Honors 2.0: What’s New, and What’s Not

Published on Feb 17, 2016.

The first day back from break, everyone figured we’d be in the same classroom. Instead, we discovered we were one room over in the oddly hexagonal Wiley Learning Center. It was only one room over, though - what could be so different?

We got our answer soon after, upon finding that the trapezoidal table units moved. Sometimes they are spread out evenly, other times there is an awkward void left in the middle. Evidently the weirdness has rubbed off enough for us to full-heartedly embrace making a giant circle for no reason, and though one professor spontaneously curled up in the fetal position in the center of this amoebic design, neither professor has taught from it. Yet.

Regardless of the table arrangement, the number of chairs available steadily increases. They’re stacked and crammed into corners, and seem to multiply between sessions. Out of all the mysteries we encounter in Honors, that is one we have yet to solve.

Despite these environmental differences, little has changed in the class dynamic. Students and professors still ask and answer complex questions of authority and liberty, often making references to the tomes of last semester. We’ve back-tracked chronologically, covering the old sciences based on physical elements, and traveled forward through science’s development in correlation with religion. One of the most crucial myths we’ve busted is that science and religion don’t mix. This is far from the truth. Though, in historical context, there were multiple instances in which a scientist could be taken the wrong way and be accused of heresy, as we’ve learned all too well from “The Galileo Affair.” Take a major superiority complex and set it loose with the avid conviction that the earth circles the sun, and the Inquisition will be all over your case. Several intriguing discussions centered on whether Galileo intentionally disobeyed the Inquisition’s warning to stop supporting Copernicus’ theories, or if a scientist as brilliant as he could really forget that he was not allowed to discuss them in writing. Amongst ourselves, we’ve also laughed over Galileo’s arrogant finger-pointing at high-ranking religious figures, as well as over the pope, Urban the eighth, for absolutely losing his marbles anytime Galileo was mentioned. Currently, we’re venturing into Rousseau, questioning the effect of the arts and sciences on virtues and morality. Given the number of students involved in these subjects, this will undoubtedly lead to some strongly-opinionated debates.

All in all, Honors rolls along. We moved classrooms and have a new half in the dynamic duo, and though the issues in question are similar, they too have shape-shifted into a fresh entity, continuing to press us onward in the journey of understanding.


Honors College

The Honors College offers a unique, interdisciplinary educational experience for students who meet the academic qualifications and who desire stimulating participation in small, challenging classes.

Quote from an Honors College student, Kirsten Jenson“Honors College has prompted me to grow and determine where I fit in the academic world.”

—Kirsten Jenson (class of 2017)