1) HONR 100 3 credit hours

2) Liberal Learning Curriculum Requirements (Students entering CNU Fall 2014 and after):

  • Second Language Literacy, 3 credit hours
  • Mathematical Literacy, 3 credit hours
  • Economic Modeling and Analysis, 3 credit hours
  • Civic and Democratic Engagement, 3 credit hours
  • One Investigating the Natural World course and accompanying lab, 4-5 credit hours
  • [all other Liberal Learning Curriculum requirements waived]

Liberal Learning Curriculum Requirements (Students entering CNU Fall 2009 through Fall 2013):

  • Second Language Literacy, 3 credit hours
  • Mathematical Literacy, 6-8 credit hours
  • One Investigating the Natural World course and accompanying lab, 4-5 credit hours
  • [all other Liberal Learning Curriculum requirements waived]

3) Any three of the following: 9 credit hours (Students entering CNU Fall 2014 and after)

  • HONR 300 Natural World
  • HONR 310 & 360 Global and Multicultural Perspectives (some exceptions)
  • HONR 320 & 370 Western Traditions
  • HONR 340 Creative Expressions
  • HONR 350 Logical Reasoning


Students in these interdisciplinary seminars will explore issues related to one of the following parts of the Liberal Learning Curriculum: Creative Expressions; Logical Reasoning; or Western Traditions. A major cultural text will frame inquiry and provide historical depth. In discussions of central questions as well as in the development of projects, students will utilize the intellectual approaches and perspectives of various academic disciplines, including their majors. Assignments include a variety of writing assignments (e. g. summaries of research findings) and must include a staged writing project (framing the question, review of sources, multiple drafts) of at least five pages in finished form as well as practice in at least one major skill set (e. g. quantitative analysis, critical analysis, computer skills, argumentative writing, geography, scientific reasoning and hypothesizing).

 Any three of the following: 9 credit hours (Students entering CNU Fall 2009 through Fall 2013)

  • HONR 300 Natural World
  • HONR 310 &360 Identity & Culture
  • HONR 320 & 370 Western Traditions
  • HONR 340 Creative Expressions
  • HONR 350 Formal and Informal Reasoning

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Students in these interdisciplinary seminars will explore issues focused by means of one of the following Liberal Learning Areas of Inquiry Creative Expressions; Formal and Informal Reasoning; Identity, Institutions and Society; Investigating the Natural World; or Western Traditions. A major cultural text will frame inquiry and provide historical depth. In discussions of central questions as well as in the development of projects, students will utilize the intellectual approaches and perspectives of various academic disciplines, including their majors. Assignments include a variety of writing assignments (e. g. summaries of research findings) and must include a staged writing project (framing the question, review of sources, multiple drafts) of at least five pages in finished form as well as practice in at least one major skill set (e. g. quantitative analysis, critical analysis, computer skills, argumentative writing, geography, scientific reasoning and hypothesizing).

4) At least two Honors Inquiry classes, which may be the same course number or differing numbers:

  • HONR 381 Major-Related Study and Research, 0-3 credit hours
    • May be repeated twice.
    • Notify the Director when credits earned through Major-Related Study are posted on transcript. Several classes already required in the curricula of majors earn the HONR 381 designation (0 credit hours):  BIOL 391W, BIOL 491W, BIOL 492W, CHEM 391W, CPSC 498, FNAR 490W, PHIL 490W, IDST 490. 
  • HONR 382 Civic Engagement, 1-3 credit hours
  • HONR 383 Study Abroad, 0 credit hours
    • May be repeated with Director’s permission.
    • Notify the Director when credits earned through Study Abroad are posted on transcript. The Director will then request the Registrar to post the notation for HONR 383.

5) HONR 490W Problems in the Modern World, 3 credit hours

6) Activity Classes (one per semester)

  • HONR 010 (taken twice) 0 credit hours
  • HONR 020 (taken twice) 0 credit hours
  • HONR 030 (taken twice) 0 credit hours
  • HONR 040 (taken twice) 0 credit hours

Each semester Honors Students are asked to select and attend four programs of cultural and intellectual significance on campus—lectures, panels, films (as long as discussion follows), concerts, plays, art exhibits, etc.—and submit written reports about them.  These programs must involve faculty and/or visiting professionals.  (Details will be posted on Scholar.)  If you graduate in fewer than eight semesters, the appropriate number of Activity Courses will be waived.

7) HONR 484 Portfolio, 1 credit hour

8) An additional W I course, 1-3 credit hour(s)

9) A completed major

10) A total of at least 120 credits

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When an Honors Program student drops below the minimum 3.30 GPA, a letter of warning will be sent. Three successive semesters below a 3.30 GPA will result in removal from the program.

If an Honors student fails to maintain a seminar schedule that predicts Program completion, they are subject to removal from the program. Students will normally enroll and complete an HONR course each semester. If removed, he / she must adjust his / her registration accordingly. Withdrawing from an Honors seminar or inquiry course constitutes withdrawal from the Honors Program unless the Director approves a waiver.

HONR 100:  RealScience and Science Fiction
This seminar course will examine the link between science fiction and "real" science.  Students will explore how science fiction influences actual technological possibilities and affects societal attitudes. The primary focus of this class will be the social, ethical and moral issues surrounding the real science presented in the works of Michael Crichton. Students will learn the basics of scientific research, writing, and ethics. In addition, they will also be given the opportunity to participate in group panels, group collaboration, brainstorming, and presentations. Scientific, creative and critical thinking will be emphasized.
Instructor: Dr. Geoffrey Klein, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Vice Provost

HONR 100: Islam in the Modern World
This course explores the role and place of Islam in modern Muslim societies and covers a historical period that begins around 1800 and continues to the present day.  The course presents Islam as a lived religion through observation and discussion of how Muslims from a variety of countries, traditions, and views practice their religion.  The course conveys the Muslim experience from different disciplinary backgrounds, which are reflected in the readings and the topics discussed throughout the semester.  Case studies range from Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, and Lebanon to the UK, USA, Australia and Indonesia, and cover topics such as music, art, education, law, gender and sexuality.
Instructor: Dr. Hussam Timani, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies

HONR 100: Themes from the Bible and the Qur'an
In this course, students will discuss religious themes in the world's major religions as they are expressed in sacred texts/commentaries and in theological and philosophical writings. Students will study and analyze selected themes in the literature, reflect on them, and then provide a critical response to academic works related to these themes. The students will be required to provide interpretations of themes using various intellectual approaches and perspectives, and make presentations utilizing the thinking and perspectives of various majors.
Instructor: Dr. Hussam Timani, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies

HONR 100: Moctezuma and the 'Conquest' of Mexico
The Spanish invasion of Mexico, often called the conquest, brought significant change to both Spain and central Mexico. Spaniards, during and after the invasion, wrote extensively about their own actions in letters to the crown, petitions for rewards, and even in tracts which condemned the methods employed by other Spaniards. In addition to the stories generated by those who called themselves conquistadors, native peoples also wrote about themselves and their experiences before and after the invasion. None of these accounts, native or Spanish, produced objective, disinterested reconstructions of the invasion. This course will ask students to analyze primary accounts, beginning with Hernán Cortés and his second letter in which he describes the first attempts to conquer Mexico Tenochtitlan, to discover the limitations of what they can explain. Students will also read native accounts critically, some mediated through Spanish editors like the Florentine Codex and those authentically written by natives, like the work of Chimalpahin.
Instructor:  Dr. William Connell, Assistant Professor of History

HONR 100:  The Quest for Camelot
In this course, students will undertake an in-depth study of Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur. Our primary focus will be an analysis of the historical and philosophical genesis of the ideas of chivalry, romantic love and gender roles as embodied in Mallory’s work. Students will be asked to critique and develop theories concerning the social and political movements that gave rise to this work, as well as the legacy it has had in our own conceptions of love, masculinity and femininity.
Instructor:  Dr. Dawn Hutchinson, Lecturer in Philosophy and Religious Studies

HONR 100:  From the Evolution of Computing to the Quest for a Thinking Machine
The course pivots on a central essay and support, 'Who are we in the digital age?' and explores the social reflections on life in the information age. With insights from literature, philosophy, and history, student will undertake an exploration journey through the fascinating development of the digital era and information age, from the invention of the first alphabetic language to the printing press to the World Wide Web. With the construction of the telecommunications infrastructure of cables, optic fibers, and radio waves, technology dominated the first level of the communication-processing-thinking hierarchy. Technology established the second hierarchal level with the introduction of high-speed digital computers. Now the challenge remains to create a machine that can imitate the human power of thought. Students will be asked to critically analyze papers and short videos related to machine intelligence/robotics, controversies surrounding radio frequency identification (RFID), ethical and social implications of nanotechnology, perspectives for growth of information technology in Africa, and cyber-warfare/terrorism. Students in their critical assignment writings will provide justification for their opinion and position, including evidence to back up claims and assertions.
Instructor: Dr. Costa Gerousis, Associate Professor of Computer Science

HONR 100: Cinemascapes
This course examines the ways artists shape time and space to create master narratives, or dominant ways of seeing and understanding the world. What we consider adventure, what we consider decorum, what we consider good or bad art depends upon our expectations of the duration and shape of certain textual objects. This class will examine classic novels and films to determine these time-space configurations, named chronotopes, and we will undertake our own creative constructions of chronotopes as well.
Instructor:  Dr. John Nichols, Associate Professor of English

HONR 100: CreatingFrida
Mexico has been a country with a long-standing thriving tradition of visual arts.  This seminar will introduce you to the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo but will ask you to think critically about many other things including identity, sexuality, and of course art!  While we will spend a great deal of time examining the work and life of Kahlo, we will also explore artists working in Mexico during the 20th century.
Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Moran, Associate Professor of Art History

HONR 100:Sherlock Holmes and Logical Reasoning
As the above story demonstrates, there are many different conclusions that can be drawn from a single observation, and which are drawn depends quite a bit on the style of thinking one adopts. This seminar course will employ the stories of Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective Sherlock Homes as a model of one type of thinking: logic and scientific reasoning. Through careful reading and class presentation of Holmes’ methods, students will be asked to reflect on their own patterns of observation and reasoning. As the course develops students will also investigate portrayals of other fictional detectives. Students will be asked to compare and contrast these characters, and use them as models for the construction of their own fictional detective story.
Instructor: Dr. Michael Lewis, Associate Professor of Sociology

HONR 100: Science and Controversy
The topic of this Honors seminar is “Science and Controversy,” and is intended to challenge students to develop
their critical thinking skills through examining, and developing informed opinions on, controversial topics in
science. Class time will be devoted primarily to discussions, debates and presentations centering on four primary

  • Informed Consent (from the Tuskeegee Project to Henrietta Lacks)
  • Public Need vs. Public Risk (nuclear energy)
  • Free Market Profits vs. the Public Good (patenting genes and drugs)
  • “The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few…or the One” (genetics, privacy and insurability)

Instructor: Dr. Lisa Webb, Associate Professor of Organismal and Environmental Biology

HONR 100: ArtScience: The Frontiers of Human Knowledge
This course invites students to learn about and dream at frontiers of knowledge where science moves forward by induction and thus where art and science are pursued in very similar ways. It is also here that many opportunities for surprise, discovery, and breakthrough innovation occur and have occurred for centuries. Students will explore past intersections of the arts and science, consider contemporary breakthroughs grounded in such intersections, and envision future collaborations. In short, students will try to recreate in our classroom David Edward’s idea of the ArtScience Lab.
Instructor: Dr. Margarita Marinova, Associate Professor of English

HONR 100: Science With Conscience: Navigating Through Rough Waters
This seminar course will examine the complex and turbulent nature of applying science to environmental issues globally and locally. Students will explore how the skills they will learn throughout their careers at Christopher Newport University can be applied to such issues as well as to reaching their own personal and professional goals. Students will learn to be critical of information, with emphasis placed on considering its source, quality, and reproducibility (where applicable). In addition, students will also be given the opportunity to participate in group panels, group collaboration, brainstorming, and presentations. Scientific, creative and critical thinking will be emphasized.
Instructor: Dr. Russell Burke, Assistant Professor of Organismal and Environmental Biology

HONR 100: The Pinnacle of Human Thinking
Given the current economic trends, traditional thinking and learning will no longer prepare students for the subsequent challenges they will face. Instead we need to adapt, evolve, and redefine our thinking patterns in order to address unforeseen challenges. The purpose of this course is to expose students to the diversity of human thought including creativity, creativity problem solving, critical thinking, inventiveness, higher order thinking, synesthesia, giftedness, prodigies, and savants. Students will be given the opportunity to customize their learning based on their own unique interests and career goals through readings, discussions, collaborations, projects, and presentations.
Instructor: Dr. Gayle Dow, Associate Professor of Psychology 

HONR 100: Indigenous People in the 21st Century
This course examines the question "What does it mean to indigenous today?" There are currently over 370 million indigenous people worldwide who trace their ancestry to a culturally distinct group that predates the rise of the nation-state and the modern world system. Many indigenous people maintain social and cultural identities and institutions that are separate from the settler societies with which they must contend. Students will explore the intricacies of history, culture, and power that impact contemporary relationships between indigenous people and mainstream societies. Over the course of the semester, students will be examining issues of identity, community, sovereignty and self-determination as they relate to indigenous groups working to forge a meaningful existence in the 21st century.
Instructor: Dr. Christopher Loy, Lecturer, Sociology and Anthropology 

HONR 100: Markets and Morality
Markets are institutions that facilitate the production and allocation of goods and services. Proponents of markets maintain that even though market participants may operate primarily out of self-interest, markets often result in socially beneficial outcomes.  They conclude that markets are moral or at least amoral.  Critics of markets focus on negative outcomes of markets and the immorality that may result from unbridled capitalism. This first-year Honors seminar explores what markets are, how they operate, and their effects on moral character. Students will examine contemporary issues involving markets and morality such as the social responsibility of business, sweatshop labor, income inequality and the market for human kidneys.
Instructor: Dr. Michelle Vachris, Professor of Economics

HONR 100: Solar System Exploration
This seminar course will examine how and why we explore the solar system.  We will investigate both the science gained from NASA missions and how the missions come about.   We will discuss who makes the missions possible and what the missions add to society.  First, we will focus on NASA’s largest unmanned missions, Voyagers I and II.  We will then study the many missions to Mars.  Finally, we will end with a discussion about how and why Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet.  During this class, we will also examine the people behind the missions and their science. 
Instructor: Dr. Anna DeJong, Associate Professor of Physics

HONR 300: The Evolution of Physics
This seminar traces the development of physics from Aristotelian models of motion and the solar system, to the latest theories of black holes, dark matter, and particle physics. This will be done by look at a number of physicists, each of whom is responsible for a major change in our way of looking at some aspect of the physical world, and investigating the problem they were trying to solve, their solution, its application, and its consequences. We will also investigate the relationship between each physicists and the culture or political climate in which they lived.
Instructor:  Dr. David Doughty, Professor of Physics and Dean of the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences

HONR 301: Stem Cells: Science and Society
The tissues of the human body originate from a small population of identical embryonic stem cells. These cells assume specific adult fates based on internal and external influences. Understanding these influences could allow scientists to control stem cells to treat a large number of incurable human diseases. The immense health and economic benefits of stem cell research have drawn the interest of scientists and governments throughout the world.This course will explore the complex interplay between the scientific and social implications of stem cell research. This will be accomplished by developing a clear view of modern molecular biology in a form accessible to non-science majors, critically evaluating scientific discoveries and ethical claims about stem cells and by exploring the economic and social factors that drove many countries into the fray to be the first to harness the power of the stem cell. By the end of the semester, our work will reach into the fields of biology, politics, ethics, communication, economics and religion.
Instructor: Dr. Christopher Meighan, Assistant Professor in Molecular Biology and Chemistry

HONR 302:  Why People Believe Weird Things
Not surprisingly, recent surveys reveal sharp increases in paranormal beliefs over the past 20 years among people in the general public. Throughout this course we will critically examine many paranormal phenomena and pseudoscientific claims, such as near-death experiences, homeopathy, psychic readings, hypnosis, and ghosts through the lens of psychological science.
Instructor: Dr. Jason Hart, Associate Professor in Psychology

HONR 310: Understanding War and Peace
Since the beginning of human civilization war and peace have been persistent themes shaping relationships between individuals, groups, societies, and states. The question if war will influence human lives forever or if there is a way to overcome war to gain eternal peace has inspired many great philosophers, historians, political and other social scientists, lawyers, writers, and artists. Despite these enormous intellectual efforts, the causes of war and ways to achieve durable peace remain a mystery.The absence of a full understanding of war and peace can partly be traced to the fact that most scholars tend to view these complex and multi-causal concepts within the boundaries of their own disciplines. Interdisciplinary approaches are scarce; but only an approach establishing cross-cutting ties between different fields of study allows for a comprehensive analysis of war and peace. With these considerations in mind, this seminar focuses on interdisciplinary approaches explaining war and peace. We will read and critically review scholarship and other sources from a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, political science, history, biology, anthropology, sociology, law, and psychology.The seminar starts with a historical overview of wars and the different forms it has taken over the centuries. What is war? What forms does it take? And what is peace? Considering various definitions offered by the above mentioned disciplines, we will establish a framework for analysis for this course. We will then examine views presented by different thinkers, scholars, and artists over the centuries and discuss if the phenomenon of “just war” exists.

In a second part, we will turn to questions of the causes of war. We will look at social and political science approaches that quantitatively and qualitatively try to measure and predict war and peace and explain the variations in the frequency and magnitude over time and space. Are humans “naturally” peaceful or belligerent? Is war the product of the development of human civilization? Why do wars occur at some times but not in others? What are some of the main conditions for war and peace? And what roles do leaders and the quest for power play? To answer these questions, we will examine theories from various backgrounds explaining the human propensity for conflict and cooperation. We will analyze systems and conditions for war and peace on the society and state level and review case studies and examples to illustrate the theoretical findings.The last part of the course will focus on the question of how war can be overcome. What does peace mean against different cultural, political, and historical backgrounds? Will there ever be “eternal peace”? We will analyze the different approaches to peace and discuss different strategies to overcome societal conflict. Conflict management, peace research and the achievements of the pacifist movement will end our journey into understanding war and peace.
Instructor:  Dr. Tina Kempin Reuter, Assistant Professor of Government

HONR 312: Islam in Western Thought
In this course, we will explore the cultural representations of Islam in Western thought and discuss how the Western approach to Islam had not only distorted Western understanding of the religion and culture but also penetrated the academia, constructed, controlled, and distributed images and understandings of the Islamic civilization and culture. We will explore these perceptions as expressed in historical narratives, political treatises, literature, religious, philosophical, and theological writings, and the visual arts.
Instructor: Dr. Hussam Timani, AssociateProfessor of Philosophy and Religious Studies

HONR 313:  Personal Marketing
This seminar investigates the way people brand, promote and market themselves to the greater public.  From actors and musicians to athletes, super models, and politicians, people jockey for market position and media exposure in popular culture and our society today.  Virtually all of the people who are famous today have become so via shrewd marketing.  Many of the same concepts that go into creating a celebrity apply to ordinary people.  Throughout this seminar, students will learn how anyone—including themselves—can use proven marketing strategies and techniques to achieve some desired outcome of success.
Instructor:  Dr. Lisa Spiller, Distinguished Professor of Management and Marketing

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Honors 315: History & Memory: the Boxer Uprising
This interdisciplinary seminar examines the role of history and memory in shaping and defining cultural, societal, and personal identities through a case study of a pivotal event in the encounters between China and the West—the Boxer Uprising of 1899-1901. The seminar engages students in understanding the event in the context of modern Chinese and world history and analyzing how the event was perceived at the time and remembered and interpreted later in China and the West. Students will explore the interactions between history and memory and the political, social, and cultural functions of both.
Instructor: Dr. Xiaoqun Xu, Associate Professor of History 

HONR 316: God Talk: Thinking about Religion and American Public Life
This seminar will explore philosophical and practical questions raised by “God talk” in American public and political life:

  • What is the nature and meaning of the establishment clause in the First Amendment, and of the contested tradition of church/state separation ? How should these dimensions of the Constitution be applied and interpreted?
  • What is the nature and extent of the “religious heritage” of the United States? How are claims and assumptions about this “heritage” used in public argument and political activism?
  • How does “civil religion” function in public and political life? How does it play both positive and negative roles in fostering a pluralistic and democratic society? In that ways are American religious traditions different from (or even opposed to) American “civil religion”?
  • What edifying and productive roles (if any) can religious traditions—particularly in the meanings, insights, and prescriptions that they sustain—play in a pluralistic, democratic society? Are faith commitments, especially those that have public implications, compatible with a pluralistic, democratic society? Does a healthy democracy require that religious faith be a strictly private matter?

Instructor: Dr. Mark Steiner, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies

HONR 317: Youth Violence
This course will explore research on the causes and consequences of youth and school violence in the United States. The course will provide an overview of criminological research on violence, which has long dominated the field, and then focus on a growing body of research by cultural sociologists, social psychologists and communication scholars. A criminological approach to understanding violence focuses on delinquent, illegal and physical acts of violence, which will allow us to explore such things as crime statistics on youth involvement in gangs or victimization of children. A cultural approach to violence covers a much wider spectrum of behaviors by focusing on verbal, emotional,sexual, and racial expressions violence. Here, we will focus on such things as bullying, relational aggression among girls, and cyber bullying. Using both criminological and cultural approaches to understanding youth and school violence will help us uncover a wide spectrum of behaviors, attitudes and beliefs that may indeed help us better prevent both subtle and overt expressions of violence. Students will learn about research methods used to study violence and will conduct their own research project.
Instructor: Dr. Linda M. Waldron, Associate Professor of Sociology

HONR 318: Religion and Globalization
The world in the twenty-first century is a place where traditions and cultures are converging, societies and nations are becoming more homogenous than ever, and peoples from all over the world are increasingly interacting with each other and “living” together. The twenty-first century is also witnessing a resurgence of religion. This course will discuss the role of religion in the 21st century and will attempt to answer the following questions: how do major faith traditions impact our world today, and how do they influence world decisions on human rights, the environment, global poverty, the war on terrorism, human trafficking, interfaith dialogue, and international and regional conflicts, among other issues? This course will shed the light on how global changes impact the ways religions are practiced today. Students will reflect on how religious traditions have been modified in order to accommodate current realities and how the global synergy of these traditions is changing current social and political realities. This course addresses the topic in a political, historical, cultural, religious, social, gender, and economic context, asking whether and how the current realities of the 21st century shape and alter religion and the religious.
Instructor: Dr. Hussam Timani, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies

HONR 319: The Lotus Sūtra: What the Buddha Really Taught
Few works have been as influential throughout Asia as the Lotus Sūtra (Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra, Miaofa lianhua jing), one of the most popular Buddhist texts.  The Lotus is a major source of important teachings in the Mahayana branch of Buddhism, and is the focus of intense devotion for thousands of Buddhists the world over.  It has been the basis for more commentaries than any other Buddhist scripture and has inspired countless literary and artistic works.  Arguably it is as central to East Asian cultures as the Bible is to the West.  As such, a basic familiarity with the Lotus sūtra is essential for understanding Chinese, Japanese and Korean cultures.  However, this text is exceedingly difficult to understand, especially for people from a stereotypical "Western" background or for whom Buddhism is a hip "philosophy" of meditation and "Free Tibet" bumper stickers.  This class will focus on closely reading this seminal text (in English translation) in its entirety, along with excerpts from commentaries (both medieval and modern) that have been written on it, as well as scholarly articles on the Lotus' influence on various Asian societies over the years.  More to the point, however, this class is designed to encourage us to think critically about what "scripture" actually entails and how it functions in various socio-cultural contexts.  Thus, although our primary aim is to read a specific text (the Lotus sūtra), we necessarily will also engage in broader historical, anthropological, psychological, philosophical, and theological analysis and reflection.
Instructor: Dr. John M. Thompson, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies

HONR 321: Myths of Transformation:  Ovid’s Metamorphoses
Ovid’s Metamorphoses offers a delightful retelling of the classic myths of ancient Greece and Rome, focusing primarily on tales of transformation in which humans become trees, flowers, and animals.  This course examines Ovid’s Metamorphoses in its original literary and cultural contexts as well as its influence upon the western tradition.
Instructor:  Dr. Jana Adamitis, Associate Professor of Modern and Classical Languages

HONR 322:  The American Worldwide
The world today is changing rapidly, growing smaller and more complex each day.  This Honors seminar seeks to introduce students to the contemporary world from an American historical perspective.  It will help students develop their own personal worldviews – to make sense of the world around us as citizens of the United States and as citizens of the world.  And, the seminar will encourage students to use history as a guide when evaluating potential solutions to the world’s problems.
Instructor:  Dr. Andrew Falk, Associate Professor of History

HONR 323: Civil Liberty in the Civil War and the War on Terror
This interdisciplinary seminar explores the ways in which history, culture, politics, and law have shaped 21st-century Americans’ understandings of civil liberties in wartime, particularly in the War on Terror.  The core text is Mark E. Neely’s Pulitzer Prize winning The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties (Oxford University Press, 1991).  Professor Neely holds degrees from Yale University in both History and American Studies and has written extensively about civil liberties in both the Union and the Confederacy.  Students will explore how Americans of the Civil War era—North and South, Republican and Democrat—grappled with the suspension of citizens’ rights in wartime.  We will also look at the controversy surrounding President Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to try Nazi saboteurs before a military tribunal during World War 2.  Students will use the arguments that arose during these very controversial historical episodes as lenses through which to understand and evaluate the Guantanamo Bay cases that have come before the Supreme Court in the last decade.
Instructor: Dr. Jonathan White, Assistant Professor of Leadership and American Studies

HONR 324: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock
This course introduces students to the movies of one of the most important and popular 20th-century directors, Alfred Hitchcock.  Hitchcock made over fifty films in England and Hollywood from 1925 to 1976, such as Vertigo, Psycho and The Birds.  Films will be assigned for viewing outside of class and discussed, along with critical readings, in a seminar format looking at clips for class discussion.  We will address some of the more interesting and controversial facets of the movies, such as European fascism, voyeurism, the icy blonde, and varieties of sexuality and gender codes.  The movies will be discussed in the broader context of feature-film production, and we will consider both the influences upon Hitchcock and those he in turn had on fellow filmmakers and broader popular culture.  The instructor, befitting his scholarly background in classical myth, will introduce the notion of mythic archetypes and psychoanalytic symbolism, which means deep story patterns and narratives of heroism and developmental trauma that link Hitchcock’s work to other humanistic traditions in both verbal and visual art modes.  Students will write interpretive papers and present in class.
Instructor: Dr. Mark Padilla, Distinguished Professor of Classical Studies

HONR 325: Protests and Political Violence in the Age of Democratic Revolutions
This interdisciplinary seminar course explores large-scale political protests, riots, and mob violence in America, France, and Great Britain in the years from 1700 to 1850. The course examines the relationship between these mass protests and the democratic revolutions and reform movements that took place in the period. Students will read first-hand descriptions of food riots in eighteenth-century London, accounts of street protests surrounding the Stamp Act controversy and the Boston Massacre in America, and depictions of mob violence in revolutionary Paris.
Instructor: Dr. David Woodworth, Instructor in History

HONR 326: Violence and Civilization
As civilization moves forward—as our political, legal, and economic systems become more complex—do humans tend to become more violent, or less so? Perhaps we become more peaceable toward our neighbors, while these gains are wiped out by greatly increased possibilities of bloodshed in war. Or perhaps war is largely overcome while social order decays, neighborhoods collapse, inequalities are entrenched, and basic rights and liberties are squelched. If any progress is possible, what sorts of legal institutions, economic systems, and educational approaches are best? The course draws from philosophical, sociological, and historical studies, as well as film.
Instructor:  Dr. Matthew Mendham, Asst. Professor of Government

HONR 327: The Liberal Education
This course explores the meaning and significance of liberal education primarily through an extensive study of Plato's Republic -- the text identified by many as the locus classicus on the subject of liberal education. Class sessions cover the figure of Socrates, the patron saint of liberal education, and the theory of education detailed in Plato's most important dialogue. The course concludes with a sections devoted to philosophical challenges to the Socratic ideal of education and contemporary issues in liberal education. Readings include texts by Plato, Aristophanes, Xenophon, Kant, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, and J.S. Mill.

Instructor: Dr. Brent Cusher, Asst. Professor of Leadership

HONR 328:  Utopias and Dystopias
“Utopia” is a term coined by Thomas More, perhaps as a pun suggesting that the “happy place” is “no place.”  Exploring utopian traditions in politics and political thought reveals a jarring contrast between the noblest human aspirations and the most devastating outcomes, since many well-intentioned schemes ended in collapse, starvation, or slaughter.  At the same time, some celebrated reforms, such as the nineteenth-century abolitions of slavery and the slave trade, were widely considered “utopian” before they were achieved.  In addition, other small-scale utopians have sustained prosperity and remarkable communal dedication for long periods.  Overall, however, many would conclude that rapid, dramatic social progress on a broad scale is impossible.  But even some of the greatest utopian writers may have conceded this, offering their radical alternatives largely as models for personal reform.  Barring even this, one might learn from the portrayals of shocking oppression and degradation in “dystopias”—for it may  be possible that, if certain political or cultural trends are left unchecked, individuals and society can get far worse.  Both utopias and dystopias tend to focus on two aspects of society—economics and sexuality—which according to some, are the most in need of radical reform, while according to others, are the most dangerous when altered from their traditional patterns.  Utopias and dystopias help refine our idea of what excellence and corruption in society look like, how far progress and decline are possible, and what policies and behaviors tend toward these conditions.  This course draws from political theory, history, sociology, economics, literature, and film.
Instructor: Dr. Matthew Mendham, Assistant Professor of Government

HONR 329.  Imagined and Real Communities: The Tumultuous Quest for Utopia
Utopias and utopian-like communities are transcultural phenomena that have existed for millennia. In this course, we will examine the origins of utopia in Western culture and survey the history of its multiple manifestations in sacred, secular, poetic, and philosophical texts. Most importantly, we will problematize the concept of utopia by studying the multiple ways in which they are often transformed into dystopias—creators of utopia, be they authors or charismatic individuals, often impose their own dogmatic vision of happiness, making the supposed ideal community a prison for its inhabitants. Finally, we will attempt to answer the following questions: Is utopia possible? How have fictional utopias had both a positive and negative impact on society? How do utopias shape our vision of society and ourselves? Each student will problematize the concept of utopia in a research paper on a topic of their choice.
Instructor: Dr. Michael Mulryan, Assistant Professor, Modern and Classical Languages and Literature

HONR 340:  Writing South Asia
It took the trauma of 9/11 to alert many Americans to the importance of South Asia—the so-called Subcontinent consisting of India and Pakistan—and nearby, Afghanistan; but America had been entangled with these nations for decades.   America cannot afford not to have good relations with them, given their size and location, not to mention that two of them both nuclear powers and historical enemies and that the unsettled border between two of them has spawned groups interested in global terrorism.  In this seminar we will read fiction by Indian and Pakistan writers—using imaginative truth, in other words, as a way into understanding the region.  Independently, each of you will study so-called factual sources to compare with and illuminate the fiction.  Finally, you will choose a topic to research, write about, and speak on.  “Writing South Asia,” then, refers to extant writing as well as that which you will create—in the interest of your understanding, and ours.
Instructor:  Dr. Jay Paul, Professor of English

HONR 342: Cabaret and the 20th Century
Not only does Kander and Ebb’s 1966 Tony-Award-winning musical Cabaret have a unique history of its own, but its subject matter and its very genesis go far beyond the Broadway stage, virtually framing the entire 20th Century artistically and historically.  Loosely based on Christopher Isherwood’s autobiographical Berlin Stories, its story is well known: cabaret singer Sally Bowles and boyfriend Cliff career through the early 1930s of Weimar Berlin as Germany lurches toward the horrors of Hitler and National Socialism.  But less well known is that Cabaret’s original producer/director, Hal Prince, chose to create this musical because he saw a disturbing parallel between Hitler’s Germany and resistance to the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ‘60s.  Legendary director Bob Fosse totally deconstructed the Prince version to win the Best Director Oscar for his 1972 film version of Cabaret, but he kept Kander and Ebb’s score.  The Fosse version seemed more about sex than politics, which in many ways was a perfect fit for the if-it-feels-good-do-it 1970s.  Still being modified to the present day, Cabaret has become a veritable bulletin board of musical theater history and artistry, and its storyline continues to remind us that the world as defined by post-World War I politics not only made Hitler possible, but its ramifications are still with us today.  Cabaret and the 20th Century will thoroughly study this musical in its many forms and use its study as a lens to investigate the larger movements which it reflects.
Instructor: Professor George Hillow, Department of Theater and Dance

HONR 344: Opera on the Stage, Street and Screen
"Operatic” has become a word to describe something “over-the-top,” a spectacle of larger-than-life proportions. Opera itself can be thought of as an art form of excess, combining, as it does, multiple media and artistic contributors. In this seminar, we will analyze examples of operatic spectacle on stage, on the street and on the screen. The seminar asks how spectacle in opera is connected to the uses of political power, and how changing technology affects our experience of spectacle. By attending local performances of opera as well as Live in HD simulcasts from the Metropolitan Opera, students will learn to evaluate specific productions and connect them to broader historical, political and technological developments in the modern era.
Instructor: Dr. Danielle Ward-Griffin Instructor in Music

HONR 345: Science on the Stage
This course explores through reading, discussion and research the symbiotic relationship between the sciences and the performing arts, and specifically, what unique factors make the dramatic text and the theatre an ideal medium to tell the challenging story of scientists and scientific knowledge. As E.O. Wilson states in his 1998 book Consilience, “The greatest enterprise of the mind has always been and always will be the attempted linkage of the sciences and the humanities”. This class will explore the cultural factors and paradigm shifts within the scientific and artistic communities that have created a flowering of contemporary dramatic works such as Arcadia, Breaking the Code, Oxygen and Copenhagen which explore the scientist and scientific knowledge as a central dramatic metaphor.
Instructor: Denise Gillman, Associate Professor of Theater

HONR 346: Cosmic Visions: The Ritual World of the Aztecs  
But what do we really know about Aztec ritual?Religion specialist Davíd Carrasco defines cosmovision as the way in which Mesoamerican cultures “combined their cosmological notions relating to time and space into a structured and systematic worldview.” (Carrasco, Religions of Mesoamerica, xvii)  This seminar will explore the way the Aztecs saw their world and everything in it. We will examine ritual manuscripts, historical accounts, and explore canonical art works such as the Calendar Stone to try and understand Aztec cosmovision.While essentially an art history course (we will be looking at a lot of art!), readings are from a broad range of disciplines including religious studies, anthropology, archaeology, and gender studies.  The course will begin with an exploration of Aztec sacred ideology and end with examining contemporary ritual in Central Mexico, however, it is not meant as a linear trajectory.  Each week the class will explore a particular aspect of Aztec ritual and continue to expand their ongoing ideas about Aztec art and culture.  Students will also explore how ritual has continued and changed after contact with the Spanish.
Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Moran, Associate Professor of Art History 

HONR 347: Trilogy Wars
The purpose of this humanities seminar is to understand, and make connections between, long mythic stories that their tellers form into trilogies or a "trilogy-plus" framework.  The selected examples of this type of storytelling are itself a three: three works from three different media and from three different cultures and time periods.  Through strong acts of interpretation (individual and group, verbal and written) the benefits to students should be twofold: (1) development of critical thinking and expressive skills and (2) familiarity with enduring works of artistic achievement.  The seminar's emphasis will be on epic-tragic narrative (how a hero or heroine participates in a great arc of action with great consequence) and on the common good (what type of society will result from these character choices).  
Instructor: Dr. Mark Padilla, Distinguished Professor in Modern and Classical Languages 

HONR 348.  Shakespeare:  Stage, Page, & Image
This course explores the enduring appeal of William Shakespeare in the Anglophone world through reading, discussion, & research that considers the works on the page and on the stage. Taking inspiration from Ben Jonson's well known observation that Shakespeare "was not of an age, but for all time," this class will consider what, specifically, draws actors & audiences throughout history to plays written more than 400 years ago & how those plays have been used to make meaning in key historical & cultural moments. Discussions & research will use Shakespeare's plays to examine how perspectives on artistic excellence, political power, gender, & ethnicity, have been contested from the first Elizabethan age to the second.
Instructor: Dr. L. Grace Godwin, Asst. Professor of Theater

HONR 350:  The Legal Voice
Legal Voice commences an exploration of the meaning and existence of law via reading, discussion and debate of great books by great minds, and great films by great directors about the essence, source and power of Law. Thoughtful inquiry of classic views of law and judicial principles leads to divergence and conflict; and thus will require development of skilled analysis of elements of universal legal principles. Succinct written and verbal expression of those principles will be a goal. Legal Voice employs unique research and presentation methods to develop an intellectual, rationally-based, modern understanding of complex legal principles. Legal Voice encourages understanding, analysis and clarity of expression and culminates in an opportunity for expression of one’s legal voice through writing, speaking and creation of a creative film.
Instructor: Dr. Stephanie Bardwell, Associate Professor of Management

HONR 351:  Brains, Minds and Machines
This course studies various theories of the nature of mind and applies those theories in an investigation of the possibility of strong artificial intelligence. What is consciousness? What is the connection between human minds and human brains? Is it possible, even in theory, for a computer to have a conscious mind? What is the connection between sentience and moral rights? If computers can become sentient, how, if at all, should their position in society change?
Instructor:  Dr. Lori Underwood, Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies and Dean, College of Arts and Humanities

HONR 352: The Mathematics of Games
In this seminar, we will discuss (and play!) games. From the seemingly trivial (rock-paper-scissors) to the consequential (prisoner's dilemma) to the lucrative (blackjack), games and game theory appear in everyday life. We will learn about using information and devising strategies that can help guide us to making optimal decisions. Topics will include zero-sum games, Nash equilibria, perfect/incomplete information, and applications (from politics to business to biology). We will explore when it is in your interest to play a game, when you should walk away, and perhaps most importantly, when to cooperate.
Instructor:  Dr. Heather Hardway, Asst. Professor of Mathematics.

HONR 353:  Infinity and Incompleteness
In the early 20th century, a number of paradoxes led to the crisis in foundations of mathematics, and warranted a rapid development of set theory and mathematical logic. This course will be an excursion into these intriguing subjects. The goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts of infinity, proof and algorithm, as well as their impact beyond mathematics. Set theory allows us to explore the intuitive concept of infinity in a very precise and effective manner. We will look into the notions of countable and uncountable sets, cardinal arithmetic (operating with “infinite numbers”) and Continuum Hypothesis. Mathematical logic provides a framework for analyzing the formal language of mathematics and the concepts of proof and algorithm. We will apply its tools to solving various logical puzzles. We will then focus on the famous Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem, which roughly speaking, shows that there is no algorithm for deducing all the true statements about the arithmetic of natural numbers, and thus, demonstrates the limitations of the power of computers. This topic will be further explored in the study of computability; we will see what makes some infinite sets of natural numbers “computable” and learn how to use the notion of a Turing Machine (a primitive abstract computational device). 
Instructor: Dr. Yevgeniy Vasilyev, Lecturer in Mathematics
HONR 354:  Computer Science & Theology:  an Interdisciplinary Dialog
C.P. Snow, in the Rede Lecture of 1959, ignited a public debate about what he termed the two cultures, Humanities and Science, and the gap between them. In this seminar we will investigate two subcultures, Computer Science and Theology, and discuss two questions: does Computer Science have anything to say to Theology, and does Theology have anything to contribute to Computer Science? To provide a foundation for our discussions we will study the relevant works of Dr. Donald Knuth, a Computer Scientist responsible for many of the seminal ideas of the field, and Dr. Anne Foerst, a Theologian who teaches in a Computer Science department. While there is no prerequisite for this seminar, familiarity with computers will be helpful.
Instructor: Dr. Anton Siochi, Associate Professor, Physics, Computer Science & Engineering
HONR 360: Arguing about Education
In this seminar we will work to understand and critique major intellectual and political arguments concerning education. More specifically, we will be thinking through different understandings of the function and value of education, along with their philosophical underpinnings. We will also be considering a number of historical and contemporary public issues or controversies involving education in the United States, including the Amish resistance to compulsory public education laws, the No Child Left Behind law, home schooling, and contemporary issues regarding the purpose and financing of higher education.
Instructor: Dr. Mark Steiner, Assistant Professor of Communications Studies
HONR 361:  Interpersonal Conflicts
The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the study of interpersonal conflict (including basic definitions of conflict, the positive aspects of conflict, and some important theories pertaining to interpersonal conflict). We will also discuss the dark side of conflict and look at how interpersonal conflict can manifest as anger, violence and psychological abuse. We will then turn our attention to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) practice of mediation including the theory behind the process, the steps involved, and the techniques mediators use to help resolve various forms of disputes. By the end of the course, students should have a basic understanding of what conflict is, how scholars study interpersonal conflict, and how to effectively use communication strategies to formally mediate their own, and others’ conflict episodes.
Instructor: Dr. Alice Veksler, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
HONR 362: Springing to Freedom:  Political Transformation through Negotiation, Civil Disobedience, and Peaceful Resistance
Governments typically have the upper hand over their constituents, for the former have weapons and armies while the latter usually do not.  Are people powerless or can they successfully mobilize and prove that brains could be mightier than brawn?  The purpose of this course is to study patterns of peaceful civil disobedience that constituents rely on to attain a specific or broader political goal (i.e. promote civil rights for people regardless of their religion or race or undermine a dictatorship).  We will examine theories of civil disobedience, explore classic texts by leaders who advocate the use of non-violent methods of resistance (Mahatma Gandhi, Václav Havel, and Kenneth Kaunda, among others), and address important questions concerning methods of civil disobedience and their impact on political change.  Here is a sample of questions we will be seeking answers to throughout the semester.
What motivates people to antagonize their governments?  What prompts them to protest peacefully rather than violently?
Are some strategies of protest and civil resistance more likely to succeed than others?
To what extent does external intervention or lack thereof help seal the outcome of civil resistance?
What is the relationship between civil resistance and liberal democratic outcomes?
How does technology affect people’s capacity to organize campaigns of civil resistance?
Instructor:  Dr. Tatiana Rizova, Asst. Professor of Government
HONR 371: The Classis, the Crass, & the Cult
This course investigates the demarcations, determinations, and fluctuations in notions of cultural value. We will study a range of texts (cinematic to literary, scientific to artistic), artists (Welles, Waters, Spielberg, Pollock, Carlin), and genres (horror, science fiction, romance) around which debates of cultural worth help expose the mechanisms by which notions of beauty, morality, universality, and artistry are fashioned.
Instructor: Dr. John Nichols, Associate Professor of English
HONR 372: Visions of Humanity in the Modern World
What is the human being? Does the human species have a purpose or a goal? What are the key differences that separate human beings from the other animals? What, by contrast, are the key differences between human beings and the divine beings? In this course we shall sharpen our gaze on these fundamental questions about humanity, focusing on a select group of authors from a particular period of intellectual history. Part One of the course is devoted to a slow and careful study of Machiavelli’s The Prince. In Part Two, we shall explore John Locke’s description and promotion of bourgeois humanity as the ideal human type; the clarification of this life of commercial bourgeois liberalism in the writings of Adam Smith and David Hume; and also the criticism of the bourgeois ideal from the likes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx. Part Three revolves around the simple question: is the modern dispensation good for human beings? We shall rely on readings from philosophy, history, or psychology (Rousseau, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud), others from the literary arts (Mary Shelley, Herman Melville, Cormac McCarthy)—all designed to help us see how the human product of modernity has been assessed, thereby bringing us to a deeper understanding of our own humanity.
Instructor: Dr. Brent Cusher, Assistant Professor of Leadership and American Studies

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CNU Honors faculty design classes and expectations to encourage rigorous, creative thought, developing assignments that challenge and stretch your intelligence. Through their mentoring, you will learn more about internships, prestigious scholarships and graduate studies. 

Dr. Stephanie Bardwell Dr. Stephanie Bardwell is an Associate Professor of Management and Business Law in the Management & Marketing Department of the Luter School of Business. She is a Sam Walkton Fellow, serves as an office of the national Small Business Institute, Secretary of ODK, and faculty advisor to SIFE. She is a graduate of S.U.N.Y. Albany with a cum laude Bachelor of Arts in History and Education; she holds a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, California and a Master of Laws in Taxation from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Dr. Michelle Barnello Dr. Michelle Barnello is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Le Moyne College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Binghamton University. Her areas of teaching expertise include a variety of American politics classes, such as Women and Politics, State and Local Government, and Legislative Politics. In the Honors Program, Dr. Barnello teaches Problems in the Modern World. She is the faculty advisor for Pi Sigma Alpha -- the National Political Science Honor Society. Her scholarly publications focus on women and politics and state politics. Currently, she is researching the effects of political party and gender on support of women's interests in the United States Congress. 
Dr. William Connell Dr. William Connell is an assistant professor of history. He received his Ph.D. from Tulane University in Latin American History and has conducted extensive archival research in Mexico and Spain. He won a Fulbright scholarship in 2000 and was recognized in 2004 as a Millennial Scholar by Tulane University. Dr. Connell recently completed a book entitled Indigenous Spaces of Negotiation that considers Mexica (Aztec) politics and self-governing institutions after the Spanish invasion of 1519. He is the author of several scholarly articles and has just begun a new book project which examines judicial violence and capital punishment in Mexico City from 1500-1800.
Dr. David Doughty Dr. David Doughty received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. As Professor of Physics and Engineering, he serves as CNU's Provost. His research interests include high speed triggering and data acquisition for nuclear and particle physics and distributed robotics.
Dr. Gayle Dow Dr. Gayle T. Dow is an Associate Psychology Professor, Director of the Creativity Research Lab, and faculty advisor for Psi Chi - the Honor Society in Psychology. She received her PhD in Educational Psychology from Indiana University, Bloomington, an MA in Cognitive Psychology from University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MA in Experimental Psychology from California State University, Fullerton.  She has taught courses on creativity, higher order thinking, giftedness, educational psychology, learning & cognition, reading acquisition, statistics, and research methodology.  Her research has been published in several journals including Creativity Research Journal, Journal of Educational Psychology, and Educational Psychologist.
Dr. Andrew Falk Dr. Andrew Falk is Associate Professor of History at CNU. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and specializes in the history of American foreign relations. He has authored a book, Upstaging the Cold War: American Dissent and Cultural Diplomacy, 1940-1960, and is working on a second titled Shadow Diplomats: Humanitarianism and the Refugee Crisis of the 1930s and 1940s. In each case, he examines the motivations and activities of American citizens and private organizations seeking to influence the direction of American foreign policy. His Honors seminar encourages students to do the same.
Dr. Costa Gerousis Dr. Costa Gerousis serves as an associate professor in the Department of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering. He earned his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Dr. Gerousis’s research interests include Nano-Electronic Devices, Neural Networks, and Architectures.
George Hillow Professor George Hillow has taught at CNU since 1991 and is a founding member of CNU’s Theater and Dance Department where he designs scenery and occasionally directs. He holds a BA in Psychology from Duke University, an MA in Directing from the University of Memphis, and an MFA in Scene Design from Virginia Commonwealth University. Professor Hillow is also a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829, the union of professional theatrical designers. He especially values the study of theater for its ability to act as a lens into the study of so many other disciplines, including history, English, the arts, religion and the social sciences.
Dr. Tina Kempin Reuter Dr. Tina Kempin Reuter is Assistant Professor of International and Comparative Politics at Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA (2006-present) and Director of the Program in International Conflict Management (2008-present). She got her M.A. (2002) in contemporary history, economics, and international law and her Ph.D. (2006) in international law and international relations, both with distinction, from the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Dr. Kempin Reuter was a visiting researcher at the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict , University of Pennsylvania (2005-2006), a research fellow at the Institute of Public International Law at the University of Zurich Law School (2003-2005), and a research assistant at the Center for Security Studies and Conflict Research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (1999-2002).
Dr. Geoffrey Klein Dr. Geoffrey Klein is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and the Vice Provost. He earned his B.S. from The College of William and Mary and his Ph.D. from Florida State University. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the National High Magnet Laboratory in Tallahassee Florida, he joined the CNU faculty in the fall of 2006. His current research interests include the analysis of petroleum related products and other environmentally relevant analytes. He has recently been published in a number of journals such as Energy and Fuels, Environmental Science and TechnologyAtmospheric Environment and Organic Geochemistry.
Dr. John Nichols Dr. John Nichols is Associate Professor of English and Director of Film Studies at CNU. Dr. Nichols' field of inquiry includes American cinema, particularly the 1890-1960 period, and the aesthetics of the visual. His current research interests include film appreciation and censorship, graphic novels, and Santa Claus in silent film. His Ph.D. is in English and Cultural Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Mark Padilla Dr. Mark Padilla received doctorate and masters degrees in Comparative Literature from Princeton University. He specializes in the Classics and film studies. His publications have focused on Greek tragedy and comedy and classical myth. Dr. Padilla began his education at the University of California at Santa Cruz, double majoring in Classical Studies and English literature.
Dr. Jay Paul Dr. Jay Paul serves as a professor of English and is Director of the CNU Honors Program. He earned his Ph.D. at in American Literature from Michigan State University and is the author of two collections of poems, Going Home in Flood Time (1999) and The Latest Monument (2014). His short story “Aunt Titus Nusbaum Toots in from Toonerville” received Honorable Mention in The Best American Short Stories.
Dr. Lisa Spiller Dr. Lisa Spiller is a distinguished professor of Marketing at CNU. She received her B.S.B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from Gannon University and her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri–Kansas City. She is coauthor of the widely acclaimed textbook Contemporary Direct and Interactive Marketing, soon to be released in its third edition. Dr. Spiller is also coauthor of Branding The Candidate: Marketing Strategies to Win Your Vote. Dr. Spiller was named the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation (DMEF) Robert B. Clark Outstanding Direct Marketing Educator in 2005 and she was the inaugural recipient of the DMAW-EF O’Hara Leadership Award for Direct and Interactive Marketing Education in 2008. 
Dr. Hussam S. Timani Dr. Hussam S. Timani is associate professor of philosophy and religious studies. He teaches courses on Islam, the Qur'an, women in Islam, theologies of religious pluralism, Islam in Western thought, and religion and globalization. His research interests focus on Islamic comparative theology, theologies of religious pluralism, and interfaith dialogue. Dr. Timani holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and is the author of Modern Intellectual Readings of the Kharijites (2008) as well as a number of book chapters and scholarly articles. He is co-founder of the Interfaith Forum of Hampton Roads and a frequent speaker on Islam and interreligious dialogue in places of worship and academic institutions. He has been interviewed on national and international radio talk shows including Radio Jamaica and NPR's With Good Reason. He has served as peer-reviewer for Oxford University Press and is a recipient of the 2009 Rumi Forum Education Award and the 2010-11 American Academy of Religion/Luce Summer Seminar Fellowship.
Dr. Lori Underwood Dr. Lori Underwood is Associate Professor of Philosophy at CNU and serves as Dean for the College of Arts and Humanities. Her main areas of research are the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, gender theory, and the philosophy of evil. Her areas of teaching specialization include logic, ethics, epistemology, philosophy of law and philosophy of mind. Professor Underwood earned her BA in History and Philosophy and her MA in Philosophy from the University of Memphis. She completed the Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Missouri-Columbia and her dissertation was on Kant's Theory of Truth. Professor Underwood has authored two monographs, "Kant's Correspondence Theory of Truth: An Analysis and Critique of Anglo-American Alternatives" and "Terror by Consent: The Modern State and the Breach of the Social Contract."
Dr. Linda Waldron Dr. Linda Waldron is an Associate Professor of Sociology. She completed her Ph.D. at Syracuse University (2002) with the support of an American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women and a Mass Media Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is a qualitative researcher, specializing in children and youth, education and school violence, race-class-gender inequalities, and the media. Her research has been published in several scholarly journals, including Youth & SocietySociology CompassSociological Studies of Children and Youth, and Humanity & Society. Her current research examines American schools and looks at the relationship between femininity and masculinity, aggression, and the rise of cyber bullying. Prior to coming to CNU, she worked as a TV News Producer in Atlanta.
Dr. Jonathan White Dr. Jonathan White is assistant professor of American Studies and a fellow at CNU’s Center for American Studies. His new book, Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: The Trials of John Merryman, was published by Louisiana State University Press in 2011. Dr. White has published articles in several peer-reviewed journals and popular history magazines; in 2007 he published an edited volume, A Philadelphia Perspective: The Civil War Diary of Sidney George Fisher, with Fordham University Press. Dr. White was also awarded the 2010 Hay-Nicolay Dissertation Prize by the Abraham Lincoln Institute and the Abraham Lincoln Association, which came with a $5,000 cash prize.
Dr. Xiaoqun Xu Dr. Xiaoqun Xu (pronounced: Shaw-chun Shue) was born in Shanghai, China and received his Ph.D. in modern Chinese history at Columbia University in 1993. He taught at Francis Marion University in South Carolina for eleven years before coming to CNU in 2004. Besides Honors 315 (History and Memory: The Boxer Uprising), Dr. Xu teaches courses in Chinese and Japanese history and other courses offered by the History Department, such as world history surveys, history methods and historiography, and senior seminar; and he has also led two Study-in-China programs. Dr. Xu has published two monographs,Chinese Professionals and the Republican State: The Rise of Professional Associations in Shanghai, 1912-1937 (Cambridge UP, 2001) and Trial of Modernity: Judicial Reform in Early-Twentieth-Century China, 1901-1937 (Stanford UP, 2008), and numerous journal articles and book chapters. He is currently writing a third monograph. In recent years he delivered invited papers at University of London, Humboldt University (Berlin), UC-Berkeley, Academia Sinica (Taiwan), Harvard Law School, etc. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Durham University in the United Kingdom in 2009-10. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and other awards.

Dr. Michelle Albert Vachris is a Professor of Economics and the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at Christopher Newport University (CNU).  She earned a B.A. in Economics from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University.  Before arriving at CNU, she was an economist with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the International Price Program where she worked on export and import price indexes and purchasing power parities.  She has since served as a consultant on international statistics for the BLS and the International Monetary Fund. She is also a past-president of the Virginia Association of Economists and a member of the Mont Pelerin Society.  Dr. Vachris’ fields of interest are Industrial Organization and International Economics, and she pursues research concerning economic freedom, public choice, and teaching pedagogy.

Gillman Bio photo


Dr. Denise Gillman is an Associate Professor of Directing & Dramatic Literature in the Department of Theater and Dance and a Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers Union member.  Her research, scholarship, creative activity and specialized teaching focus on plays that explore science and scientific discovery as a central dramatic metaphor.  Her knowledge and expertise on science based plays led to her invitation to present a juried paper on “The Dramatization of Science on the Stage” at the 2006 Oxford Round Table at Harris Manchester College.  For the past three years, her research, scholarship and creative activity have focused specifically on Emilie Du Châtelet, an Enlightenment physicist, mathematician and philosopher.  Prof. Gillman has directed several science based plays including two of the four plays about Du Châtelet, Legacy of Light and Great Men on Science Nos. 21 & 22.  Her research on Du Châtelet has taken her to The Huntington Library & Gardens in San Marino, CA, Paris and Chateau de Cirey in the Champagne region of France.  Prof. Gillman is the leading authority on Bertolt Brecht and W.H. Auden’s adaptation of the Duchess of Malfi by John Webster.  She directed the World Premiere production of this Brecht/Auden’s adaptation of Duchess of Malfi in Los Angeles which garnered critical acclaimed from the LA Times, Back Stage West, LA Weekly and American Theatre Magazine.  In 2011, she restaged her acclaimed production of Duchess of Malfi at CNU. 


Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Morán joined CNU’s Fine Art and Art History Department in Fall 2007, after graduating with her PhD from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Her main area of specialization is Mesoamerican art and culture; her secondary area of specialization is African art with a particular focus on transatlantic visual continuity and transformation in the cultures of the Caribbean. In 2011, she received a Fulbright García-Robles Fellowship and spent 9 months in Mexico City.

Dr. Michael Lewis received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado and then came to Virginia, where he has been ever since. His Ph.D. in sociology is from UVA, and Dr. Lewis has been at CNU since 2002. Dr. Lewis has taught most of the courses in the sociology program, but most often teaches sociological theory and criminology. His research focuses on social movements, particularly what factors influence social movement’s ability to pass laws in line with their stated goals.

dr. webb

Dr. Lisa Smith Webb is an Associate Professor at Christopher Newport University and is chair of the Department of Molecular Biology and Chemistry where she also sits on the Teacher Preparation Council. Lisa holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Tennessee, an M.Ed. in Science Education from the University of Georgia, and a B.A. in Chemistry from Maryville College. She completed her postdoctoral training in mammalian molecular genetics at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. During her nine years at CNU, she has taught courses in Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Technical Writing, and Science Education. Her research interests encompass the fields of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics and Science Education.


Dr. Elizabeth Jelinek, from CNU's Department of Philosophy, received her BA in philosophy from Wellesley College, where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.  After receiving her PhD in philosophy from Duke University, she taught undergraduate and graduate level courses as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, with a joint appointment in the Department of Classical Studies, at Vanderbilt University.  Her main area of specialization is Plato's cosmology; she also has research interests in contemporary philosophy of science and mind.  Most recently, she has published articles in highly ranked peer-reviewed journals such as Apeiron and Southwest Philosophical Review.  She has given talks on her research at the American Philosophical Association Central Division Meeting, The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Colloquium, and several colleges and universities in the United States.  This is Dr. Jelinek's third year at Christopher Newport University.


Dr. Dawn Hutchinson has taught for the Philosophy and Religious Studies department at CNU since 2004. She specializes in American Religious History, with particular emphasis on New Religious Movements. She is currently finishing up a book entitled Religion in America: A Cultural Analysis and has also published Antiquity and Social Reform: Religious Experience in the Unification Church, Feminist Wicca and the Nation of Yahweh (2010). She graduated in 1990 from CNU (CNC then) with a Bachelor’s of Music. Her MA is from the University of South Florida (2001) and her PhD is from the Florida State University (2007).

Mullryan Photo

Dr. Michael J. Mulryan is an Assistant Professor of French and French Literature, director of the French program, and faculty advisor for Pi Delta Phi—the National French Honor Society. He received his PhD and MA in French Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MA in Museum Professions from Seton Hall University. He has taught French language and literature courses at all levels, French phonetics, Business French, and courses in English on the European Enlightenment, the European novel, and Western drama. He is a French Enlightenment scholar, whose research focuses on the representation of urban space in the long eighteenth century. He has published journal articles in L’Érudit franco-espagnol, XVIII New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century, Cithara: Essays in the Judeo-Christian Tradition, and 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era. He also has forthcoming articles in Dalhousie French Studies and XVIII New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century. He is currently co-editing Eighteenth-Century Escape Tales: Fact and Fiction, which is anticipated for publication in 2015 with Bucknell University Press.