Honors

Faculty Fellows

In addition to teaching an Honors course, Richland's Faculty Fellows are involved in the Honors Academy community by attending events and sponsoring co-curricular and extra-curricular activities whenever possible.

The Faculty Fellows for the Fall 2014 semester are:

Dr. Caroline Austin-Bolt, English
Phone: 972-238-6140
Office: A110 (Access)
About the Course: The Honors section of ENGL 2321 will focus on a survey of major British texts in their historical contexts. Specifically, the course uses history of ideas to explore factors that influenced the production of each text and to explore how each text addresses or even transforms ideas within its cultural context. Close reading and scholarly research are also emphasized, especially for the final paper. The course includes a midterm and final exam, as well as in-class discussions. .

Kacem AyachiDr. Kacem Ayachi, Government
Phone: 214-890-3840
Office: C286
About the Course: I hold a doctoral degree in Political Science from the University of Texas at Dallas. My area of expertise is Comparative Politics, which I think provides a necessary context for learning American Government in an increasingly global world. As we begin the new century, nations and governments have become more intertwined, the Government Honors course is an opportunity to discuss the American political system and its relevance to other governing systems. Students will participate in critical thinking and experiential activities that offer higher level of intellectual engagement such as film screening, attending exhibits and lectures, and developing material that brings an international perspective to class topics.

Dr. Jennifer BaggettDr. Jennifer Baggett, Biology
Phone: 972-238-6018
Office: L248
About the Course: For students majoring in science or pursuing an advanced health-related degree, the first semester of introductory biology is when you'll develop an understanding of the key biomolecules that create and maintain life. In Honors BIOL 1406, you'll take ownership for learning the basic concepts on your own so we can use more class time to discuss key experiments that led to what you learn about today, the new discoveries that will further our understanding of cellular function, and how studying individual cells can lead to applications in medical research and treatment. We'll also attend scientific presentations and visit a graduate research lab to see the connection between discovery and textbook knowledge firsthand. We'll use these experiences and our lab time to put scientific methodology into practice to advance your critical thinking and scientific writing skills.

Sara CardonaSara Cardona, Humanities
Phone: 972-761-6704
Office: F271
About the Course: I am a practicing, professional artist, with an interest in the intersection between visual art and theater. I hold a BFA from the UT Austin Plan II honors program, and a MFA from the Tyler School of Art. Humanities 1315 will offer students an opportunity to think about and participate in the creative process. The class will examine the role of artists in society and how images define and empower a culture. The class uses films, exposure to practicing artists, and live performances of music, theater, to further examine a variety of methods for communicating ideas, from beauty to protest.


Praveena Dhayanithy, Math
Phone: 972-238-6105
Office : L244
About the Course: In this course, we will discuss the concepts and objectives of Introductory Statistics. In addition, we will understand the role of analyzing data in selecting museum exhibits using a flipped classroom model, incorporating more discussions and cooperative learning techniques. Academic and civic engagement activities form an integral part of this course. I have two Masters Degrees in Mathematics, the first from Anna University in India and the second from University of Texas at Dallas and am currently working on my Doctoral Degree.


Jennifer Millspaugh, Speech
Phone: 972-238-3745
Office: C290
About the Course: Communication, or more importantly, effective communication is the key to a happy, healthy, and successful life. SPCH 1311 is often mistaken as a course on public speaking, but is in reality a course on improving your communication in all realms: within one’s self, intercultural, with social media, interpersonal, small group, and yes, public communication. In this Honors Introduction to Communication course, we’ll investigate how the changing role of demographics and the evolution of technology impact the way we communicate in all of these spheres. My goal for students who take this class is to gain new insights into how communication shapes us, and how we use communication to shape our world.


Robyn Robertson, Accounting
Phone: 972-238-6030
Office: B140
About the course: Given the fact that Accounting is the language of business, it is imperative for students not only to have an understanding of the subject matter, but also be able to communicate effectively in order to have a successful career, whether in accounting or another area of business. Students in Honors Accounting 2301 will have the chance to engage in a high-level learning environment and develop these necessary skills through a variety of learning experiences. Students can expect to develop oral and written business communication, to participate in discussion based lectures on current and historical events in accounting, and to apply accounting knowledge to analyze specific company’s financial statements.


Curtis Thomas, History
Phone: 972-238-6307
Office: C262
About the Course: In Honors HIST 1301, our study of US history will focus on the African American Experience with emphasis on the American Civil War. Students will work in groups on a regular basis, discussing primary source documents and presenting findings to the class. We’ll also develop your writing skills through one major term paper and several shorter reflections. Because it is my hope that this course will help Honors students gain a greater understanding of the many unique contributions of African Americans to the larger fabric of American society, you will also be encouraged to engage with the community through educational visits and community service to primarily African American institutions.

Doctor Ifeoluwa TogunDr. Ifeoluwa Togun, Psychology
Phone: 972-238-6140
Office: A110 (Access)
About the Course: Psychology is one of the most misunderstood fields of study. It is much more than the study of mental disorders. Psychology is happening all around you. It’s happening right now. You, reading this, is psychology; the decision to wear what you are wearing as you read this is psychology; everything you’ll do once you’re done reading this, from the mundane to the complex, is psychology. Everything is psychology. The goal, then, of this Honors Psychology class is to introduce you psychology’s vast universe, starting with an exploration of the small (how a brain cell works) to the grand (what would happen to the human mind during a three month voyage to Mars). The beauty of an honors class is that it is smaller and more flexible. We’ll watch films (documentaries and otherwise), have guest lecturers present past and current research, but above all, our main exploratory tool will be in-depth conversations in which we’ll share our knowledge (and you know a lot more than you think) and experiences in order to gain a fuller, more complete understanding of psychological principles. Won’t you join us?


Becki Williams, Chemistry
Phone: 972-238-6362
Office: SH279
About the Course: When you learn to think like a chemist, chemistry is fascinating and fun!    Chemists’ brains wonder and ask questions, identify patterns and make generalizations, uncover complexity and go below the surface of things, reason with evidence, and more!  This honors CHEM 1411 class will provide an opportunity for your brain to acquire an enduring understanding of some BIG IDEAS in chemistry by “doing” chemistry --- in the lab, guided inquiry activities, and thinking routines.  And, you’ll create an ePortfolio to make your thinking visible. How would I know about such things as the BIG IDEAS in chemistry? I recently served on a 10-member National Science Foundation funded commission that redesigned the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry course to help students develop an enduring understanding of the BIG IDEAS in chemistry.


Mary Wood, English
Phone: 972-238-6094
About the Course: In this Composition I course, students will learn the basic elements of academic writing while examining the idea of the American Dream. Students will analyze narratives, arguments, and other forms of communication that inform their understanding of both historical and contemporary issues in America. Students will be encouraged to cultivate a civic voice as they learn the importance of developing informed views on contemporary issues in our society.

If you are a current Richland professor interested in becoming a Faculty Fellow:

  • Any interested faculty should begin by discussing their interest with their lead faculty coordinator and dean well before the proposal deadline.
  • Once faculty and coordinator select a potential course, contact Dr. Jennifer Baggett for more information about the process and to receive a copy of the Honors course proposal form.
  • Submitted proposals should describe how your Honors course would achieve the Honors Student Learning Outcomes, focusing on ideas and activities you would like to develop.
  • The Honors Council will evaluate the proposals to determine the suitability of the course for Honors based on proposed content and anticipated enrollment and will inform faculty of a decision about their proposal as soon as possible.
  • All new Faculty Fellows attend an Honors Faculty Fellow training workshop prior to the start of their first semester teaching Honors. This workshop will help you develop your proposal ideas into a complete course, including providing tips and ideas from previous Faculty Fellows based on what worked in their Honors courses.
  • Note: Proposals may be submitted for a course already offered as Honors in anticipation of teaching it when the current Fellow's term ends or in case additional Honors sections are needed in an upcoming semester.

Proposal deadline for selection of Honors courses for the Spring 2015 semester is Friday, October 3, 2014.

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