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Honors Program readies latest course offerings

March 25, 2015

The UW-River Falls Honors Program will have a new set of topics for the Fall 2015 Freshman Honors Seminar, according to a post in the “Falcon Daily” electronic newsletter.

Director of the Falcon Scholars and Honors Program Kathleen Hunzer said that when selecting course subjects, she looks for topics that will be interesting to a variety of students.

“When I choose them, I try to select one from the sciences, one from the humanities and one from more of the social sciences so that we embrace a variety of differences across campus,” Hunzer said.

Hunzer accepted proposals via email until March 23. After reading them and deciding on course topics, she will contact the instructors, who will decide whether to offer the topics and when. The topics and meeting times will be announced and available on eSIS in time for advising for next semester. The courses must be approved by the chairs of the necessary departments, but any academic staff member can teach them.

The current course topics for the Spring 2015 semester are “Finding Bigfoot,” “The Tao of Personal Leadership” and “Myth, Folklore and Legend.” In the past, course topics have covered “The Hunger Games,” controversial issues and topics, literary utopias, the films of Stanley Kubrick, cold cases and freedom of speech in America.

The course will be worth one credit and meet for 50 minutes each week. Completing one section of the course is required for students in the Honors Program, but the course is not limited exclusively to first-year students. Students in the program can take as many topics of the course as desired.

“They’re really designed to get students interested in different topics,” Hunzer said.

UWRF sophomore Resident Assistant Ellie Kriese is enrolled in the Honors Program. She took a section of the course that focused on Irish studies during her freshman year.

“We went from basically the very beginning of where the Irish civilization started up to modern day, and we kind of just learned about different political events that went on and we went through different literature and movies,” Kriese said.

Kriese said that she would be interested in taking a second topic of the course even though it is not required to complete the program.

This is Hunzer’s first year as director of the Falcon Scholars and Honors Program. She said that she wants to make the Honors Program focused on competency instead of courses. This would focus less on a course being called “Honors Service Learning” and more on how the students engage with the community.

“I think that we’re very fortunate to have this because this is what I focus on,” Hunzer said. “I’m not as restricted as other people who have had this job.”

The Honors Program currently has approximately 220 students enrolled, and half of them joined the program this year.

“I think it’s important to know that the Honors Program on campus has a lot of support behind it now,” Hunzer said. “The administration has recognized the value of having a strong Honors Program, not only for our current students but also for recruitment.”