Dr. Jim Ford                                                                                Freshman Honors Seminar

jford@rsu.edu                                                                             HONS-1113    [ZAP 1393]

Office: Baird Hall 101A                                                             Fall 2010    

Office Phone: (918) 343-7749                                                    TTh 11:00-12:15 pm

Office Hours: 12:30-2:30 T; 11-2:30 W                                      Classroom: BH 103

9-11, 12:30-2 R; 11-12 F                                                            








“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow,
as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
-Polonius, Hamlet, I.3



Orientation to the Rogers State University Honors Program. Emphasizes the fundamentals of critical thinking and research skills, and encourages students to explore Western cultural traditions of liberal arts education. Includes reading and research in the student’s particular academic field.

Prerequisite: Enrollment in Honors Program.



By the end of the course, every student should be able:

1.      to articulate the goals and objectives of general education.

2.      to articulate the benefits of a University degree.

3.      to articulate a vision of the relationship between education and self-knowledge.

4.      to create, defend, and evaluate their self-portrait.



Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

Kate Chopin, Awakening.

Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

Nick Hornby, About a Boy.

Steven Johnson, Everything Bad is Good for You.

Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye.

Craig Thompson, Blankets.

William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

Available at the RSU Bookstore in Claremore.


The Rogers State University Honors Program supports the larger vision and mission of Rogers State University. The Rogers State University Honors Program aspires to challenge talented students to develop intellectual curiosity, intellectual rigor, independent reasoning, creative thinking, superior communication skills, strong leadership abilities, a system for ethical decision making, and a desire for life-long learning. Students with strong academic records and motivation to excel personally and academically join with select faculty to form a university community that supports outstanding scholarship, personal growth, and service.

The specific mission of the Rogers State University Honors Program is to provide an education in a collaborative, experiential, learning-based environment of faculty and students and to produce graduates of the program who act as agents of change in their academic, professional, and personal lives, cultivate the community approach to life and learning, hold lasting commitments to academic and social responsibility, integrate creative and critical thinking in diverse approaches to problem solving, embrace the principles and practices of the life-long learner, value pluralism and informed civic discourse, and explore technology and information literacy as critical resources for life in the twenty-first century.



This course will emphasize discussion and writing. I will regularly suggest questions pertaining to the material we will be discussing in the following class. Students should come to class prepared to address these questions. You will have to participate to pass this class. Always bring to class the book we are discussing.

There will be three three-page critical essays (approximately 1000 words each), an in-class midterm exam, a group presentation, and a final exam. Students will be assigned to a group by the professor later in the semester.

All essays must be typed and double-spaced, with margins of 1 inch. If you are using Microsoft Word, be sure to remove the annoying extra space between paragraphs. Unexcused late work will be penalized 10% per day. All essays are due at the beginning of the class period. Further details on the nature of these assignments will be given in class. Failure to complete any exam or to make a group presentation on your assigned date will be grounds for failure of the course as a whole.

            Every student’s final grade will be earned via the following:

Essays                                     30% (each essay=10%)

Exams                                     30% (each exam=15%)

Presentation                            15%

Participation                            25%


GRADING SCALE                 90-100 A              

                                                   80-89 B 

                                                   70-79 C 

                                                   60-69 D



Every student will be assigned to a group of 3-4 students later in the semester. During the last few weeks of the semester, each day one group will make their presentation. Basically, those students lead class for that day. Each group should begin by making a 7-10 minute presentation, and will then lead class in discussion the rest of the period. This presentation is 15% of your grade. Every member of the group must be in class the day of the presentation. Further information on these presentations will be given in class.



As discussion is a major portion of your grade (25%) as well as the heart of this class, your attendance is required. More than two absences will adversely affect your grade; five or more absences are grounds for failure of the course as a whole.



Students are expected to follow university policies as put forth in the institution’s Student Code of Responsibilities and Conduct. In accordance with Title 12 of The Student Code, instances of alleged academic misconduct will follow the policies and procedures as described in Title 12. As a general rule, Faculty at Rogers State University have the responsibility of enforcing the academic code. Therefore, if academic misconduct is suspected I will submit a letter of alleged academic misconduct to the Office of Student Affairs.

            Note especially RSU’s official plagiarism statement:Plagiarism is the representation of the words or ideas of another as one’s own, including: direct quotation without both attribution and indication that the material is being directly quoted, e.g. quotation marks; paraphrase without attribution; paraphrase with or without attribution where the wording of the original remains substantially intact and is represented as the author’s own; expression in one’s own words, but without attribution, of ideas, arguments, lines of reasoning, facts, processes, or other products of the intellect where such material is learned from the work of another and is not part of the general fund of common knowledge.”

Deliberate plagiarism and/or other forms of cheating are grounds for failure in the course as a whole.



In order to maintain an effective learning environment, students are expected to fully comply with The Student Code. Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. It is the responsibility of each student to read and become familiar with the policies of The Student Code.



Rogers State University is committed to providing students with disabilities equal access to educational programs and services.  Any student who has a disability that he or she believes will require some form of academic accommodation must inform the professor of such need during or immediately following the first class attended.  Before any educational accommodation can be provided, it is the responsibility of each student to prove eligibility for assistance by registering for services through Student Affairs.


My office hours are listed above. Please feel free to come by, call, etc., during those hours. If that doesn’t work, I would be happy to schedule an appointment at another time. Communication by email is especially welcome (moderation in this, as in all things...).

Finally, realize that it is not unusual for a course like this one to raise challenges to and doubts about some of our most cherished beliefs. It is important that each of us is sensitive to the views of those around us. At the same time, each of us should also be aware that controversial issues, arguments, and positions will be discussed in this course. If something bothers or offends you, let me know and I will do what I can.


Course Schedule


Aug 12            Th        Introduction


Aug 17            T          Plato, The Apology


Aug 19            Th        Plato, The Apology


Aug 24            T          Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I


Aug 26            Th        Meet with other seminars


Aug 31            T          Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act II-III


Sep 2   Th        Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV-V


Sep 7   T          Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Introduction & Vol. I


Sep 9   Th        Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Vol. II-III


Sep 14 T          Chopin, The Awakening


Sep 16 Th        Chopin, The Awakening                                              First Essay Due 


Sep 21 T          Salinger, Catcher in the Rye   


Sep 23 Th        Salinger, Catcher in the Rye                           


Sep 28 T          MIDTERM EXAM


Sep 30 Th        Meet with other seminars


Oct 5   T          Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?


Oct 7   Th        Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?


Oct 12 T          Johnson, Everything Bad is Good for You


Oct 14 Th        Johnson, Everything Bad is Good for You


Oct 19 T          Hornby, About a Boy             


Oct 21 Th        NO CLASS—FALL BREAK


Oct 26 T          Haddon, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time                   


Oct 28 Th        Meet with other seminars

Second Essay Due, Friday Oct. 29


Nov 2  T          Krakauer, Into the Wild


Nov 4  Th        Krakauer, Into the Wild


Nov 9  T          Thompson, Blankets


Nov 11            Th        Thompson, Blankets


Nov 16            T          Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Nov 18            Th        Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows                              


Nov 23 T         Group Presentations                                                    Third Essay Due




Nov 30            T         Group Presentations


Dec 2   Th        Group Presentations


Dec 7   T          FINAL EXAM          11 a.m.-1 p.m.


Note: This schedule subject to change as necessary.