Spring 2018

Spring 2018

The (Social) Capital of Social Media

Bradley Bond, Justine Rapp Farrell

Media platforms that allow for computer-mediated interactions and sharing of information, coined “social media,” have become important components of everyday life in an increasingly digital world. Indeed, social media are inescapable. Individuals have the power to connect with others across the world or across the table using social media. The social media evolution has also afforded businesses new and innovative ways to sell products and services. The academic study of social media is still in its infancy, though communication scholars have initiated research examining the multifaceted nature and influence of social media as they relate to our psyche, our relationships, and the way our society functions. Marketing researchers have also focused attention on the pivotal role social media play in consumer behavior and business practices. This course attempts to merge two disciplines with great interest in social media—communication studies and marketing—and, in turn, seeks to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of what it means to exist as citizens and consumers in the age of social media.

HNRS 304

Bradley Bond


HNRS 305

Justine Rapp Farrell



Christianity, Education, and Whiteness

Karen Teel, Lisa Nunn

This course pursues the questions: Is there a distinctive role for Catholic universities in working toward greater racial justice in US society? How should US Catholic universities engage the national and global struggle toward greater racial justice? The course takes up legacies of whiteness in higher education and Christianity.

HNRS 346

Karen Teel


HNRS 347

Lisa Nunn



Bombs Away!

Kathryn Statler, Daniel Sheehan

Nuclear weapons are one of the great scientific and technological achievements of the 20th century; however, they also pose a grave existential risk to humanity. This team-taught, upper-division honors class will explore nuclear weapons -- their discovery, design, destructiveness, deployment and disarmament -- from the perspectives of history and physics. It will trace their development from early 20th-century scientific visionaries, through the Manhattan Project, from the Cold War nuclear arms race, up to the present-day specter of nuclear terrorism. The course will also explore the potential for nuclear disarmament and peaceful uses for nuclear technology.

HNRS 344

Kathryn Statler


HNRS 345

Daniel Sheehan



Life and Moving Fluids

Frank Jacobitz, Jennifer Prairie

This course examines the physical processes of fluid motion in the atmosphere and oceans and their impact on life in these environments. The course starts with a review of the fundamentals of fluid mechanics and biology. The equations of fluid motion are discussed with a focus on the non-dimensional parameters governing environmental flows. Physical flow processes covered include turbulence, stratification, rotation, and wave motion. Biological applications studied in some detail are life at low Reynolds numbers, interactions between morphology of organisms and the fluid dynamic environment, and the effects of fluid dynamics on the distributions of organisms. Students will learn concepts through a combination of lecture, computer-based activities, and lab and field experiments. The approach taken in the course is an interdisciplinary one: physical processes are introduced, discussed, and directly related to their biological impacts. The course targets a balanced student enrollment from engineering and physics students with a strong background in mathematics and the physical sciences, as well as from environmental and ocean sciences and biology students with a strong background in the life sciences. The two student groups will engage in peer teaching activities throughout the first half of the course and eventually form interdisciplinary groups for team project assignments in the second half of the semester. This course will count as an upper-division elective for majors in Mechanical Engineering, Environmental and Ocean Sciences, Physics, or Biology.

HNRS 348

Frank Jacobitz


HNRS 349

Jennifer Prairie