught by Chair and Associate Professor Susan Caplan from the School of Nursing.

Students enrolled in Professor Caplan’s seminar will pursue an in-depth study of global mental health issues including the social determinants of mental health, psychiatric epidemiology and population health, global disasters and mental health outcomes, mental health systems and traditional healing, stigma, and mental health policy. Students will explore the Dominican Republic in depth.

Physics of Sports (HON 310) taught by Associate Professor Yasuo Ito, Presidential Teaching Professsor Laurence Lurio, and Associate Professor Michael T. Eads, all from the Department of Physics.

This course explores how physics is involved in various aspects of sports, including equipment and performance. Students will engage their creativity to connect physical concepts and aspects of sports as well as modern technologies. Through this course, students will come to see how physics is part of every part of daily life.

An Exploration of Racism, Sexism, and Other Isms in Disney Animated Films (HON 410) taught by Professor Melanie Koss from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction

This discussion-based course will explore constructions of gender, race, class, sexuality, age, ability and religion in the animated films of Walt Disney. By chronologically and topically examining the content of several Disney films through different lenses, students will explore topics such as political correctness, the intersection between time period and cultural product, colonialism and challenging the narrative. Themes of social justice and empowerment will be woven throughout the course.

The Political Spectacle of Undocumented Immigrants (HON 410) taught by Associate Professor James Cohen from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

This course will introduce students to the history, policies and politics surrounding the topic of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Questions such as “When did people become ‘illegal’?” and “What are the policies that created the current context?” will be explored.

Indigenous Illinois (HON 410) taught by Associate Professor Natalie Joy from the Department of History and Assistant Professor Dana Bardolph from the Department of Anthropology.

Native Americans have a deep history and vibrant presence in Illinois, from their initial arrival ca. 12,000 years ago to thriving 21st century communities today. This course invites students to explore Indigenous Illinois, past and present, through a variety of media, from anthropological, historical and critical Indigenous scholarship to archaeological artifacts and historical documents to contemporary Native fiction, poetry, art and film. As team teachers, the professors will draw on their expertise including archaeological research on ancient Mississippian communities in central Illinois ca. 1000 CE (Bardolph) and broader historical research on Native Americans and activism in the 19th century (Joy), and their collective interests in contemporary Indigenous media, including art, poetry and film.

Interprofessionalism in Health Science (HSCI 399) taught by Interim Associate Dean and Director of the Ph.D. in Health Sciences Program Beverly Henry from the School of Interdisciplinary Health Professions.

Thinking about you can improve health outcomes or patient experiences? The World Health Organization recommends interprofessional education. Learn about, from, and with each other through readings, discussion, and group projects to learn about different professions and develop your skills with collaboration. In this class, you will participate in interactive learning with other disciplines to prepare you for “deliberatively working together” to improve community and population health care systems. This seminar will complement coursework across a wide range of majors.