Course Catalog Information
Interdisciplinary Topics in the Human Sciences: The Nature of Humans - Honors/Writing Intensive
This course investigates the dynamic qualities of human experience in psychological, social, and environmental context with a focus on contemporary global issues. Course topics vary by semester but will bridge the social and behavioral sciences to address an overarching question: What makes us human? We will explore the social and behavioral factors that shape our shared human condition as well as those that contribute to diversity in the human experience. We will then investigate the complexities of what it means to be human within the globally interconnected societies we live in today. How do we deal creatively with human diversity in addressing the global problems and uncertainties that confront us? What attitudes, practices, and projects might help us manage global uncertainties and opportunities more effectively? What is your role in the global community of the twenty-first century? In exploring these questions through intensive reading, writing, research, and discussion, this course will help you develop a global consciousness that is sensitive to the lived textures and realities of places and peoples around the world. This course satisfies three credit hours of general education requirements in the behavioral and social sciences and is part of the Honors College's Interdisciplinary Topics in the Human Sciences series. Graded on A-F basis only.
Honors eligibility required.
Tenured Associate Professor
7 Stewart Hall
Yes, in the last five years
The Campus Writing Program conducts a two-day faculty workshop to assist with the design and implementation of your writing intensive course. Once your course proposal has been approved by the Campus Writing Program, you will receive information on time, date and location of the workshop.
Indicate below if additional instructors are planned, but specific individuals have not yet been chosen. Check all that apply
Honors Course Information
The Honors College at the University of Missouri provides honors students with coursework exemplifying the ideals of higher education and focused on the value of critical thinking, the love of learning, and a commitment to interdisciplinary approaches. To that end, the Honors College has identified four goals to guide the development and delivery of honors courses. The following list describes how this course addresses each of these goals.
1. Critical Thinking: This course is designed to strengthen and sharpen your critical thinking by inviting you to integrate your own genealogy, life experiences, and personal and professional goals within the intellectual frameworks of place-based and cosmopolitan philosophies as these are expressed in different traditions, from Indigenous and Greek thought to Enlightenment and contemporary Western scholarship. In so doing, you will learn the skills involved in synopsizing, critiquing, and synthesizing scholarly literature in the social and behavioral sciences.
2. Effective Communication: GN_HON 3242 is a Writing Intensive (WI) course that uses the methods of peer review, instructor feedback, the process of revision, and oral presentations to help you write a series of essays that engage course themes and compose a final paper that articulates, for your own personal and professional life, what it means to be a global citizen and the responsibilities and obligations such citizenship entails.
3. A Community of Thinkers: This course depends on your active intellectual engagement and commitment to our collective educational growth. As thinkers who no doubt will differ in our perspectives and goals, we also share the values of inquiry intrinsic to a liberal arts education. You will routinely be asked to share your interpretations and questions regarding global citizenship with others in this class, and to help others develop their own critical perspective on global citizenship. We will also have a number of guest speakers from campus and the community join and engage us in our community of thought.
4. Nurturing Creative Potential: This course will help you develop the creative potential of your professional and personal life potential by using critical thinking and communication skills to identify and operationalize your future goals in education, career, service, and the “good life.”
Answer the questions below as they would apply to one section. For all other sections, provide similar information in the Additional Sections Information box below.
Geological Sciences Bldg 107
Five reaction papers
Two takehome assignments
Two times leading discussion
Writing Intensive Course Information
GN_HON 3242 Interdisciplinary Topics in the Human Sciences: The Nature of Humans is part of a new upper-division series of courses in the Honors College that invites students to investigate the dynamic qualities of human experience in psychological, social, and environmental context with a focus on contemporary global issues. Course topics vary by semester but will bridge the social and behavioral sciences to address an overarching question: What makes us human? The course explores the social and behavioral factors that shape the human condition as well as those that contribute to diversity in the human experience. It then investigates the complexities of what it means to be human within the globally interconnected societies we live in today. How do we deal creatively with human diversity to address the global problems and uncertainties that confront us? What attitudes, practices, and projects might help us manage global uncertainties and opportunities effectively? What is your role in the global community of the twenty-first century? In exploring these questions through intensive reading, writing, research, and discussion, this course will help students develop a global consciousness that is sensitive to the lived textures and realities of places and peoples around the world. In the version of the course for which I am seeking Writing Intensive designation, I will be working with honors students to explore the relationship between place and globalization within the framework of place-based (Indigenous) and cosmopolitan philosophies. Our focus will be on Indigenous societies around the world whose members are negotiating their own political sovereignty, cultural traditions, and individual identities amidst the forces of globalization--all while caring for the lands and places they have occupied for countless generations. This framework will allow us to consider the psychological, social, and cultural dimensions of the human experience of globalization while attending to the different "natures" (local environments) that factor into that experience and make it meaningful. The writing component for this course is designed to help students engage the same kind of negotiations Indigenous communities are facing by writing about their own relationships to place and community as a global citizen of the twenty-first century. Through a series of seminar discussions, students will engage and critique place-based (Indigenous) philosophies as well as contemporary versions of cosmopolitan thought. This reading will prepare the students for their final paper assignment as it unfolds over the course of the semester.
The components and sequencing of the writing project remains the same, including the starter drafts and the in-class peer review workshops. Those worked very well last year and students reported that it was a productive learning experience. The biggest change is that students now get to "tailor" the focus of their writing project. I tried this out last year and it worked well. Those students who wish to follow the standard prompt for the writing project still may do so, but I was impressed by the sophistication of the topics students came up with last year, and how invested they were in their topics (and therefore, the writing process).
Nine reaction papers was too much last time, so I have reduced that number to five and coordinated those papers more directly with the books we discuss throughout the semester. The assignments remain the same.
Should this course be considered for funding?
Large Enrollment Courses:
(1) A personal essay of five pages (1,650 words) entitled "Who You Are Is Where You Are" in which students describe "where" they come from, including their genealogy and the lifescapes of their ancestors; their sense of home, place, and world; and how the communities and contexts of their upbringing shaped their behavior, thinking, and values. In the early part of the semester, students will begin this portfolio through a series of reflective writing assignments. Students will share these personal essays with the class, both for feedback and to build a sense of comradely with their peers. Students will conduct their own genealogy research as part of the course requirements, with assistance from the instructor. The personal essay is designed to help students learn how to use writing to stimulate and shape the process of personal reflection, and how sharing written reflection with peers sharpens one's understanding of oneself and others.
Length of assignment:
(2) A critical essay of twelve pages (3,960 words) that involves two sections, which will be submitted together for review by peers and professor, revised, and resubmitted for a second review by the professor. Students will revise their drafts based on this feedback and prepare a final version for inclusion in the final paper. A synopsis and critique of place-based (Indigenous) and cosmopolitan philosophies based on the assigned readings. A synthesis that bridges place-based (Indigenous) and cosmopolitan philosophies and that builds on the synopsis and critique in the previous section. The critical essay is designed to help students learn how to use the writing process to move through the stages of critical interpretation of literature: synopsis, critique, and synthesis. A pair of reaction papers will assist students in this process, effectively serving as "starter drafts" for the components of their critical essay.
Length of assignment:
(3) A position paper of five pages (1,650 words) that builds on the synthesis in the previous section to articulates, for one's own personal and professional life, means to be a global citizen and the responsibilities and obligations such citizenship entails. Students will submit a draft of this section for peer review in an in-class writing workshop as well as a separate review by the instructor. Students will revise their drafts based on this feedback and prepare a final version for inclusion in the final paper. Students will share and defend their plans for global citizenship in the final exam period of the course. The position paper is designed to help students learn how to use writing to integrate personal reflection with critical interpretation of literature and other media (e.g., film, presentations) to build a platform for one's own values and a plan for life purpose in global context.
Length of assignment:
(4) An introduction of one page maximum (330 words) that provides an orientation to the problems of global citizenship and orients the reader to the contents of the final portfolio and paper. Students will submit a draft of the introduction for review by the instructor. Students will revise their drafts based on this feedback and prepare a final version for inclusion in the final paper. The introduction, which will be written last, is designed to help students learn the art of writing a concise introduction that summarizes complex material and provides readers with a clear orientation or path through the document. At this stage, students will also write two transition passages: the first passage will serve as a transition from the personal essay to the critical essay; the second will transition from the critical essay to the position paper.
Length of assignment:
Writing Intensive Teaching
Instructor provided feedback
Oral presentation by student, followed by feedback
Students will receive feedback on their work from the instructor and in small peer-group workshops. In the workshops, three students working together as a review group will review drafts of three components of the final paper at different points in the semester. Each of these three class periods will be devoted entirely to workshopping their drafts. Students will be prepped on workshop protocol and revision technique in the week before the first workshop, and they will consult The Elements of Style (required for the class) during their review of drafts. During the workshop, the instructor will circulate among the groups to help students deliver and receive feedback on their work. The workshops will incorporate oral presentation as the student will explain and ask questions of other students about their writing. Students will also make two oral presentations (of approximately five minutes each) to receive feedback on the personal essay component of the final paper. In addition to the workshops and oral presentations, the instructor will read and comment on all drafts prior to the final product. Students will then be assessed on how well they incorporate student and instructor feedback into the final draft of their completed paper.
The entire framework of the final paper is based on a question that has more than one acceptable interpretation - the meaning of global citizenship in the 21st century and the responsibilities and obligations such citizenship entails in one's own personal and professional life. The personal essay will help students learn how to refine and sharpen their own understanding of the problem whereas the critical essay will help them learn to critique and synthesize relevant literature to build a solid platform for the position paper on global citizenship. In each element, personal essay, critical essay, and position paper, there is a wide latitude for response and interpretation. The seminar discussions, in-class workshops, ongoing instructor feedback on reactions papers, and presentations by other faculty are part of a broader strategy to provide students with the materials, skills, and confidence to deal with the uncertainty and openness they will invariably confront in writing a sustained, well-informed interpretation of global citizenship that leads to a platform for one's own personal and professional life.
The course begins with two reaction papers designed to "free the pens" of students for thinking about the course content. These reaction papers will also give the instructor an opportunity to survey the students' writing capabilities and offer preliminary feedback. The remaining reaction papers will be due periodically during the course of the semester to support themes from reading and discussion. The "Who You Are Is Where You Are" essay is the "starter draft" for the personal essay, and it is due at the beginning of the third week of class. The instructor will review and critique these essays for content and style, offering more substantive guidance for concise, vigorous writing. We then move into the peer writing workshops. The class will be organized into writing groups of three students each. Students will provide drafts of sections from the final paper to the other two members of their peer group, and will have one week to read and comment on the drafts they receive from their peers before participating in the workshop the following week. The draft of the first section is due in week four; the draft of the second section is due in week eight; and the draft of the third section is due in week eleven. The draft for the introduction and transition sections is due in week fourteen and will be reviewed and edited by the instructor only. The final paper is due on the day of the final exam.