JWHC Course Descriptions

Students in the John Wesley Honors College take courses within four course sequences:

Christian Liberal Learning & Life Calling Courses

Liberal Learning and Life Calling Seminars are interdisciplinary studies of the foundational questions intrinsic to human existence (e.g., What is truth? How do we know? What is humanity? What is the good life? What is beauty? Who is our neighbor? How should we live?). Each seminar explores the nature and significance of one of these questions: most fundamentally, within the framework of historic Christian theology and practice, but also in the light of various relevant academic disciplines and contemporary ideologies. The ultimate goal of the seminars is to equip students to better understand the meaning and purpose of life by cultivating an historic Christian vision of human flourishing and the capacity to discern how this vision relates to competing conceptions of human existence.

HNR 170 Liberal Learning & Life Calling Seminar I: What is Truth? (3 credit hours)

HNR 170 focuses on the most central of these foundational questions: ‘what is truth?’ As the gateway course for the LLLC Seminars, HNR 170 introduces students to the nature and purpose of a Christian liberal education, provides them with a substantive overview of the theological narrative of historic Christianity and helps them to understand their lives within the context of a kingdom-of-God calling that thoroughly integrates intellectual, moral and spiritual formation. In the process of exploring the question of truth–what is its nature, how do we know it, how is it translated into everyday life—students will also learn about the theological/philosophical character of contemporary culture and society and how to engage the competing ideological narratives that shape and orient it.

HNR 175 Liberal Learning & Life Calling Seminar II: What is Beauty? (3 credit hours)

"Do we love anything but the beautiful? What, then, is the beautiful? And what is beauty? What is it that attracts us and draws us to things we love? For, unless grace and beauty of form were in them, they certainly would not draw us to themselves." Augustine's questions serve to orient this course towards an understanding of beauty and its relationship to the Christian faith. As one of the transcendentals, an understanding of truth and goodness without beauty leaves them without attractive power. Seeing the beautiful helps as we seek to rightly order our loves. It also helps us to understand the nature of God. By coming to see the beauty in all acts of creation, we can see the goodness of the created world because of God's past and continuing work within it. The beauty of the Incarnation and the Sacraments and the grace given in them are the most obvious points of this work.

This course will explore the definition and understanding of beauty and how it reveals God's nature. Readings will come from major writers in the field of Christian aesthetics, as well as the great philosophers of Western culture. Works of art (all the arts-visual, performing and digital), both historical and contemporary, will be examined. Through seminar discussions, writing assignments, creating works of art and attending art events, students will come to understand the importance of the arts and artistic expression for giving meaning to human life and the Christian faith. Prerequisite: HNR 170

HNR 270 Liberal Learning & Life Calling Seminar III: What is Humanity? (3 credit hours)

HNR 270 explores what it means to be human and traces how people’s various answers to this question—whether by design or default—shape the substance of their daily lives. The course focuses on what it means for humans to be created in the image of the Triune God and to live out the essence of that image in a fallen world. Readings will draw from the creation narratives, the Gospels, Epistle to the Hebrews, as well as disciplines such as anthropology, biology, psychology, philosophy and sociology. Prerequisite: HNR 170.

HNR 275 Liberal Learning & Life Calling Seminar IV: What is the Good Life? (3 credit hours)

The essence of the Christian life is rooted in how divine revelation and practices of Christian worship work together to afford us glimpses of the God we then seek to embody in our own lives. Despite God’s infinite nature, we can know God in a number of ways when we participate as whole beings in the lives graciously afforded to us. More integrated than distinct, this participation makes demands upon our hearts, souls and minds. Any attempt on our part to limit God to a singular dimension of our identity not only hinders our created potential but reduces the transformative power God seeks to have in our lives. Prerequisite: HNR 170.

HNR 375 Liberal Learning & Life Calling Seminar V: Who is our Neighbor? (3 credit hours)

HNR 375 focuses on the character of human community and diversity in light of Christian conceptions of creation, sin, redemption and reconciliation. Drawing on canonical and theological writings, as well as disciplines such as history, sociology, political science and intercultural studies, the course will help students to develop both a theologically grounded response to the question, “Who is our neighbor?”, and a well-informed understanding of how to embody their response in a variety of diverse contexts. Meets Intercultural Competency requirement. Prerequisite: HNR 170.

HNR 470 Liberal Learning & Life Calling Capstone: How then Shall We Live? (3 credit hours)

HNR 470 is the capstone for the LLLC Seminars. Students in this course draw on their theological work from previous semesters in order to formulate a ‘theology of vocation’ that integrates their understanding of the historic Christian narrative, their life calling and their anticipated profession into a holistic vision of human flourishing. Students will also craft an agenda for lifelong learning and character formation in order to prepare them to continue their trajectory of intellectual and spiritual growth in their post-collegiate lives.

Interdisciplinary Humanities Courses

HNR 180 Foundation of the Christian Tradition (3 credit hours)

This course is an introduction to the meaning and significance of the Christian canon of Scripture. Students will learn how to read and interpret Scripture as the heart of the historic Christian tradition, attentive to the interpretive wisdom that the Body of Christ has cultivated over the centuries. After an historical study of the formation of the Christian canon, an overview of various unifying theological themes in the Old and New Testaments and an introduction to the history of Scriptural exegesis from the early Church to modern biblical criticism, students will be instructed in the exegetical process and will be required to demonstrate their learning in the production of an exegetical work.

HNR 185 Rhetoric and the Sacramental Imagination (3 credit hours)

HNR 185 develops a student’s written literacy through practiced writing, dialogue and critical thought. Using some of the best Christian fiction and nonfiction prose as a gateway for all writing assignments, this course explores how one’s imaginative and rational thought intersect to shape one’s vision of beauty, goodness and truth. The classroom activities and writing assignments will develop a student’s skills in expressive, expository and research writing through an understanding and implementation of various writing patterns and strategies. The course’s texts, classroom discussions, research and written essays will highlight how the world and all that is in it are in constant interaction with the divine.

HNR 280 Wisdom, Culture & Justice through the Ages I (3 credit hours)

This course explores the social, political, cultural and literary developments of human history from the 8th Century BCE to 1600 CE. Through key historical sources and literary texts students will examine how various societies through the centuries cultivated particular visions of wisdom, culture and justice, as well as how these visions nurtured key historical developments. Combining elements and methodologies of both Old and New Historicism along with various literary methodologies—new criticism, structuralism, reader response, deconstruction, Marxism, cultural poetics, etc.—this course investigates the shifting paradigms of Western Civilization in order to help students to situate contemporary society in this historical trajectory. Must be taken concurrently with HNR 285.

HNR 285 Great Texts in Context I (2 credit hours)

This course explores the writings of the major authors of world literature from the 8th century BCE to 1600 CE. By analyzing key literary texts from the Ancient World, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, students will learn about the nature and character of the theological/philosophical narratives that shaped these literary periods. Students will also investigate how each of these major literary periods answers the following questions: What is truth? What is humanity? What is the Good Life? and Who is our neighbor? Utilizing the elements and methodologies of both Old and New Historicism along with the various approaches of literary criticism—New Criticism, Structuralism, Reader-Response, Deconstruction, Marxism, Cultural Poetics and others—students will author papers that compare and contrast the literary and philosophical assumptions of the various literary periods studied in this course to Christianity. Must be taken concurrently with HNR 280.

HNR 380 Wisdom, Culture & Justice through the Ages II (3 credit hours)

This course explores the social, political, cultural and literary development(s) of human history from 1600 CE to the present. Through key historical sources and literary texts students will examine how various societies through the centuries have cultivated particular visions of wisdom, culture and justice, as well as how these visions nurtured key historical developments. Combining elements and methodologies of both Old and New Historicism along with various literary methodologies—new criticism, structuralism, reader response, deconstruction, Marxism, cultural poetics, etc.—this course investigates the shifting paradigms of Western Civilization in order to help students to situate contemporary society in this historical trajectory. Special emphasis in this course will be placed on explicating “who is our neighbor” as we explore the cultural exchanges that occurred across the global community beginning with the seventeenth century age of exploration and ending with the anticolonial movements of the twentieth century. Prerequisite: HNR 280/285. Must be taken concurrently with HNR 385.

HNR 385 Great Texts in Context II (2 credit hours)

This course explores the writings of the major authors of world literature from 1600 CE to the present. By analyzing key literary texts from the Age of Enlightenment through the Twentieth Century, students will learn about the nature and character of the theological/philosophical narratives that shaped these periods of literature. Students will also investigate how each of these major literary periods answers the following questions: What is truth? What is humanity? What is the Good Life? and Who is our neighbor? Utilizing elements and methodologies of both Old and New Historicism, students will author papers that compare and contrast the literary and philosophical assumptions of the various literary periods studied in the course to Christianity. Prerequisite: HNR 280/285. Must be taken concurrently with HNR 380.

HNR 480 Advanced Topic in Interdisciplinary Humanities (3 credit hours)

As an advanced interdisciplinary study of issues related to human life and society, this course will explore the meaning and significance of a contemporary topic through the lenses of multiple academic disciplines. The course topic and the disciplinary methodologies employed will vary from one semester to the next. Ideally, the course will be team taught by faculty members whose expertise helps to nurture its interdisciplinary approach. Ultimately, the course will require students to integrate the knowledge and insights of their interdisciplinary study into their vision of life calling and human flourishing.

HNR 325 Honors Research Tutorial (3 credit hours)

Because students experience greater intellectual growth and maturity when their learning experiences are rooted in inquiry and discovery, undergraduate research is a staple of the JWHC curriculum from the freshman through the senior year. JWHC students work collaboratively with faculty researchers from a variety of academic areas to engage real-world problems in Honors Research Tutorials.

Honors Research and Scholarship Courses

Through Honors Scholarship Projects, students pursue their own research and creative projects under the mentorship of a professor in their discipline, presenting their work at IWU's annual Celebration of Scholarship. Such experiences develop a critical appreciation for the relevance of liberal learning and scholarly inquiry to daily life, and they strengthen intellectual skills that are essential to creative and thoughtful servant leadership (e.g., analytical thinking, critical and reflective reading, well-expressed writing and articulate oral communication).

HNR 350 Honors Research Seminar (3 credit hours)

Honor Research Seminar prepares students to begin their Honors Scholarship Projects. In this course, students select a faculty mentor, complete a review of relevant literature and draft a prospectus.

HNR 497-489 Honors Scholarship Project I and II (3 credit hours between both courses)

The Honors Scholarship Project is completed over the course of two semesters. Students decide with their faculty mentors how the three-hour requirement will be distributed across the two semesters. Students may petition to pursue an Honors Scholarship Project of more than three hours (up to six hours).

HNR 499 Honors Scholarship Presentation (0-1 credit hour)

In HNR 499, students receive credit for presenting their work at Celebration of Scholarship or another campus venue. Students are also encouraged to publish their work and to submit it for presentation at off-campus conferences. Finally, students submit their Communication Portfolios to receive credit for their communication competency.

Honors Practica

HNR 130 Practices of the Faithful: Called to Love (0-1 credit hour)

This course explores many of the Christian practices—such as Sabbath-keeping, prayer, service, and study of Scripture—through which God has sustained faithful Christians across the centuries. Students engage in each practice that is discussed and reflect on the role of Christian practices in their own life calling as participants in God’s love. HNR 130 also assists incoming freshmen with the college transition. Reserved for students with freshmen standing in the John Wesley Honors College.

HNR 135 Practices of the Faithful: Called to Create (0-1 credit hour)

This course continues to explore Christian practices through which God has sustained faithful Christians across the centuries, paying particular attention to those that redeem the imagination and cultivate students’ creativity as image bearers of God and as part of their life calling.

HNR 230 Habits of Faithfulness in One's Life Calling (0-1 credit hour)

Students explore how the Christian practices that students participated in during HNR 130 and HNR 135 might be drawn together into lifelong habits of faithfulness that sustain their life calling.

HNR 330 Practices of Redemptive Communities (0-1 credit hour)

In this course, students continue to explore the incarnational nature of servant leadership and consider how servant leaders foster redemptive forms of diverse communities. Students also begin to consider post-graduation plans for servant leadership and the transition to life after college. Reserved for students with junior standing in the John Wesley Honors College.

HNR 430 Capstone (0-1 credit)

In this course, students continue to consider post-graduation plans for servant leadership and the transition to life after college. Reserved for students with senior standing in the John Wesley Honors College.