Curriculum

Note: You can display Honors Sections on the Penn State class schedule by choosing the "advanced search" option and searching only for Honors courses. If you wish to be signed into one of these sections, then fill out a Drop/Add form (see "forms" page) and bring it to the Honors Coordinator for a signature.

Click here for Penn State Altoona Honors Curriculum Policies

Fall Honors 2014 Offerings

ENGL 30T (GWS), HONORS FRESHMAN COMPOSITION — Tuesday 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. (Rotunno)
Voices are unique. You know your mother's voice in an instant, your angry mother's voice even quicker. The previous sentence hints at a central point of this class, subtitled "The Voices We Hear, The Voices We Create": voices change according to one's situation. The "voice" of your writing should do the same, and this class is designed to train your writing voice to resound in any situation you might face. To accomplish this goal, we'll analyze some diverse voices. Tyler Durden will whisper to us about Project Mayhem; we’ll overhear Screwtape’s mentorship of the new young devil Wormword, and we'll be introduced to the underbelly of India by Balram Halwai. We will also be given the unique chance to hear from those who were in some way connected to the Flight 93 tragedy and to add to their memorial project. This class promises to allow you to exercise your voice so that you might present yourself as convincingly as any of the speakers with which you come in contact.

PHYS 001 (GN), THE SCIENCE OF PHYSICS, T R 4:05-5:20 p.m. (Weisel)
Phys 001 is a general education course having no prerequisites except an interest in science and history. This version of the course is a hybrid: the concepts of physics will be taught in their cultural and historical context. You will learn, not only about classical mechanics, electricity and thermodynamics, as well as modern relativity theory and quantum mechanics, but also about the life and times of famous scientists and their peers. Why was Newton so cold and remote? Why did Robert Oppenheimer get denounced as a traitor? Find out the answers to these and many other questions in Phys 001.

While this section PHYS 001 is not an honors course, honors students are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to enroll in this class. They should know that Dr. Weisel is excited about offering this course to honors students as an honors option.

Not an honors course but a highly recommended course:

COMM 190 (GS) GAMING AND INTERACTIVE MEDIA, MW 4-5:15 p.m. (White)
This course examines social and cultural aspects of games and gaming in modern society, focusing on the development of digital (i.e., electronically mediated) games within a broader sphere of "participatory culture" and interactive media. It surveys the structure of the gaming industry and philosophies of game design as well as the social psychology of gaming and the ethnography of game-play. It asks students to view their own engagement with games through the lens of qualitative and quantitative social science.

Honors sections for Spring 2014

BI SCI 003H: Environmental Science (GN) with Dr. Carolyn Mahon on TR at 9:25-10:40 a.m.
This course aims to familiarize students with basic principles of environmental science. These principles include ecosystem diversity, conservation of earth's resources, and human impacts on the environment. The intended audience for this course is non-science majors that have an interest in environmental and ecological issues. The course will be taught primarily in a lecture/discussion format with some field experiences. Field experiences include a weekend trip to the Chesapeake Bay. You are expected to participate fully in all discussions. At the conclusion of this course, I hope that you better understand the complexity of human interactions with their environment.

CAS 100H (GWS) with Dr. Bill White on MW at 4:00 – 5:15 p.m.
For over a thousand years, the art called rhetoric was the linchpin of a liberal arts education, designed to prepare young leaders to evaluate, decide, and act effectively. This course engages with the rhetorical tradition in order to build speaking skills and decision-making abilities. It also encourages students to develop a strong theoretical knowledge of the communication process that will enable the optimal employment of those skills and abilities.

ENGL 202H Honors Writing in the Humanities—Adult Literacy (GWS) with Professor Lee Peterson on MW at 4:00 – 5:15 p.m.
Offered through the English program in collaboration with the Penn State Altoona Honors Program and the Pennsylvania Literacy Corps, this course provides students enrolled in any college or major an opportunity to examine adult literacy in-depth and, at the same time, engage in a much-needed community service activity through work with adult learners, assisting them as they strive to improve their own literacy skills. In addition to gaining a greater understanding of literacy in general—its history; its relationship to class, gender, and ethnicity; its promises and politics—students who successfully complete this honors course will be recognized by the Pennsylvania Literacy Corps as certified volunteer tutors—a great resume builder. (This course will satisfy the ENGL 202 general education requirement, but not a major or minor field requirement for the English major or minor. Students should also register for an additional one-credit ENGL 298H course in complement to ENGL 202H.)

HIST 066U (GH & IL) with Dr. Doug Page on MWF at 3-3:50 p.m.
British History is a lot more than the story of white people with accents. As noted historian Simon Schama argues, "To collude in the minimization of British history on the grounds of its imagined irrelevance to our rebranded national future, or from a suspicion that it does no more than recycle patriotic pieties unsuited to a global marketplace, would be an act of appallingly self-inflicted collective memory loss." History 066 will insure that you don't become one of those minimizers.

This course will take you from the beginnings of settlement, to the bloody rebellion against Roman rule, to the game-changing battle of Hastings, to the terrifying rampage of Jack the Ripper, to the rediscovery of Britain in the post-colonial world.

The objectives of this course are that you 1) develop an understanding of the major political, cultural, and intellectual developments of the British Isles and its peoples from ancient times to the present; (2) examine the causes and consequences of imperial rise and fall; (3) analyze objects that represent historically significant episodes within British History; and (4) critically evaluate Britain's influence on other nations and cultures, including that of the United States.

Thomas Sowell reminds us of the importance of such objectives, writing "Much of the world today, including the United States, is still living in the social, cultural, and political aftermath of Britain’s cultural achievements, its industrial revolution, its government of checks and balances, and its conquests around the world." Correspondingly, a main goal in this class is to explore where we, quite literally, have come from.

***One bonus of this course is that it can be "attached" to a one-week trip to London. This trip will occur after spring semester 2014 and will be offered for both English and History credit; the course is subtitled "London Calling: Ordering the World" and will appear on the spring schedule soon.***

INART 205H Introducing the Beatles (GA) with Professor. Dave Villani on TR 4:05-5:20 p.m.
In this course, we will explore the Beatles’ musical career in terms of their wide-ranging cultural and artistic influence. Particular attention will be devoted to examining their songs within the context of their composition and in terms of their place (and placement) on the band’s albums. In addition to investigating their biographical lives, we will discuss the Beatles’ overtly literary and textual intentions, especially their various attempts at irony, parody, and satire.

This course’s chronological design is arranged in order to capture the band’s artistic trajectory from two-track recording and the relatively primitive Please Please Me album through the sonic heights of Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The White Album, and Abbey Road. The thrust of this course is interpretive in nature, with the Beatles’ songs and albums receiving considerable scrutiny in terms of their composition, production, and attendant musicianship. Developments in recording and instrument technology are germane to our understanding of the Beatles’ evolving aesthetic, as is the bandmates’ development as songwriters who eventually eschew issues associated with romance in order to address larger and more prescient subjects in their music such as loneliness, oppression, nostalgia, ethics, and redemption.

NOT AN OFFICIAL HONORS COURSE BUT PLEASE CONSIDER ...

“LONDON CALLING: ORDERING THE WORLD” BRITISH LITERATURE, HISTORY, & CULTURE invites you to text Samuel Johnson’s famous statements:

"By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show."

"You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."

In short, this eight-day, one-credit excursion will allow you to enhance your knowledge and understanding of British literature, history, and culture by visiting several key and select sites in London and Oxford.

Just as a preview: we will visit a wealth of famous museums in which you will see treasures of Greek Sculpture that the British have “preserved” for what they considered backward people and jewelry made out of hummingbirds. You will take in the London skyline and walk among scholars in Oxford.

Contact Drs. Rotunno or Page (ler12@psu.edu or ddp2@psu.edu) for more information and watch the Education Abroad website for forthcoming specifics about dates, itinerary, and costs.

The official course you will sign up for will appear on the spring schedule soon. To be eligible to participate in this trip, you would need to take English 222W OR History 66U, both offered spring semester 2014.

Honors sections for Fall 2013

CAMS 100/HIST 100 (GH), GREEK HISTORY, MWF 9-9:50 am (Findley)
If you don’t know what happened in Greece between ~2000 BCE and 146 BCE, by the time you finish this course, you will. To understand the Greeks, we must understand where they come from: The Mediterranean environment and Mesopotamian culture are our prelude. Once we have begun studying Greek history proper, we will spend most of our time investigating the original documents of Greek writers, the material of archeological sites, and art made by the first innovators of “Western” civilization. As a postlude, we will spend some time contemplating the innovations introduced to Greece (rather forcefully) by Philip and his more famous son, Alexander.

While this section of CAMS 100/HIST 100 is not an honors course, honors students are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to enroll in this class. They should know that Dr. Findley is excited about offering this course to honors students as an honors option.

ENGL 30T (GWS), HONORS FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
MWF 10-10:50 am (Rotunno)
MWF 1-1:50 pm (Rotunno)

Voices are unique. You know your mother's voice in an instant, your angry mother's voice even quicker. The previous sentence hints at a central point of this class, subtitled "The Voices We Hear, The Voices We Create": voices change according to one's situation. The "voice" of your writing should do the same, and this class is designed to train your writing voice to resound in any situation you might face. To accomplish this goal, we'll analyze some diverse voices. Tyler Durden will whisper to us about Project Mayhem; we’ll overhear Screwtape’s mentorship of the new young devil Wormword, and we'll be introduced to the underbelly of India by Balram Halwai. We will also be given the unique chance to hear from those who were in some way connected to the Flight 93 tragedy and to add to their memorial project. This class promises to allow you to exercise your voice so that you might present yourself as convincingly as any of the speakers with which you come in contact.

PL SC 1 (GS), INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN NATIONAL GOVERNMENT, MWF 11-11:50 am (Pyeatt)
What are the three branches of government? What is the electoral college? How does a bill become a law? While knowing the answers to these questions is a start, really understanding American government is more than knowing facts about the structure and process. In order to genuinely understand the subject, one needs to appreciate how rules, strategies and motivations guide political behavior. In this interactive course, students will learn about the importance of political choices starting with the authors of the Constitution and continuing to present day.

While this section PL SC 001 is not an honors course, honors students are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to enroll in this class. They should know that Dr. Pyeatt is excited about offering this course to honors students as an honors option.

SOC 001H (GS), INTRODUCTORY SOCIOLOGY MWF 2-2:50 p.m. (Rowland)
If you like to watch people and try to figure out why they do what they do, then you will like sociology. Sociology pries open the doors of society so you can see what goes on behind them. From how people become homeless to how people become president, from why women are treated as second class citizens to why people commit suicide – are all parts of sociology. In this course, we will get a foundational understanding of sociology and move to topics like race, gender, education, and political economy. But above all, why sociology? Here’s the hook: when you or I were born neither of us had any idea about social class or age or gender – and yet we learn such things as a part of growing up in this society. Uncovering the “how’s” and “why’s” of this process is one of sociology’s most fascinating contributions to your life.

Honors sections for Spring 2013

CAS 100H (GWS) with Dr. Louis Campbell on MWF at
1 – 1:50 p.m.

You don't have to dress nice to be Masters of the Universe. But you really should speak effectively. In CAS 100H: Effective Speaking, you will learn some of the cognitive science behind public speaking, and you will present 3 speeches: a speech explaining a theory, a speech reporting on a discovery made within the last ten years and its effect on a theory, and a speech supporting or contesting a definition in flux.

PSYCH 100H (GS) with Dr. Brad Pinter on TTh at 9:25 – 10:40 p.m.
Why do we think how we think, feel like we feel, and behave as we do? Although popular culture would have us believe all kinds of (often contradictory) answers to these questions, science is the only hope to truly know. This course will introduce students to the science of Psychology, and will survey several major areas within the discipline, including the brain, memory, personality, and psychopathology. The format of the course will include a balance of discussion and group activities. At the conclusion of the course students will better understand people in general and themselves in particular.

ENGL 191H (GH) with Dr. Megan Simpson on TTh at 10:50 – 12:05 p.m.
Time travel, space travel, alternate universes, alien life forms, androids, cyborgs, virtual reality, the distant future, impossible technology ... this is the stuff of science fiction, right? Yes…but the line between reality and “fiction” is thin indeed in the best works of science fiction. In this class, we’ll visit marvelous and terrifying “other” worlds as imagined by some of the finest modern and contemporary authors of speculative fiction. We’ll travel through time and space, meeting the world’s greatest sword fighter (who is also the world’s greatest computer hacker) as he attempts to save the world from a computer virus that also infects human bodies, an alien race whose society is organized into three distinct sexes, a human colony on Mars whose members begin to change over time into something … not quite human … , a small American town whose inhabitants are actually cyborgs with implanted memories (but they don’t know it), and a planet inhabited by inscrutable moth-like creatures with what appear to be human faces decorating their wings. With each strange new world we visit, we’ll ask, “what does this story tell us about our world, about us?” The connections and discoveries we make may change the way we look at the actual every day world … forever. (Insert Twilight Zone theme music here for effect….) While having all this fun, students will also learn about the history and scope of the SF genre—its themes and forms— and further develop their critical reading, thinking, and writing skills in the exploration of the intellectual, philosophical, and artistic dimensions of this oft-marginalized literary tradition.

ENGL 202H Honors Writing in the Humanities—Adult Literacy (GWS) with Professor Lee Peterson on TTh at 10:50 – 12:05 p.m.
Offered through the English program in collaboration with the Penn State Altoona Honors Program and the Pennsylvania Literacy Corps, this course provides students enrolled in any college or major an opportunity to examine adult literacy in-depth and, at the same time, engage in a much-needed community service activity through work with adult learners, assisting them as they strive to improve their own literacy skills. In addition to gaining a greater understanding of literacy in general—its history; its relationship to class, gender, and ethnicity; its promises and politics—students who successfully complete this honors course will be recognized by the Pennsylvania Literacy Corps as certified volunteer tutors—a great resume builder. (This course will satisfy the ENGL 202 general education requirement, but not a major or minor field requirement for the English major or minor. Students should also register for an additional one-credit ENGL 298H course in complement to ENGL 202H.)

Though not an Honors Course, Consider Also ...

ENGL 250 Peer Tutoring in Writing with Professor Lee Peterson on TTh at 9:25 – 10:40 p.m.
Students enrolled in this course will study theories of peer tutoring in order to prepare to work as writing tutors in the Learning Resources Center. If you are considering a career in education or as a professional writer, or if you are simply a strong writer and would like to help others, consider enrolling in this course. (Instructor’s signature required for enrollment.)

Honors sections for Fall 2012

ENGL 30T Honors Freshman Composition (GWS) with Dr. Laura Rotunno on MWF 11-11:50 a.m.
Voices are unique. You know your mother's voice in an instant, your angry mother's voice even quicker. The previous sentence hints at a central point of this class, subtitled "The Voices We Hear, The Voices We Create": voices change according to one's situation. The "voice" of your writing should do the same, and this class is designed to train your writing voice to resound in any situation you might face. To accomplish this goal, we'll analyze some unique voices. Little Alex will narrate his tale of horrorshow violence; Tyler Durden will whisper to us about Project Mayhem, and we’ll overhear Screwtape’s mentorship of the new young devil Wormword. We'll be introduced to the underbelly of India by Balram Halwai and the world of possible murder and certain threat by a Duke. This class promises to allow you to exercise your voice so that you might present yourself as convincingly (hopefully not as criminally) as any of those voice masters.

INART 115U The Popular Arts in America: Popular Music (GA, US) with Dr. Jerry Zolten on MW 4-5:15 p.m.
The Cultural Roots of Rock 'n' Roll - takes students on an excursion through the evocative and sometimes provocative territory of American "roots" music. Through rare video and audio performance clips, students directly experience the artists and genres that made rock 'n' roll possible. Spanning a period from pre-Civil War through the early 1960s, artists covered include Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Robert Johnson, Bill Monroe, the Carter Family, Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, the Moonglows, Ray Charles, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles; genres covered, spirituals and gospel, blues, jazz, hillbilly, ragtime, rhythm & blues, Cajun, folk, and, of course, early rock 'n' roll.

Honors sections for Spring 2012

  • BI SCI 003H: Environmental Science with Dr. Carolyn Mahon on TR at 9:25-10:40 a.m.
  • ENGL 202H: Honors Writing in the Humanities, Adult Literacy with Dr. Lee Peterson on TR at 1:10 - 2:30 p.m.
  • PSYCH-100H with Dr. Robert Matchock on TR at 2:40 – 3:55 p.m.

Honors Sections for Fall 2011

  • CAS 100H, Effective Speech (GWS), Louis J. Campbell, TR, 9:25 - 10:40 AM
  • English 30T, Freshman Composition (GWS), Laura Rotunno, M W F 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM

Spring 2011 semester

  • English 202H Writing in the Humanities (GWS), Lee Peterson, M W F 02:00P - 02:50P
  • Econ 102H Introductory Microeconomic Analysis (GS), Xuebing Yang M W F 12:00P - 12:50P

Fall 2010 semester

  • English 30T, English Composition (GWS), Megan Simpson, T R 09:25A - 10:40A
  • CAS 100H, Speech Communication (GWS), Louis Campbell, T R 01:15P - 02:30P
  • Stat 200, Elementary Statistics (GQ), Jun Masamune, M W F 1:00 PM - 1:50 PM and R 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Spring 2010 semester

  • BiSc 003H, Environmental Science (GN), Carolyn Mahan, TR, 9:25 - 10:40 AM
  • Econ 004H, Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy (GS), Xuebing Yang, MWF, 12:00 - 12:50 PM
  • Engl 202H, Honors Writing in the Humanities—Adult Literacy (GWS), Lee Peterson, MW, 4:00 - 5:15 AM

Fall 2009 semester

  • CAS 100H, Effective Speech (GWS), Louis J. Campbell, TR, 9:25 - 10:40 AM
  • English 30T, Freshman Composition (GWS), Megan B. Simpson, TR, 10:50 AM - 12:05 PM
  • Psychology 100H, Introduction to Psychology (GS), Robert Matchock, TR at 1:15 - 2:30 PM

Spring 2009 semester

  • Economics 002H, Microeconomic analysis (GS), Mark Agee, TR, 5:30 - 6:45 AM

Fall 2008 semester

  • Psychology 100H, Introduction to Psychology (GS), Robert Matchock, TR 2:40 - 3:55
  • CAS 100H, Effective Speech (GWS), Louis Campbell, TR 9:25 - 10:40 AM
  • English 30T, English Composition (GWS), Laura Rotunno, MWF 12:00 - 12:50

Spring 2008 semester

  • Psychology 100H, Introduction to Psychology (GS), Robert Matchock, MWF 10:00 - 10:50
  • Economics 004H, Macroeconomic analysis (GS), Rajeev Sooreea, MWF 3:00 - 3:50
  • American Studies 100U, Introduction to American Studies (GH and US), Sandy Petrulionis, TR 1:15 - 2:30

Fall 2007 semester

  • Phys 001H, The Science of Physics (GN), Gary Weisel, MWF, 11:00 - 11:50 AM
  • CAS 100H, Effective Speech (GWS), Louis Campbell, TR, 09:25 10: 40 AM
  • English 30T, Freshman Composition (GWS), Ian Marshall, TR 10:50 - 12:05