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Fall 2019 Courses

honors college curriculum

The Honors College curriculum is made up of innovative courses that give students the opportunity to embrace hands-on learning. Many Honors curriculum classes are taught by Honors Faculty and are aimed to address critical real-world problems.

Dr. Velez |
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:30 – 3:45PM
Media Building 204 | 3 credits | 89480

As the Earth’s climate changes, the risk of human-related and natural disasters is on the rise. In this course, we will focus on understanding the complex systems involved in natural disasters by investigating disaster incidents and response systems in the United States. We will –

  • examine how weather patterns and associated disasters have increased in intensity;
  • study ecological and human dimensions of preparation and response;
  • analyze the interconnected policy, economic, and governance issues involved;
  • study public perception of risk and response and depictions of disaster in popular culture;
  • analyze relationships between human behavior and risks associated with wildfire disaster incidents;
  • and work in groups across disciplines to create iterative, integrated, concrete alternatives for preparedness and mitigation solutions with a community partner.

Dr. Lewis |
Monday/Wednesday, 2:30 – 3:45 PM
Media Building 206 | 3 credits | 89482

We each encounter elderly individuals on a regular basis in different ways, but how often do we think about the type and quality of care they receive in emergency or natural disaster situations? When natural disasters hit, often breakdowns in infrastructure or communication can result in a gap in addressing acute and continuous care for those who need it most. How do you navigate transportation of an elderly individual who has fallen in their home when an entire county is without power and roads are blocked due to high water levels and debris? In an age where data abounds, how might we tap into that resource to determine the potential care needs of our elderly population in times of crisis? This course will ask you to explore data from Medicare claims curated by Dr. Laura Sands and the Center for Gerontology to postulate the medical needs of elderly adults. You will learn about data, how to use data, and how to draw conclusions from data as a team. The project will allow you to engage in the decision-making and research processes while working with a client. Potential questions to be answered in this studio include –

  • How do I work with a client to assess health data?
  • How do I develop a research study?
  • What is the national state of geriatric health for adults?
  • Is health care efficient and effective at meeting the health needs of elderly adults?
  • How does resiliency influence healthcare outcomes for elderly adults after exposure to natural disasters?

Dr. Banks-Hunt |
Tuesday/Thursday, 2:00 – 3:15 PM
Media Building 205 | 3 credits | 90925

The market for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) for delivery services has many eager to reap the benefits of such technology.  In this course, we will focus on the “drone-age” of delivery solutions, examining potential benefits and pitfalls of this developing technology as we consider uses in business as well as civil society. We will become design thinkers tasked with investigating, innovating, and delivering practical solutions. We will –

  • explore everyday consumers’ needs for delivery drones
  • prototype drone delivery baskets
  • code delivery logistics, and
  • collaborate with newcomers, enthusiasts, and experts in our community and beyond.

No previous knowledge of drones, logic design, coding, or prototyping is required.

Prof. Camacho |
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:30 – 3:45
McBryde 210 | 3 credits | 89483

This studio class uses the framework of political economy to study disruptions in the financial arena. We start with what has arguably been the most disruptive innovation: money (which, amongst other things, makes the world go ‘round, cannot buy love, and is the root of all evil). Our discussion here focuses on the precursors to money (including debt), its creation, and the effects it has on society. We then turn our attention to the topic of finance, and how it shapes society. Central to our analysis is a focus on the institutions (e.g. commercial banks, markets, central banks, regulatory agencies) that have developed to facilitate financial transactions. We then study topics such as the proliferation of finance (“financialization”), the disruptions that occur when technology firms enter the financial industry (“fintech”), and what happens when it all goes wrong and catastrophe ensues (financial crisis). Special attention will be paid to the regulatory and policy arenas, with an emphasis on central bank policy. Working collaboratively in small groups, students will identify and solve the “big questions” that lie at the nexus of finance, technology, and society. Examples of these questions include

  • Does finance play too large of a role in our society?
  • How can regulators keep up with the frenetic pace of innovation in the financial industry, and should they even try?
  • Does the US need a “monetary constitution”? If so, write it!

Dr. Benoit |
Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:00-2:15
Hillcrest 132 | 3 credits | 89477

The American health care system is the best money can buy. Will rationing be necessary to meet financial limitations? Will it be necessary to use a "God committee" to make the hard choices in research objectives and the management of health care delivery? Ethical dilemmas regarding end of life decisions, reproductive choices, cloning, and genetic manipulation will be discussed. Various professional codes will be used during the examination of ethical violations of the following: applied and basic research, publication misconduct, animal rights, and human consent rules. Ethical principles will be used to discuss the obligations of community members in a research university environment, as well as the greater, more complex world. 

Giles County Head Start Centers
Prof. Grohs
Courtney Grohs

Individual sections of this course work in Head Start centers in Narrows and Pearisburg one day a week, Monday-Friday, 8am-12pm.  All sections of this course meet on Wednesday from 5:30-6:30 PM in Randolph 209.


89475 – Mondays at Head Start

89476 – Tuesdays at Head Start

89472 – Wednesdays at Head Start

89474 – Thursdays at Head Start

89473 – Fridays at Head Start

The Honors College partners with Giles County Head Start to provide a service-learning experience which allows students to deepen their understanding of the region in which they live. Students meet critical community needs while learning to connect the personal and the intellectual, thus expanding their understanding the world, building critical thinking capacities, and fostering a commitment to improve learning and society.  Every weekday, students volunteer in two Head Start centers to support instruction, thereby engaging with the local community and witnessing first-hand the issues and barriers faced by Head Start children and families, while also identifying the commonalities shared by people of all backgrounds.  Students also participate in a one-hour course each week to reflect on the experience and discuss concepts such as early childhood development, culture, education, citizenship, service, and social change.

reading seminars

UH 2124: Honors Reading Seminars are an enjoyable, low-pressure way to earn Honors credit.  

These courses are excellent places to improve your reading and public speaking abilities. They allow students to study and discuss books of their choice; they meet for 50 minutes once a week, are limited to 12 participants, and they are graded on a Pass/Fail basis.  Reading seminar participants earn 1 Pass/Fail honors credit for each reading seminar taken. 

departmental honors courses

Departmental Honors courses are taught and offered by academic departments across the university. These courses end with an “H” and are found in the course registration system within specific subjects. A departmental honors course is generally much smaller than non-honors sections of the same course and may be taught in unique ways.

The following Departmental Honors Courses will be offered Fall 2019:

  • CHEM 1055H Honors General Chemistry
  • ECON 2025H Honors Principles of Economics
  • ENGL 3734H Community Writing
  • ENGL 3744H Writing Center Theory and Practice
  • MATH 2114H Introduction to Linear Algebra
  • MATH 2204H Intro Multivariable Calculus
  • MATH 2214H Intro Diff Equations
  • MATH 2405H Math in Computational Context [Open to students who enter VT with credit for 8 hours of calculus at the level of Math 1225-1226 (for example, by a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus BC exam).]
  • MKTG 3104H Marketing Management
  • RLCL 1034H Religion and the Modern World
  • RLCL 1904H Religion and Culture in Asia