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The Honors Forum is a 3-credit hour course required for graduation from the Honors program.

The topic, instructor, and meeting time change each semester to accommodate student schedules and interests. The class is discussion-based and students provide input into class activities. 

The course combines an emphasis on specific content and skill development in interaction, analysis, synthesis and conflict resolution. Students develop points of view concerning various issues and topics, articulate and defend those points of view, and challenge others as they make alternative judgments. 

Ethan B., student
An Honors Forum class gives you the opportunity to see other perspectives and learn from people with different backgrounds. It’s way more than just a class."

Spring 2020

Kansas Solar System Map

The purpose of this project is to utilize Kansas’s geography to educate students and the public about the scope and scale of our solar system. For JCCC students, building the Kansas Solar System will be an experiential learning opportunity with professional application. This project will create a to-scale version of the solar system that maps over the state of Kansas. In its digital form (progressive web application), anyone could determine their position within the “Kansas Solar System” relative to any location in the state. JCCC will serve as the “Sun.” Via the digital form, users will be able to learn about the scale of the solar system from any location in the state, as well as the relative size of the solar system’s objects based upon that location. There will also be a specified locations for the planets, Pluto, and other relevant objects. For example, Neptune, with a diameter of 3.4 meters, would be located at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson (if Hays were Pluto). In spring 2020, students will join professors from a variety of disciplines to create a design document and prototype (rudimentary) for a progressive web app (PWA) of the Kansas Solar System.

Native and Western Views of Nature

Native and Western Views of Nature examines Western and indigenous perspectives, attitudes and practices with respect to the natural world. The course consists of a comparative and critical, interdisciplinary examination of Western science and traditional ecological or environmental knowledge (TEK). The course explores both Western and indigenous methods of knowledge acquisition, and examines distinctions and points of convergence.

Black Hills Place as Text

This course gives students the opportunity to explore, via experiential learning, iconic prairie and forest biodiversity of the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota through coursework that culminates in travel to the region. The role of federal and state agencies in managing these species will also be explored.

Fall 2019

The American Dream: Focus on Education

While many believe that education is fundamentally important to achieving the American Dream, research suggests that there are socioeconomic, demographic and logistical limitations to equitable access to education. Educators themselves debate curriculum and policies, while students represent diverse background and needs that must be addressed by that curriculum and policies. This honors forum will explore various realities of education in America including access, applications, restrictions and predictions about the status and future of education. Through an examination of research, guest speakers, classroom discussions and projects, students will draw their own conclusions about the role of education in achieving the American Dream.

Summer 2019

Community Involvement: What Is the 'Community' in Community College?

This course introduces students to the importance of community involvement, specifically within a college setting, utilizing Johnson County Community College as the main text. Students will learn how colleges serve and benefit from their community, and will be encouraged to think critically about an institution’s community relationships. This course will help students develop a better understanding of the communities within a college and the reciprocity between an institution and its community with the aim of students bringing these concepts to their future careers and communities.

Spring 2019

Affordable Housing: Myth and Reality

This course examines issues and problems related to affordable housing. Poverty, race and gender’s relationship to eviction and homelessness will be analyzed within the context of public policies. An emphasis will be placed on local and regional data.

Food Exploration

Explore Kansas and the surrounding area’s food history and its future, food systems, nutrition, culinary and sustainability. This forum will include three days of travel during spring break.

Fall 2018

KC as Text: Focus on Art and Architecture

Kansas City is a city rich in historical significance. The city’s history can be understood through its vast and diverse architecture, sculpture and public monuments. Works of art and architecture will be examined firsthand for their artistic as well as their cultural, political and socioeconomic significance.

Spring 2018

Southeast Kansas as Text

Explore Southeast Kansas using the pedagogy Place as Text. Students will present information during the spring break travel times and do a theme-based project after the trip. 

The American Dream: Is It Still Alive?

Students will consider various perspectives on the changing meaning of the American Dream embedded in a greater global context. Students will familiarize themselves with the origin of the American Dream as a construct underlying the American experience and then expand that definition by considering multiple perspectives on what “rights” human beings have globally versus nationally. Students will listen to guest speakers, read relevant texts and view digital narratives in order to develop their own perspectives. Student-led discussion and projects will be paramount to the successful completion of the course. 

Summer 2018

Kansas as Text

Using the pedagogy of Place as Text with an interdisciplinary approach, students will research and present on an area in the state of Kansas.  

Fall 2017

The Causes and Consequences of Ecosystem Collapse 

While there is no single factor that predominates, a variety of human-induced environmental changes are now widely accepted as being drivers of ecosystem collapse. This forum explores historic and contemporary examples of social, economic, population and ecological pressures that compromise ecosystem health and catalyze ecosystem collapse. Faculty from multiple disciplines will offer insights throughout the semester to help inform our conversation about the causes and consequences of ecosystem collapse and to explore strategies to help mitigate current threats to ecosystems.

Previous Honors Forum topics:

Food and Cinema, Spring 2017

Sustainability, Spring 2017

Political Campaigns and Presidential Elections, Fall 2016

Kansas City: From Cowtown to Uptown, Fall 2016

A Change is Gonna Come – The Role of Music in Social Justice, Spring 2015

Kansas City: From Cowtown to Uptown, Fall 2014

Cultural Practices Surrounding Death and Burial, Spring 2014

The Evolution of Technology, Fall 2013

China: Why We Should Care, Spring 2013

Campaign 2012: Rhetoric, Reasoning, and Reckoning, Fall 2012

Our Place at the Table: Food in United States History and Literature, Spring 2012