Honors Notation Gateway

Hutton Honors Notation gateway courses

HHC-H 101 Education and its Aims

Why are you in college? What do you want to learn? How will being a university Honors student be different from ‘going to school’? This course aims to help students grapple with these questions through shared readings, expert presentations, and on-site visits. Texts and discussions encourage students to  articulate their own assumptions about the purpose of education, the nature of effective teaching, and how their individual learning may relate to social benefits.  Students are urged to consider how they understand themselves, the broader world, and their engagement with the learning process in order to prepare for a lifetime of learning and leading. (1.5 credits; offered in fall and spring semesters)

Learning Objectives 

  • Analyze own past experiences of schooling and education
  • Identify competing educational ideals, their underlying premises and assumptions
  • Assess others’ writings, ideas, and arguments in an analytic and rational manner
  • Discover the range of educational opportunities available at IU
  • Formulate intentional intellectual goals for the next four years
  • Recognize the purpose of reflection and critical thinking as life-long learners


“Of all the civil rights for which the world has struggled and fought for 5000 years, the right to learn is undoubtedly the most fundamental.” –W.E.B. DuBois

HHC-H 202 Knowledge Production and the University

Universities collect, preserve, and produce knowledge to address the universe of problems. Students in this PBL (Project-Based Learning) seminar explore one such problem: a current, real-world issue with strong social, medical, industrial, international, and/or environmental components. Working in teams composed of Honors students from across the campus, participants research a timely question, define necessary information, identify relevant expertise at Indiana University, and communicate their findings.

Students will gain further insights into the breadth and depth of expertise available at Indiana University but also learn to consider how knowledge is generated: how does each discipline frame questions? What kinds of evidence does it draw on, and what is its standard of proof? How does it define truth, and what does it consider to be knowledge? (1.5 credits; offered in spring semester)

Learning objectives. Students who successfully complete this course will:

  • contribute to a group problem-solving process while simultaneously learning to rely on others
  • examine issues from multiple perspectives
  • collaborate to devise effective research strategies and conduct necessary inquiry
  • locate and evaluate data and informational sources
  • interact with faculty members in a professional and active manner
  • communicate their findings in multiple formats to an array of audiences
  • manage their own work

Faculty Fellows/Instructors

Janine Giordano Drake (Clinical Associate Professor of History) researches and writes about American religious, social, and political history. Her first book, The Gospel of Church was recently published by Oxford University Press. In addition to her own teaching and scholarship, she works closely with high-school history teachers across Indiana as part of the Advanced College Program.

Jonathan Elmer (Professor of English) is a specialist in American literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Poe, Melville, Dickinson, etc.) and a world-class jazz trombonist. He has formerly served as director of the College Arts and Humanities Institute and as Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival. His latest book, In Poe's Wake: Travels in the Graphic and Atmospheric will be published by the University of Chicago Press in June 2024.

Jacob Emery (Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Slavic Studies) has published over twenty articles on Russian fiction, Nabokov, Marxism, and science fiction. He has also co-authored a fantasy novel (A Clockwork River, 2021) with his sister and has won awards for his teaching and graduate mentorship.

Ben Kravitz (Associate Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences) studies climate modeling and climate engineering. Author or co-author of more than a hundred articles, he also serves as chair of the Research Affairs Committee of the Bloomington Faculty. Before coming to Indiana University in 2019, he held post-doc positions at the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Jim Shanahan (Professor, IU Media School) studies the effects of mass media and science journalism on public opinion. Before coming to Bloomington as the Founding Dean of the Media School in 2015, he had faculty appointments at Cornell and Boston University. He is also a keen photographer and pianist.

Rebecca Spang (Distinguished Professor of History) currently serves as the Dean (interim) of the Hutton Honors College. A historian of money, revolutions, and restaurants, she formerly served as Director of LAMP, the Liberal Arts and Management Program at Indiana University. She has been named a Guggenheim Fellow (2022) and a National New America Fellow (2023) and has held visiting appointments at the University of Minnesota, Tübingen University, and the Yale School of Management.

Sarah Van der Laan (Associate Professor, Comparative Literature) researches and writes about the European epic tradition from Homer to Milton and regularly teaches courses about the adaptation of literary works for film or in music. She is a multi-year recipient of the Trustees' Teaching Award.

Quentin Wheeler-Bell (Associate Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) researches and writes about the intersections of education and democratic theory, concentrating on critical pedagogy and the philosophy of education. 

“A great number of people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” –William James