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WVU Honors College names four Eberly College faculty as 2019-2020 Fellows

How does money influence politics, society and current events worldwide? What can films teach us about how everyday citizens view and understand important historical events? How bold and inquisitive should we be when facing the unknown? Students will have the opportunity to answer these questions and more this fall through new courses developed by the third cohort of Honors Faculty Fellows at West Virginia University.

Five faculty members (Christina Fattore, Christine Hoffmann, Brent McCusker, Matthew Titolo and Kathryn Williamson) were selected for this competitive program. Through their participation in the Faculty Fellow Program, faculty have the opportunity to experiment and create new curriculum through Honors College courses that also fit within the General Education Foundations course framework or service learning.

“This year’s cohort brings together a diverse group of faculty members with expertise across a wide range of disciplines with courses that will appeal to a vast number of our students,” said Dr. Damien Clement, assistant dean at the Honors College, who oversees the Honors Faculty Fellows Program. “We’re excited to see how these courses will challenge our students to think in new ways, and to give back to West Virginia.”

Faculty are encouraged to create courses that engage multiple disciplines and include opportunities for students to develop leadership skills and give back through service. Service, leadership and innovation are all essential parts of the Honors Foundations Program experience.

The courses will be offered during the 2019-2020 academic year. Each fellow will present a public lecture based on their course this fall, giving all WVU students and the broader community access to engage with the themes from the course. Fellows also participate in interdisciplinary faculty development activities throughout program.

Christina Fattore The fellows and their courses are:

“Global Politics Through Film” will use film to connect students to major events in global politics in the 20th and 21st centuries, helping emphasize the importance and impacts of these events on individuals and societies. Using both films and supplemental readings, students will discuss the core issues of global politics during this period, working to understand how entertainment products can impact political behavior and opinions, and how satire, comedy or drama can be used to make politics more accessible to the everyday citizen. Students will also apply methods and principles of critical inquiry to explore global issues and cultural, linguistic, or experiential diversity.

Christine Hoffman

“Allegories for Boldness” challenges students to conduct a literary investigation of boldness primarily through a survey of the Bluebeard folktale—a story retold from the fifteenth century to present in forms as varied as fiction, poetry, music and film. With the perplexing original moral warning readers to “Be bold, be bold … be not too bold,” the course will enable students to engage in broader conversations about the entanglements of folklore and history, making connections between the arts and today’s world. Students will ultimately compose their own adaptation of the tale.

Brent McCusker

“Global Development in a Changing World” explores international development, challenging conventional ways of thinking on the topic. Students will move from theoretical discussions of international development to applying this knowledge to the development policy cycle. Working to answer real-world development questions about development and international aid, students will learn data software, enabling them to collect and analyze large development datasets. Students will employ evidence to address the policy cycle at major international aid agencies.

Matthew Titolo

“A Short History of Money” will teach students to see the big historical and cultural picture behind policy debates surrounding money and debt in the modern world. Using primary and secondary sources, students will dive into a deep study of money’s entanglements with politics and society across several centuries. The class will discuss money, debt and state formation; current controversies over Brexit, the EU and the Euro; Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and other issues related to money’s place in the modern political and legal order.

Kathryn Williamson

“Ambassadors for Change in West Virginia” will help students develop skills in leadership and service, empowering them to network with real leaders and advocate for change in West Virginia. Students will learn about education and industry in West Virginia, immersing themselves in the issues facing first-generation college students. Students will learn how to plan and lead discussions, becoming leaders and allies for rural first-generation college students. Working with the National Science Foundation-funded First 2 Network, students will connect with first-generation participants in the network across the state, helping strengthen statewide ties and perspectives.

Through the development of these new courses, the Faculty Fellows program provides faculty with the opportunity to innovate, thinking deeply about course development and teaching methods. Faculty bring these new ideas back to their home departments, impacting the wider WVU student body.

“Our Faculty Fellows program is designed to create opportunities for faculty to develop passion-project courses, and for students to participate in these distinctive experiences as they are being designed,” said  Ryan Claycomb, acting dean of the Honors College. “In its third year, our latest slate lives up to that promise.”

The Honors College enhances the undergraduate experience for high-achieving students at West Virginia University by building a community of scholars who enrich their education in the classroom and beyond.