newmovie night  (posted 27 Mar 2012)

newweek 11 & 13  (posted 29 Mar 2012)


It is not so very important for a person to learn facts. For that he does not really need a college. He can learn them from books. The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.

(Albert Einstein, 1921, in response to Thomas Edison’s opinion that a college education is useless)

 

Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.

(G. K. Chesterton)

 

In much wisdom is much vexation, and those who increase knowledge increase in sorrow.

(Ecclesiastes 1.18)

 

Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

(Anonymous)

 

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

(William Butler Yeats)

 

You must unlearn what you have learned.

(Yoda [Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back])

 

The unexamined life is not worth living.

(Socrates [Plato, Apology, 38a])


ΕΝ ΟΙΔΑ ΟΤΙ ΟΥΔΕΝ ΟΙΔΑ.
(Ἓν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα.)

(Socrates)

 

Westminster College 

Westminster homepage

 HON 201: Honors Seminar

Spring Semester • 2012 

 

 Welcome!

Welcome back to campus and to the Honors Seminar, a course required of sophomore Honors Scholars in the All-College Honors Program!

 

Fulfilling two semester hours, the Honors Seminar is a gateway course to the research component of the Honors Program. More specifically, our goals will be:

to provide a sense of community among Honors Scholars as they prepare for independent research with

to provide the opportunity for senior and junior Honors Scholars to mentor sophomores toward their research and writing

to cultivate active engagement in co-curricular lectures on campus and through leading discussions

to promote participation in the honor society Omicron Kappa Sigma through coordinating co-curricular events, planning student meetings, and organizing and presenting Honors forums

Like other components of the Honors Program, the Honors Seminar demands self-motivation and active contribution to group activities, especially class discussions.


Accessibility Statement:

Westminster College actively strives for the full inclusion of all our students. Students with disabilities who require access solutions for environmental or curricular barriers should contact Corey Shaw, Director of Disability Support Services: 209 Thompson-Clark Hall; 724-946-7192; shawcj@westminster.edu.

 Requirements and evaluation for the course

Evaluation

For my criteria for evaluation of assignments go to Evaluation and read the information carefully.

If you have any questions regarding any assignment, please ask in class or make an appointment to see me.

Assigned readings

Assigned readings should be completed before the classes for which they are assigned. Occasionally I may assign additional readings, but these will ordinarily be short. You must come to class ready to engage in discussion and peer critique. The primary focus of the course will be on discussing the assigned readings in class regarding issues of research goals and methods.

Critique
paper

You will submit a critique (2–3 pages) of the movie The Last Samurai (2003) consisting of your critical reflection on the movie with special consideration of (1) the theme of cross-cultural experience and (2) the assumptions and implications of the movie (both explicit and implicit, e.g., How does the movie engage the history of "Western" films dealing with different cultures?)

Incorporate, as much as possible, your reflections on liberal arts education and on themes from Honors Inquiry. Follow the guidelines for Written assignments.


NB: Do not read any reviews of The Last Samurai until after you have submitted your own.

Leading
discussion

Classes will be conducted as seminars. You should prepare for each class as if you will lead—at least start—the discussion.

Each of you will lead a discussion of the assigned reading(s)—see schedule below.

You're expected to have read the text(s) thoroughly and be able to share the penetrating questions or issues you dealt with in your reading, preparation, or even further research. NB: you don't necessarily have to understand everything before class, but you should demonstrate that you prepared (beyond just the assigned text[s]) and that you can discern, and are familiar with, the major issues in the text(s).


To demonstrate your ability (1) to grasp and organize the essential or significant ideas proposed by the readings and (2) your ability to articulate your understanding in a concise, coherent way, provide:

1. brief summaries of the main points or arguments of the readings
2. your critical reflections
on them (e.g., critical insights or questions)


Remember that questions are more valuable than answers. You should include or suggest challenges, discoveries, insights, questions, etc. for class discussion. See my Evaluation page under Presentations for evaluation criteria (ignore "Communication Skills"  section of the evaluation sheet). If you'd like to use "smart" equipment, let me know as soon as possible.

Participation

You are expected to participate actively (1) in class discussions as well as (2) in planning and attending co-curricular activities for the larger campus (including leading or contributin to discussions). Your engagement in the class and in the activities will constitute the major part of your final participation evaluation.

Grades

Grades will be assigned as fairly as possible. See my Evaluation page under Grades for more information. The final grade for the course will consist of the following:

participation (mostly from discussions)

40%

NB: participation is a significant part of this course.

See my Evaluation page under Participation

for more information and instructions.

leading / starting discussion
30%

critique paper

30%

NB: If you have any questions about how you're doing in the course or about the evaluation criteria, please make an appointment to see me.

 Required books

Herrnstein, Richard J. and Charles Murray. The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. New York: Free Press, 1994.

Levitt, Steven D. and Stephen J. Dubner. SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance. New York: William Morrow, 2009.

 Recommended books (* = highly recommended)


Anderson, Walter Truet. Reality Isn't What It Used to Be: Theatrical Politics, Ready-to-Wear Religion, Global Myths, Primitive Chic, and Other Wonders of the Postmodern World. San Francisco: HarperOne, 1992.

* Bloom, Allan. The Closing of the American Mind. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987.

*

Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 3rd ed. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1996.

*

Levitt, Steven E. and Stephen J. Dubner. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. New York: Harper Perennial, 2009.

*

Naugle, David K. Worldview: The History of a Concept. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2002.

*

Percy, Walker. Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book. New York: Picador, 1983.

*

_______. Signposts in a Strange Land. New York: Picador, 1991.

*

Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1979. (See my Resources page under Miscellaneous for the first edition of Strunk.)

 Resources to consider

 

See my Resources page for McGill, AV & Web resources.

 

R-drive: for helpful materials, check not only the course folder.

 Keeping in touch

During the semester check your e-mail regularly for the latest messages from me regarding course matters (e.g., changes in the syllabus). Also visit this page for updates to the syllabus, as well as my homepage for other information and resources related to the course. I will make myself available outside the class time and the office hours. I'll be more than glad to help you out when you're stuck while doing an assignment. Or if you have any questions, concerns, complaints, and even compliments, I will do my best to take the time to listen and offer my response. Please feel free to make an appointment any time about any course matters. Keep in mind that I'm here to help you learn. So, again, welcome to the Honors Seminar!

C o u r s e   S c h e d u l e

R 1540–1710          McGill 202


Date


Assignments

= required

> = recommended

bold = primary focus text for presentation & class discussion

 


Class / topics

red bold = important deadline

 

HON 201: Honors Seminar

Week 1

 

Jan 19 R

Course syllabus (including Evaluation link; review requirements, expectations & criteria for grading—ask Qs, if you have any)

Copy all relevant course webpages to your hard disk or diskette

Fisher: Effective Learning (also in Inquiry 111)

 

>How to Ace College

>Tips for writing papers

>Do you know how to think? (a self-exam)

•Introduction to Honors Seminar

 

Adam and Eve

Context & perspective

 

Week 2

 

Jan 26 R

Inquiry: caves, blind men, and naked emperors
Levitt & Dubner: An Explanatory Note; Introduction; ch. 1

Reading & thinking critically (NB: helpful for reading texts & writing research paper)


•Research and critical interpretation
•How should we read a "text"?

What do you see?

Week 3

 

Feb 2 R

Levitt & Dubner: ch. 2

Movie: The Last Samurai (NB: do not read any reviews until after submitting your own)

>Reading & thinking critically (NB: helpful for reading texts & writing research paper)

Discussion: Baileynew
Research and critical interpretation
How should we read a movie, a movie poster (advertisement), a DVD cover, etc.?

Apr 20 F

Movie night with the Nas 7:46-ish

Feel free to bring DVDs or VHSs of movies you think your classmates should see.
  for directions click here

Week 4

 

Feb 9 R

Levitt & Dubner: ch 3

Movie: The Last Samurai (NB: do not read any reviews until after submitting your own)

>Reading & thinking critically (NB: helpful for reading texts & writing research paper)

>Weep: Higher Education Among the Nacirema

Discussion: Luterannew
•Research and critical interpretation

Week 5

 

Feb 16 R

Levitt & Dubner: ch. 4


>Reading & thinking critically (NB: helpful for reading texts & writing research paper)

Discussion: McKenzie

•Research and critical interpretation

Week 6

 

Feb 23 R

Levitt & Dubner: ch. 5


Reviews of The Last Samurai: e.g., reviews or reviews (NB names of the newspapers); IMDB

>Reading & thinking critically (NB: helpful for reading texts & writing research paper)

Feb 24: Last day for critique paper (Turnitin.com)


Discussion: Luterannew

•Research and critical interpretation

Week 7

 

Mar 1 R


Mar 3–11
(break)

Levitt & Dubner: ch. 6; Epilogue; Bonus Matter

>Reading & thinking critically (NB: helpful for reading texts & writing research paper)

>Tips for writing papers

Discussion: Riemer
•Research and critical interpretation

Week 8

 

Mar 15 R

Herrnstein & Murray: A Note to the Reader; Preface; Introduction; Appendix 7


>Reading & thinking critically (NB: helpful for reading texts & writing research paper)

Discussion: Baileynew
•Research and critical interpretation
•PC?

Week 9

 

Mar 22 R

Herrnstein & Murray: chs. 1–4

>Reading & thinking critically (NB: helpful for reading texts & writing research paper)

Discussion: Totin
•Research and critical interpretation

Week 10

 

Mar 29 R


Apr 5–9
(break)

Herrnstein & Murray: chs. 5–10

>Reading & thinking critically (NB: helpful for reading texts & writing research paper)

Discussion: Steele

•Research and critical interpretation

Week 11


Apr 12 R

Herrnstein & Murray: chs. 11–14

>Reading & thinking critically (NB: helpful for reading texts & writing research paper)

Guest faculty: Prof. Ann Throckmorton (Biology)new

Week 12

 

Apr 19 R

Herrnstein & Murray: chs. 15–18

>Reading & thinking critically (NB: helpful for reading texts & writing research paper)

•Research and critical interpretation: what to do when what you find is not pleasantnew

Apr 20 F

Movie night with the Nas 7:46-ishnew

Feel free to bring DVDs or VHSs of movies you think your classmates should see.
  for directions click here

Week 13

 

Apr 26 R

Herrnstein & Murray: chs. 19–22

>Reading & thinking critically (NB: helpful for reading texts & writing research paper)

Guest faculty: Prof. Hicok (English)new

Week 14

 

May 3 R

Herrnstein & Murray: Afterword; Appendixes 1 & 7 (skim Appendixes 2–6)


>Reading & thinking critically (NB: helpful for reading texts & writing research paper)

•Senior/Junior mentors:
Sam Killmeyer (English)

Casey Schmidt (Molecular Biology)

Cody Trudeau (Political Science)

Final week

 

May 7 M
11:30–14:00

Think about the 2 books and their argument(s). What do you think? Prepare specific references to the book when offering your critique.
Bring your suggestions for future Honors Seminars.

•Final thoughts (Or: Anything and everything you've wanted to ask Prof. Na but were too afraid or busy to ask)

•Quo vadis?

Have a great summer!