Summer Honors Program Course Descriptions

SHP Chemistry LabAll courses offered through the Summer Honors Program are designed to be dynamic, interactive explorations by the students and professor into the course topic.

Classes meet Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and noon and again between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Half the day will be spent in Honors Core and the other half in the discipline-based class chosen by the student. All classes are conducted by IUP faculty members and local professionals.

Honors Core

Required class for all students

In the Interdisciplinary Honors Core Course, all students will tackle some of the most basic and debated questions of human existence, such as, “How do we discern the good from the bad?” or, “What do we know? What do we believe? Is there a difference?” Working with professors from literature, philosophy, history, and the fine arts provides a unique opportunity for a synthesis of ideas. You will be challenged to develop critical thinking skills through the analysis of great scholars’ arguments, group discussions, writing, and group presentations.

Discipline-Based Class Options (continue to check back for updated course descriptions)


Genetic Engineering: Techniques and Application

Covers nucleic acid properties, structure, and functions. The lecture part of the course will cover the principles and techniques of recent developments and findings in recombinant DNA technology. The laboratory component will provide the opportunity to learn and apply hands-on recombinant DNA procedures and the technologies of spectrophotometer analysis of nucleic acids and proteins; restriction enzyme digestion, gel electrophoretic analysis of mutant genes, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis.

Program Prerequisites: High school biology, chemistry or physics

Instructor: Dr. N. Bharathan

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Classical Archaeology

From Pot Sherds to Gladiators: An Intro to Classical Archaeology

How do we know what we know about the past when written records do not exist or are incomplete? Where the written word is silent, archaeology steps to the forefront. Shipwrecks, volcanic eruptions, burials, and discarded items can all provide crucial evidence for understanding the past. An examination of archaeological sites from Egypt (The Great Pyramids), Greece (Atlantis, Parthenon, and Olympic Games), and Rome (Pompeii, gladiators, and urban living) will shed light on the similarities and differences between these ancient cultures and our society today.

Instructor:  Dr. S. Moore

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Constitutional Law

Amend the Constitution!

Whether it is the issue of same-sex marriage, the right of the unborn to enjoy the status of full personhood, or the limits of the executive branch to push the boundaries of civil liberties in a time of national crisis, the United States Supreme Court struggles daily with the need to balance the rights of its collective citizenry against the individual rights of its citizens, as defined by the Constitution. Justices appointed to this task must wrestle daily with the words of our founding document as they define and interpret the cases that come before it.

You will explore the process of judicial review. We will begin with an examination of several very complex and emotional legal issues that threaten to rend the fabric of our national unity. You will investigate a controversial topic from a constitutional and legal perspective. You will also undergo the very process of judicial review that takes place in the U.S. Supreme Court. After researching and developing positions, the course will culminate in a presentation of a brief that interprets the case and sets the precedent for all future litigation surrounding the issue.

Instructors: Dr. D. Chambers and Dr. G Torges

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East Asian Languages

Introduction to Korean Language and Culture through K-POP and K-DRAMA 

This course is an introduction to Korean language and contemporary culture through Korean pop culture, such as K-POP and K-DRAMA.  Students will learn the basic concepts of linguistic inquiry and features of Korean by analyzing K-POP and K-DRAMA.  Major themes throughout the course will be: (1) basic linguistic features of Korean; (2) contemporary Korean popular culture; K-POP and K-DRAMA.

Instructor: Dr. Y. Kim

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East Asian Languages: Language, Cognition, and Culture 

A general introduction to comparative analysis of East and West languages (mainly Mandarin Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean), cognition, and culture.  Students will learn the basic concepts of linguistic inquiry and features of these languages and relationship among language, cognition and culture in the East and the West.  The course has two primary goals: (1) to explain basic linguistic features of these languages and compare them; (2) to explore interconnections between language, cognition, and culture within these languages.  Training in one of the three Asian languages would be helpful, but not required for the course. 
Instructor: Dr. Y. Kim

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English: Rhetoric of Popular Culture

Reading Film, YouTube, and Social Media

Chris Rock has said that "Popular culture is who we are. It reflects our values, morals, interests, obsessions, ethics, hopes and dreams." We need only look at the world around us, and to pay attention to what people are saying, or tweeting, or posting, or googling, to know this is true.  Then we need to ask ourselves,  what is it we are becoming, and why?  One way to begin formulating theories about a possible answer to this question is to critically read current popular culture, especially film, TV YouTube and social media.  It is important that we know who and what is directing our identities so we can decide if we want to embrace or resist these identities  This is why we study popular culture and critically think about what it is saying to us about who we are, as Americans living in the 21st century.

In this class we will be watching a variety of popular and/or critically acclaimed films and TV shows and examining a variety of social media sites then discussing the themes we see emerging.  We will analyze the way we are being shaped as Americans, and speculate on what this might mean in the "big picture" of the place of Americans in global politics today. 

Instructor: Dr. J. Villa

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Journalism/Public Relations

Do you enjoy using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? Do you like to learn, write and socialize with people? Did you know that social media networks are turning the journalism and public relations fields upside-down? At IUP, we teach our students the latest and greatest ways that journalists are adding social media tools to their professional toolboxes. Join me for a two-week adventure full of field trips and challenging projects that will serve you well through your quest for higher education and beyond!

Instructor: Dr. M. Papakie

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The Mathematics of Counting

Can you count? Indeed, a very simple question, perhaps having no simple answer. The answer really depends on what exactly is being counted, and can get quite complicated. For example, can you count how many different routes one can travel in the xy-plane from the origin (0,0) to the ordered pair (30,20) moving only in two directions, either east or north, and in one-unit increments? For another example, suppose A+B+C+D+E=25. How many different solutions are there to this equation subject to the condition that each term is a nonnegative integer? In fact, these two questions are not too difficult to answer with the right tools. In this course, you will learn some of the fascinating and intriguing techniques of mathematical counting, which have far-reaching applications in mathematics, computer science, and coding theory (The Imitation Game). Applications of counting will be discussed and it will be shown why questions like the above are being asked in the first place – they are not being asked just for the sake of asking a question. Underestimating a very simple question would be like underestimating your opponent in a game of chess! By the way, can you count the number of different ways that eight rooks can be placed on a standard chessboard so that they are mutually non-attacking? 

Instructor: Dr. J Lattanzio

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Nanoparticles are solid materials that have sizes of 1 – 100 nanometers in at least one dimension.  They don’t behave like normal solids or solutions, and they don’t behave like individual atoms.  Instead they have unique chemical, optical, and electrical properties, that are dependent on their size and shape.  Applications of nanoparticles include advanced electronics, energy storage and conversion, environmental remediation, and biomedical uses including drug delivery.

In this hands-on course, students will explore some of the emerging applications of nanoparticles in technology and engineering, and study methods of producing, and characterizing various types of nanoparticles ( metal, crystal, organic, and biological).

 Instructor: Dr. J. Ford and Dr. G. Long

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There are multiple objectives of the summer honors physics class. The first is to provide an overview of the content in a first-year calculus based university physics class. Topics such as kinematics, dynamics, work-energy, electric circuits, and modern physics—which includes nuclear physics, special relativity, and quantum mechanics—will be surveyed. This is suitable for any student; good preparation if you plan to take physics in the future or a good review if you had physics in high school and are going to take it again at the university. The second objective is to examine the nature of the physical world from a philosophical perspective. In other words, is knowledge gained from the scientific process different from knowledge gained through other means? Third and last there will be a research project. Projects in the past have been: calculating the mechanical efficiency of a toy car through the process of destroying the car, using radioactive tracers to determine percolation rates of water through various soils, and determining how much aluminum you might need to block radioactive particles. The project done this year might be similar or different from those of the past.

Instructor: Dr. S. Sobolewski

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Political Communication

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of the key concepts and theories regarding communication’s role in politics and the political process. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to the field through the exploration of research from scholarship in the fields of Communication, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. We will address the role of news media, political entertainment, online media, popular culture, political campaigns, and face-to-face communication from the perspective of both the public and the government. We will also discuss cognitive and behavioral effects of political messages on the public. The primary emphasis of this course will be on American Politics, however, at times we will discuss how the American system differs from others.

Instructor: Dr. S. Kleinman

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Isn’t psychology all just common sense? Why don’t psychologists believe in punishment? How can psychology be a science when every person is unique? Why do psychologists compare the human brain to a machine; people aren’t machines! The course will address questions such as these to broaden the understanding of psychology as a science. Classic psychological experiments will be reviewed and students will have the opportunity to design their own research study. Students will also learn about the extensive applications of psychology to various aspects of personal life and various careers.

Instructor: Dr. L Newell

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World War II in America

Women in the Home Front

Although no military battles were fought on the American mainland, World War II affected all areas of life at home. In this course, we will look at how women responded to the demands of war: at home, at the workplace, and in their communities. We will look at new areas of opportunity that opened for women in traditionally male dominated areas of life, and at how cultural mores for women were shaped by the realities of war. Among the topics we will address are female pilots, women’s baseball, changing sexual mores, and the special challenges faced by women of color.

Instructor: Dr. E Ricketts

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