Honors College Summer Mini-Courses

The summer of 2018 marked the first set of the Purdue Honors College Summer Mini-Courses! Community members were able to join their peers in several engaging non-credit classes taught by Purdue faculty.

Participants were able to choose two separate three-day courses (9:00a.m. - 10:00a.m. and 10:30a.m. - 11:30 a.m.) and enjoy a coffee break in beautiful Honors Hall to mingle with fellow students between classes.

Examples of the courses offered over the summer of 2018 are below.

9:00 A.M. Courses

Mars Exploration

Exploring Mars: NASA's Search for Life on the Red Planet

Course Description:
In this mini-course you will learn about the surface of Mars. What is the surface environment of Mars like today, and how do we know that it was more Earth-like in the past? Discover what the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity found during their intrepid journeys searching for water on ancient Mars? What ancient environments are currently being explored by the Curiosity rover, and how will we search for signs of ancient life with the next rover mission, Mars 2020?

Dr. Briony Horgan is an assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, and studies the geology of Mars, the Moon, and analog sites here on Earth. She is on the science teams for the Curiosity Mars rover mission and the upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission, and uses mineralogy from the rovers to understand the habitability of environments that once existed on ancient Mars.


Powerful Pollinators and Bee Keeping

Course Description:
Pollinators, particularly honey bees, are responsible for most of the fruits and vegetables we eat. This course will focus on understanding the biology and natural history of honey bees, including some of the stressors that affect their health, and understanding the fundamentals of beekeeping. Over three days we will look into the biology and importance of pollinators, pollinator declines and their causes, as well as provide an introduction to beekeeping.

Dr. Christian Krupke is a professor of entomology with a focus on research and extension programs in field crop entomology. His principal research areas include documenting how and where agricultural practices can impact pollinator health. 

Wine Appreciation

Wine Appreciation: Honors Edition

Course Description:
Wine appreciation is a study of the history of winegrowing, global grape and wine production techniques, and the economic and political impact of the wine industry as part of modern agriculture.  Descriptive sensory evaluations of regional wine styles are conducted. This course is designed to provide an understanding of the nature of wine - its production, history, uses and related responsibilities.  Instruction is provided to develop your ability to recognize different classes, types, and origins of wines. 

Dr. Christian Butzke is a professor of enology in the Department of Food Science, and a member of the Purdue Wine Grape Team that serves Midwestern vintners and growers. He is chief judge of the Indy International, one of the largest wine competitions in the US and past-president of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture, the winemakers' professional guild.

10:30 A.M. Courses


The Human-Animal Bond

Course Description:
In this engaging course, we will explore the biological bases for humans’ love of animals, the health benefits of human-animal interaction, and the ethics of keeping pets.

Dr. Alan Beck has studied the ecological and public health implications of dogs in Baltimore, St. Louis, New York, and along the United States-Mexican border. His 1973 book, The Ecology of Stray Dogs: A Study of Free-Ranging Urban Dogs is considered a classic in the field of urban ecology. Dr. Beck has published more than 80 professional articles over 60 book chapters, and 5 books on the nature of our relationship with animals and is a founding board member of the Delta Society. In 1990, Dr. Beck became the “Dorothy N. McAllister Professor of Animal Ecology” and Director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue.


Trends and Issues in Autism Intervention

Course Description:
This mini-course provides an introduction to early educational and behavioral intervention for children with autism. You will develop an awareness of the evidence-base for autism treatment models and become familiar with current trends and issues related to autism intervention. Specific attention will be given to issues of pseudoscience and fad treatments for autism and to issues surrounding inclusive educational opportunities for children with autism.

Dr. Mandy Rispoli is an Associate Professor of Special Education at Purdue University, the Co-Director of the Purdue Autism Cluster, and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst- Doctoral level. Dr. Rispoli’s research explores functional behavior assessments and function-based interventions in educational settings, and innovations in professional development for teachers of young children with autism and challenging behavior.

History of Immigration

The History of Immigration and Nativism in the U.S.

Course Description:
It is impossible to understand the history of the United States without understanding Americans’ complex relationship to immigrants and immigration policy. This mini-course with provide an overview of the major political, social, and cultural responses to immigration throughout American history. It will focus especially on the limits of supposed “open door” immigration policies in the 19th century, on the implementation of restrictive immigration laws in the early 20th century, and on exclusions directed toward specific nationalities, ethnicities, and religious groups throughout these years.

Dr. David Atkinson is an associate professor in the History Department. He researches and teaches broadly in American history, including the history of migration and American foreign relations. He is most recently the author of a book entitled The Burden of White Supremacy: Containing Asian Migration in the British Empire and the United States.