Ds Scholarship

NIU Today | University Honors announces Rachowicz Faculty Fellow and fall 2022 Honors seminars

When the University Honors Program invited proposals for Honors Seminars for Fall 2022, faculty responded. Many of this year’s decided proposals center on the theme of justice and equity and fulfill the human diversity general education requirement for Honors students who will enroll.

Assistant Professor Melissa Fickling from the Department of Counseling and Higher Education has been named the Honors Program’s Rachowicz Faculty Fellow.

One such course is “Work, Meaning and Wellness” which will be taught by Assistant Professor Melissa Fickling from the Department of Counseling and Higher Education, who has been named the Honors Program’s inaugural Rachowicz Faculty Fellow.

Thanks to the generous support from alumni donors Earl, ’73, and Cythia Rachowicz, ’73, the University Honors Program has been able to provide funding to Fickling to teach her seminar for the fall 2022 semester. The Rachowicz fellowship is meant to encourage courses that are interdisciplinary and emphasize interconnectivity, communication, and the importance of being committed to service in private and professional contexts.

Dr. Fickling is deserving of being the Rachowicz Faculty Fellow,” said Andrea Radasanu, director of the University Honors Program. “She argued persuasively in her proposal that the course is a fit for this honor due to its attention to the interconnectivity between workers, employers, and communities; and student career development that supports wellness across the lifespan.”

Students enrolling in Fickling’s course will consider historical and philosophical perspectives on the role of work in life, as well as critique popular narratives around passion, career choice and happiness. They will also examine trends and inequities in the US labor market and contextualize discussions about work into broader frameworks of individual mental health and community wellness.

An outcome of the course will be students developing personal meaning profiles that will help guide their career planning, decision making, lifelong learning and civic engagement.

Additional Honors Seminars for the fall 2022 semester include:

Ideas and Ideals in Classical Epic Poetry: Homer and Virgil (ENGL 310)

This seminar focuses on three of the most famous and influential books in Western literary history: Homer’s EliadHomer’s Odysseyand Virgil’s Aeneid. We will spend the semester studying these narrative poems in English translation—including commentary on literary, historical, and intellectual contexts.

Taught by Timothy D. Crowley, Ph.D., Department of English

Data and Social Justice (HON 420)

This seminar is designed to create good consumers of empirical studies in social justice settings. Issues related to social justice are often articulated and debated through analyzes of quantitative data. Students will improve their quantitative literacy so they can learn to critically analyze the common types of empirical studies that they encounter in daily life.

Taught by Alan M. Polansky, Ph.D., Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science

Innovation, Social Equity, and Entrepreneurship in Media (HON 410)

This seminar will invite students to critically analyze film, TV and other media that tell us stories about what it means to be successful, who can make it, and what is the cost of success. The seminar will include sampling various media and analyzing the representation of entrepreneurship and creativity through the lens of justice and equity.

Taught by Laura Vazquez, Ph.D., Department of Communication, and Furkan Gur, Ph.D., Department of Management

Spies, Lies, and Secret Wars: CIA (HIST 480)

Perhaps no other institution is so heavily mythologized in the popular consciousness as the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. It is both hailed by some as the stealthy protector of world liberty and liberty and reviled by others as the epitome of tyranny and democratic hypocrisy. This seminar examines the history of this controversial and global historical agency not from an American perspective but also from a vantage, drawing attention to its impact worldwide.

Taught by Eric Jones, Ph.D., Department of History

What’s so funny? The politics of humor (HON 310)

This seminar explores the intersection between humor and politics, crossing boundaries between politics, history, philosophy, and literature. Themes like satire, censorship, free speech in historical and current contexts will be pursued. We will be particularly interested in discussing the connections between liberty, democracy, and ridicule (especially ridicule of those in power). We will read primary sources, including some famous examples of satire in literature (such as Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal), as well as reflecting on political controversies regarding satire, and address current trends like the consumption of political news through comedy shows.

Taught by Andrea Radasanu, Ph.D., Department of Political Science & Honors Director

Technology Adoptions of 21st Century: Affordable Access of Intrusive Invasion? (HON 410)

Technology is a pervasive element to living in the 21st century. In this seminar, students will consider intended and unintended consequences of mass access to major tech advances, including emergent inequities in tracking, use, and equity issues related to intrusiveness and data mining.

Taught by: Christine Nguyen, Ph. D., Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Nicholas A. Pohlman, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering

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