Honors College Forums to Focus on Climate Change, Crystal Bridges, and Smart Campuses

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Honors students will have an opportunity to examine one of the defining issues of our time, explore a new kind of ecosystem, and get a behind-the-scenes look at running a nationally prominent museum in the Spring 2019 Honors College Forum courses.

These 75-minute, one-credit-hour honors courses, designated HNRC 300VH in the University of Arkansas catalog, bring star faculty and top administrators together with honors students on a weekly basis to discuss trending topics, from contested political campaigns to Arkansas' winning track record in startups. 

"I'm delighted that Provost Jim Coleman and Professor Peter Ungar will lead the seminar on climate change, which increasingly impacts our planet and our future," said Honors College Dean Lynda Coon. "The Smart Campus forum, led by entrepreneurs and innovators Rick Web and Jeannette Balleza Collins, envisions a smarter, safer and more inclusive environment for campus and community. And what a tremendous opportunity for students to learn about leading a nationally prominent museum from many different perspectives! We're grateful to Crystal Bridges' leadership team for sharing their time and expertise with our students."   

Honors students must apply to participate in Honors College Forum courses, and seats are limited. Interested students are encouraged to read more about the courses and professors on the Honors College Forums web page. The final deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25. 

The Spring 2018 Honors College Forums include:

Climate Change is aimed at students interested in how climate works, how it's changing and how these changes are affecting the earth's fragile ecosystems. The course will explore the mechanics of climate, including the dynamics of our orbital path around the sun, how shifting tectonic plates change land- and seascapes, and the flow of oceanic and atmospheric currents. The course will also review various ways that we can reconstruct climate history and the relationship of climate history to the distribution of microbes, plants and animals. Students will evaluate how greenhouse gases are changing our atmosphere and its ability to absorb and reflect the sun's heat, and how organisms can adjust, acclimate or adapt — or not — to these changes. The course will be led by Jim Coleman, a professor of biological sciences and provost/executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Peter Ungar, a distinguished professor of anthropology known primarily for his work on the role of diet in human evolution. 

Museum will meet on site* at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and will be led by the museum's strategy team. Through the lens of current Crystal Bridges projects, the class will dive into current and emerging issues in museums, including the role of technology in an object-oriented field, the ways art can drive economic growth and sustainable tourism, best practices for presenting controversial art and subjects, and more. Through readings, discussion and collaborative projects, students will gain an understanding of how Crystal Bridges works and the challenges and responsibilities of museums, their leaders and their teams. 

*The Honors College will provide transportation to and from the museum.

Smart Campus will introduce students to a new concept: the "Smart University," a public, private and academic partnership that makes community connectivity a reality. A Smart University uses sensors, mobile apps and databases to connect its physical places — trails and sidewalks, buildings, athletic facilities, retail, roads and parking lots — to local innovators working across campus. A common technology platform is the backbone of this utility, bridging the physical with the digital in an entrepreneurial ecosystem, harnessing those among us who have the insight and drive to design, build and deploy civic-minded technologies. This forum will be led by Rick Webb, an industrial engineer who is cofounder and director of Grit Studios in Bentonville, and Jeannette Balleza Collins, a long-time supporter of the region's startup economy and cofounder of Grit Studios. 

Contacts

Kendall Curlee, director of communications
Honors College
479-575-2024, kcurlee@uark.edu

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