Fall 2013 Courses


17 classes in the Fall schedule are designated as "honors" sections. These are highly recommended for students of outstanding academic ability who welcome an intellectual challenge, especially those who aspire to graduate from Calvin College with honors. Honors classes are open to all students who have been admitted to the Calvin Honors Program, or earned a Calvin GPA of at least 3.3, or have the approval of the instructor.

Honors classes differ from regular classes in various ways, especially in devoting less time to elementary skills and information while stressing personal initiative and greater depth of learning. Apart from their intellectual value, the benefits of honors courses include smaller than average classes, greater freedom of exploration, opportunity to work with other honors students and some of Calvin's best teachers, and credit toward graduation with honors.


The Honors Program offers an exciting option during the fall semester: honors cluster courses. These clusters draw two core classes together around a common theme and offer a number of benefits:

• classes are integrated, allowing you to study core subjects in a more holistic and unified way;

• classes are capped at 20 students, so you’ll be able to get lots of attention from some of Calvin’s best professors and to form friendships with the same students in two classes;

• you’ll complete two core requirements AND two courses towards graduating with honors.


PRE-REGISTRATION OPTION: If you wish to secure a place in one of these classes, we will accept pre-registrations for any honors course by e-mail until Monday, April 22. Send requests to rjf24@calvin.edu -- please include your student number and current major. We will confirm when you have been pre-registered in an honors course. After the 22nd you will only be able to register for honors courses that still have room.



 ART & HISTORY cluster: History, Art, and Culture in the Pre-modern World

        ARTH 101 BH: “Introduction to the History of Art I,” TTh 10:30 a.m.-12:20p.m., Prof. Craig Hanson; 4 credit hours.

HIST 151 CH: “History of the West & the World I,” MW 11:30 a.m. – 1:20 p.m., Prof. Young Kim; 4 credit hours.

This cluster will offer a broad but detailed survey of human history, art, and culture from the prehistoric period and dawn of civilizations through the classical and medieval periods, up to about 1500 A.D. Much of our attention will be focused on the landmass of Eurasia, stretching from the Mediterranean to the Pacific, with a particular emphasis on the emergence and development of unique cultural traditions and the interactions that took place among the great societies of the pre-modern world. Students will faithfully attend lectures, engage in intense classroom discussions, compose focused response papers on primary source readings, and write exams to fulfill the requirements for this cluster. Enrollment in these two courses is limited to 20 students. ARTH 101 satisfies the core requirement in The Arts. HIST 151 satisfies the core requirement in the History of the West and the World.  

BIOLOGY & CHEMISTRY cluster  (reserved for first-year honors students)


      BIOL 123 H-HA: “Honors Colloquium – Living World,” Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m., Prof. David Dornbos; 4 credit hours for Biology 123.

      CHEM 103 H-HA: “Honors Colloquium – General Chemistry,” Tuesday 12:30 p.m.-1:20p.m., Prof. David Benson; 4 credit hours for Chemistry 103.

      CHEM 105 H-HA: “Honors Colloquium – Chemical Principles,” Tuesday 12:30 p.m.- 1:20p.m., Prof. David Benson; 4 credit hours for Chemistry 105.

Students can either enroll individually in Biology 123H or Chemistry 103/105H, or both.  Students in these courses will engage in literature review and aquatic research on the Calvin campus. Chemical attributes of water quality (pH, dissolved oxygen, and ion content) have been assessed by chemistry students for the past fourteen years in four diverse ponds on the Calvin campus. In these linked classes, chemistry students will conduct field research to continue the collection of pond water data and biology students will initiate the collection of data to assess the diversity and quality of biological life. Review of the scientific literature is instrumental to guiding the data collection process and interpretation of results. Student research groups will produce posters summarizing research results for presentation at the Calvin Environmental Assessment Program (CEAP) fall meeting at minimum. Goals of these linked courses are to prepare students for faculty guided research that is distinctly interdisciplinary in scope and to connect academic knowledge with real-world practical application. To receive an honors grade in any of these courses, a student must participate in the extra weekly honors session and earn a grade of B (3.0) or better in the regular lecture and lab course component. Biology 123 satisfies a core requirement in the Living World category. Chemistry 103 and 105 satisfy a core requirement in the Physical World category.



POLS 101 BH: “Honors American Politics,” MWF, 10:30 a.m.– 11:20 a.m., Prof. Kevin den Dulk; 3 credit hours for Political Science 101.

CAS 101 BH: “Honors Oral Rhetoric,” TTh, 1:30 p.m.– 2:45 p.m., Prof. Garth Pauley; 3 credit hours for Communications Arts and Sciences 101.

Ever wonder why our discussions about politics and policy issues in the United States seem so polarized and frustrating? Are there ways of speaking about public problems and controversies -- marriage, environmental protection, taxes, education funding, and so on -- that would foster better understanding and perhaps even solutions? In the POLS 101/CAS 101 cluster we ask these sort of questions. Students will be introduced to the institutions and values underlying the political process in the United States, often in comparison to other countries. At the same time, they will explore innovative ways of framing and deliberating about key issues in public life.



SOC 151 CH: “Honors Sociological Principles and Perspectives,” M, 2:30 p.m.– 5:20p.m., Prof. Roman Williams, 3 credit hours for Sociology 151.

CAS 145 BH: “Introduction to Film and Media,” TTh, 1:30 p.m. – 2:45p.m., Prof. Carl Plantinga, 3 credit hours for Communications Arts and Sciences 145.

CAS 145L A/BH, W, 6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Staff 

Film and television are arguably the most powerful contemporary media for storytelling. Likewise, these media have much to say about American culture and society. This honors cluster opens an interdisciplinary conversation between film/media and sociology by examining film and media through the lens of human social activity, and by exploring sociology in, through, and with film. Students will hone their critical thinking skills as they learn to apply the combined tools of sociology and film/media studies to the taken-for-granted mediascape of their everyday lives. Students will also gain an understanding of the “language of film” and its persuasive power, and use this knowledge to explore the cultural importance of storytelling. Likewise, seminar participants will become familiar with the grammar of sociology and the myriad ways our individual and collective stories are shaped by social and cultural forces such as such as race, class, and gender. Our common task of examining film, media, and society will involve viewing and thinking critically about feature-length films and television episodes.


STAND-ALONE HONORS CLASSES (open to all honors students)

HONORS BUSINESS: “Business Foundations” (Business 160 AH, 9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with Prof. J. Risner; 3 credit hours). A survey introduction to business in its economic and global contexts and its functional areas (including accounting, finance, human resources management, marketing, and operations), with reflection on the roles of the legal, moral, ethical, and social responsibilities of business in society. The course emphasizes an integrated Christian view of business, considering its societal context, disciplines, and the role of management, and allows students to grow in their ability to think critically and analytically. Students will complete various assessment tests and evaluations to help them in determining what career path(s) they may want to pursue, whether in business or another area of concentration. The honors section will include additional experiential learning opportunities and team assignments involving functional and cross-functional areas of an organization. Enrollment in honors BUS 160 is limited to 20 students. Business 160 is a requirement in all Business majors and minors. 

HONORS CHEMISTRY: “Organic Chemistry Honors Recitation” (Chemistry 261 H-HA, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday with Prof. Chad Tatko; 5 credit hours for Chemistry 261). Students who register for the honors recitation in Chemistry 261 will meet approximately every other week in addition to their regular lecture and laboratory sections. While there will be no special tests or quizzes associated with this meeting, a written assignment will be collected at each session. These assignments are designed to stimulate greater discussion and deeper understanding of topics addressed in the lecture portion of the course. This will be accomplished while introducing students to both the chemical literature and the industry-standard chemical drawing program. To receive an honors grade, a student must participate in the honors colloquium at a satisfactory level (as determined by both attendance and prepared assignments) and earn a grade of B or better in the lecture and lab portions of the course. Students must register for a regular lecture section of Chemistry 261, the honors recitation (261 H-HA), and a lab. Enrollment in Chemistry 261 H-HA is limited to 20 students.

HONORS ECONOMICS: “Microeconomics Honors Colloquium” (Economics 221 H-HA, 3:30 p.m. – 4:20 p.m. on Monday, with Professor Steve McMullen; 3 credit hours for Economics 221). The one-hour-per-week honors colloquium for “Principles of Microeconomics” is taken concurrently with a three-hour section of Economics 221. The honors section will involve readings and discussions on current economic topics (i.e. educational policy, environmental policy, tax policy, health care policy, and economic justice), discussion of those readings, presentations by several economics faculty, and a guided research project on a topic of the student's choice. Enrollment in honors Economics 221 is limited to 20 students. Economics 221 meets a core requirement in Societal Structures in North America.

HONORS ENGLISH: “Written Rhetoric” (English 101 LH, 8:35 - 9:50 on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Prof. Karen Saupe; 3 credit hours). Like most sections of English 101, this course emphasizes written rhetoric and carries a similar work load. Unlike some sections, we will spend relatively little time on grammar and punctuation; students who enroll in this section should already be able to produce writing free of significant surface errors. We will focus instead on process, content, structure, and style. Using a book called Why We Do What We Do by Deci and Ryan, we will also explore the concept of intrinsic motivation, considering how one's attitude and performance are affected by internal factors like passion or curiosity vs. external factors like grades, fear of punishment, or payment. This course meets the core requirement in Written Rhetoric. Enrollment in honors English 101 is limited to 17 students; honors English 101 will also be offered in the Spring.

HONORS ENGLISH: “Literature in a Global Context” (English 200 AH, 8:35 – 9:50 on Tuesday and Thursday with Prof. Roy Anker; 3 credit hours). This honors section of English 200, Literature in a Global Context, focuses on the profound human tension between the sometimes dire experience of loss and exile and the persistent and profound human yearning for some sort of home. The course tracks this thematic tension from the Hebrews (Genesis) and the Greeks (The Odyssey and Oedipus the King) to European literature from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries to examine the effects of modernity on notions of exile and home (Swift, Wordsworth, Tolstoy, Flaubert, Kafka, among others). The last weeks turn to the literature of Africa (Achebe and Paton) and then conclude with American filmmaker Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (2011). It is a bracing journey that goes a very long way to define one of the deepest currents of what it means to be a creature in this much loved but still very broken world. The course relies on class discussion, several short essays, and two exams. This course meets a core requirement in “Literature” and the Global Literature requirement in the Literature major. Enrollment in honors English 200 is limited to 25 students.  

 HONORS ENGLISH: “Understanding Literature" (English 230 CH, from 8:35 - 9:50 on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Prof. Gary Schmidt; 3 credit hours). This course involves a study of selected literary works from all genres with an emphasis on fundamental elements of literature and methods of reading. We'll read both classic and contemporary writers, and we'll consider ways in which writers from Sophocles to Peter Shaffer, from Shakespeare to Neil Gaiman have responded to life with their art. Student requirements include active participation in class discussions and group activities, four critical essays, and a final project. This course meets a core requirement in “Literature” and an elective requirement in the English major. Enrollment in honors English 230 is limited to 25 students.

HONORS MATHEMATICS: "Calculus II" (Mathematics 172 BH, 11:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday with Prof. Todd Kapitula; 4 credit hours). The honors section of Mathematics 172, like regular sections, will meet four times each week for classroom lectures and computer laboratories. The honors class will use the same textbook as the other sections and will cover all the standard calculus topics. The section is intended for students who have had a full year of AP calculus in high school and who want to build on that foundation to achieve a deep understanding of calculus. Those who register for this section should normally have earned at least a 3 on the AB or BC calculus AP exam. The honors section will be distinguished from other sections of Mathematics 172 in focusing more on understanding mathematical concepts and less on doing routine computations. Enrollment in honors Mathematics 172 is limited to 20 students.

HONORS MATHEMATICS: First-year students may earn honors credit by completing Mathematics 171, 172, 231, 256, or 261 while concurrently participating in Mathematics 190, the "First-Year Seminar in Mathematics." Simply register for an appropriate mathematics course and Mathematics 190 A, Wednesday from 3:30 p.m.– 5:00 p.m.

HONORS PHYSICS: To obtain honors credit in any physics or astronomy course, a student can arrange a contract with the course instructor regarding a special project. Alternatively, a student in an introductory-level physics course (up through Physics 235) or in a 100 - 200 level astronomy course may earn honors in that course by concurrently taking the Physics/Astronomy Student Seminar (Physics 195 A, Tuesday from 3:45 p.m. - 4:55 p.m. with Prof. Paul Harper) and completing its requirements. A student must earn a grade of B or better in a course to receive honors designation for that course.

HONORS PHILOSOPHY: "Fundamental Questions in Philosophy" (Philosophy 153 GH, 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday with Prof. Kevin Corcoran; 3 credit hours). Like regular sections of introductory philosophy, the honors philosophy course is designed to facilitate philosophical reflection and develop fundamental reasoning, reading, and writing skills. The course uses contemporary essays and traditional texts by some of the most important philosophers. The honors class is designed to encourage student participation in formulating and evaluating arguments, and in writing critical essays that will sharpen analytical and hermeneutical abilities. Enrollment in honors Philosophy 153 is limited to 20 students. Honors Philosophy 153 will also be available in the Spring. This course meets the core requirement in Philosophical Foundations.

HONORS PSYCHOLOGY: "Introductory Psychology" (Psychology 151 CH, 9:00 a.m. - 9:50 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with Prof. Don Tellinghuisen; 3 credit hours). The honors section of Introductory Psychology is similar to the regular sections in content and overall course requirements. However, the honors section provides greater opportunities for class discussion of critical issues, independent writing projects, and supplementary readings on topics of special interest. The course focuses on relationships among our general understandings of the meanings of human personhood, especially understandings shaped by Christian faith; methods of investigation and practice in psychology; and major areas of psychological theory and research (e.g. brain processes, learning and memory, memory, thought and language, development, psychopathology, social psychology, and psychotherapy). Enrollment in honors Psychology 151 is limited to 20 students. This course meets a core requirement in the "Persons in Community" category.


HONORS RELIGION: qualified students may earn honors credit in Religion 121 (Biblical Literature and Theology), Religion 131 (Christian Theology), and intermediate and advanced courses by completing the requirements of an "honors track" in those courses. The honors track for REL 121 and REL 131 consists of: 1) a research/thesis paper (in place of the regular major writing assignment in the course); 2) a four-page review of a book relevant to the subject matter of the course; 3) meetings with the professor several times during the semester to plan and discuss the honors work; and 4) an overall grade of B+ or higher in the course. In intermediate and advanced courses the "honors track" includes a special research/thesis paper (in place of the regular course paper), supplementary reading, meeting with the professor, and at least a B+ overall in the course. The specific requirements will be worked out in consultation with the professor. Interested students should inform a professor early in the semester of their intention to complete an honors track in the course; no special registration is needed.

HONORS SPANISH: “Advanced Grammar, Composition and Conversation I (Spanish 301 AH, 8:00 a.m. -8:50 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with Prof. María Rodríguez; 3 credit hours). Like the regular sections of Spanish 301, this honors section will focus on the improvement of reading, speaking and writing skills with special emphasis on narration in the past tenses. Unlike the regular sections, the honors class will fulfill the required engagement with the Hispanic community by completing a short oral history project. Students will meet with someone who was raised in the Hispanic world but is currently living in Grand Rapids, and they will learn about some of that person’s life experiences. These conversations will then become the basis of a short oral presentation and two written compositions. This course meets a core requirement in foreign language, is the gateway to the Spanish minor and major, and must be completed by all students before they can participate in any of the advanced semester programs in Honduras, Peru or Spain.