Category Archives: Colloquiums & Seminars

Bob Woodward Visits ECU

By: Madeline (Madie) Fleishman, Sophomore EC Scholar

Pictured Left to Right: Lilian Faulconer, Bob Woodward, Madie Fleishman, Garrett Yarbrough

As a part of the Voyages of Discovery lecture series, Bob Woodward came to campus last week. Bob Woodward and his colleague Carl Bernstein are the journalists responsible for reporting the Watergate scandal in the 1970’s. Members of the Honors College were given the opportunity to meet Mr. Woodward in a small group discussion. During the discussion Mr. Woodward told us countless stories of his time in investigative journalism. He began by asking us how we find our information. Most people said the Internet, books, or people. Mr. Woodward told us that the best way to get information is through observation and personally experiencing it. He shared with us stories of times he used this himself. He told us one story about a piece he wrote on a coffee shop that ended up being completely inaccurate because he hadn’t bothered to go to the coffee shop himself.  This lesson will stick with the other students and I as we tackle challenging Honors research and our remaining classwork in our undergraduate experience. Mr. Woodward would remind us that there is always a way to experience our research. Additionally, we discussed the current presidential election and the controversy surrounding both candidates. The topic of most interest was the debate of whether Trump’s tax records or Hillary’s emails were more important to find. Woodward brought this conversation back to Watergate, proposing the question, what can we do to prevent another Watergate? The conversation provoked thoughtful discussions on crime, corruption, and prevention of scandal.

              Hearing stories and advice from a man that had changed the future of the US was inspiring. He taught me that with hard work and dedication, it is possible to change the course of history. Woodward was open with us about everything (except his sources) about his experiences and knowledge of current events and uncovering Watergate. I was incredibly grateful to be able to meet such an influential person and it was all made possible by the Honors College.

Honors Students Revised NC Highway Marker

By Jessica Nottingham, coordinator for communications and marketing

Alex and Victoria

A class project led two Honors College students to changing the historical memory of a dark time in North Carolina’s history, according to professors Drs. Margaret Bauer and Karin Zipf.

As part of a class project, Alex Stoehr and Victoria Bishop revised a Fayetteville historical highway marker along I-32 that recognizes Charles Chesnutt, an African American author.

“They revised the Charles Chesnutt marker to better reflect his accomplishments as one of North Carolina’s African American writers and educators,” said Bauer, chair of southern literature and distinguished professor in the ECU Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.

Rising sophomores Stoehr, an art major, and Bishop, a business management intended major, were enrolled in Bauer and Zipf’s spring Honors College seminar course titled Fact into Fiction: The 1898 Wilmington Coup D’Etat in History and Literature.

“Karin and I have both been interested in this dark chapter of North Carolina history for decades,” said Bauer. “I had enjoyed Charles Chesnutt’s short stories and found the novel he wrote that was inspired by these events fascinating. I’ve taught it regularly since moving to North Carolina.”

The original marker described Chesnutt as “Negro novelist and short story writer, teacher and lawyer. Taught in a school which stood here.” The revised description reads “Lawyer and writer whose novels and short stories dealt with race and the ‘color line.’ Teacher & principal, 1880-83 at a school which stood here.” A photo of the old marker along with the new text can be found at the North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program website.

“The North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program is a public commemoration of significant state events to reflect our shared historical memory,” said Zipf. “By their successful revision of the Charles Chesnutt marker, Alex and Victoria have shown that through knowledge one can help shape that historical memory in the most public of ways and for all to see.”

Delivered by faculty members across campus, the Honors College offers its students an assortment of interdisciplinary seminar courses every year. Bauer is an English professor and Zipf is a history professor, and they came together because of a mutual interest in the Wilmington coup d’état.

“We used a lesser known topic for which we both have a passion, and formulated learning and writing strategies that exceeded the sum of our two contributions,” said Zipf. “The students learned to become experts in a topic and to apply that expertise in unique writing assignments that required the exercise of critical thinking skills at a very high level.”

This course will be offered again in the spring of 2017.

“These students have realized, for one thing, how history repeats itself,” said Bauer. “In the course of the semester, we found ourselves finding significant echoes of the politics that led to the 1898 coup in current events.”


Honors Seminar: Breaking the Boundaries of Race

By Tricia Malcolm

MalcolmLet me be clear, I did not expect to learn as much as I had from my Honors Seminar, Breaking the Boundaries of Race. I have never personally noticed any racial injustices, but I suppose I wasn’t looking. I understand now that I am privileged, and that I need to be more aware of what is going on around me.

Now I believe that I am, and that I could help others become aware too. This class has really enlightened me because it divulges into everyday racism, involuntary racism, and even racism against your own race. Regardless of those lessons, my classmates and I have learned to develop actual solutions for East Carolina University.

With the increasing levels of racial violence occurring not only on our campus, but within our nation, we have devised a strategy to combat these issues. Our strategy is to gather a collective of students from different backgrounds and groups on campus, such as The Indian Student Association, and bring them all together. This collective is known as Coming Together.

Although, we are not an official group in the eyes of East Carolina University just yet, we are moving forward with the paperwork. Anyone interested can join our Facebook group and become involved in our movement.

A Collaborative Classroom: Honors Seminar Studies Stigma

By: Dr. Daniel Goldberg, Honors College Faculty Fellow

20160203_123422 In the course of conducting some research, I formed a basic question. The problem is that I I simply had no satisfactory answer to this question. The subject of my research here was stigma – specifically, why do humans seem to stigmatize each other so much? This is more of a puzzle than it seems. Here is why: Like most primates, humans are fundamentally prosocial creatures. Humans generally “do” better in communities; recent studies have documented that social isolation more accurately predicts sickness and death than obesity, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. In contrast, stigma is predicated on alienation and exclusion, and is universally regarded as one of the most intensely antisocial experiences in human life. Yet stigma is a strikingly common feature of human social life. In other words, humans are among the most prosocial creatures on the planet, and nevertheless frequently seem to act in ways that are powerfully antisocial.

Here, then was the paradox that was nagging at me: given that our social bonds are essential to a life of human flourishing, why do we stigmatize each other so much? This question immediately prompted other important questions, including but not limited to ‘[s]hould we try to diminish this tendency to stigmatize others?’ ‘If so, how?’ ‘Can we use stigma for just ends?’

In a flash, it came to me – not the answers, but rather an approach to seeking them: “teach and learn from the students in the ECU Honors College!” Since I was struggling to come up with a plausible answer, it seemed like a good idea to ask the Honors College students to help with it – to teach themselves and me in the bargain. So I designed a syllabus and a course proposal for what became our Spring 2016 Honors College Seminar entitled “Stigma, Its Paradoxes, and the Human Condition.”

We are about 5 weeks into our work in the course, and it has, as always, been a tremendous privilege to work with the dedicated and insightful students in the Honors College. My firm belief is that teaching and learning go hand-in-hand, and that seminars are our special opportunities as teachers to bring this idea home to roost. Thus, although I am an active researcher on the subject of stigma, especially as to health and illness, for our seminar, I am a guide, not an oracle. I do not dispense facts to the students so much as facilitate a deep discussion and analysis. The students teach themselves, they teach other, and they teach me.

Like everything I teach, the course takes an interdisciplinary approach, and explores the subject of stigma via readings and perspectives drawn from sociology, law, public health, literature, history, philosophy, religious studies, epidemiology, and public policy. It is a cliché, but teaching seminars in the Honors College is a true intellectual journey for me, and I hope for the students as well. I look forward to seeing where our path takes us.



The Global Classroom Experience

By: Tori Chapman, EC Scholar and Honors College Junior

tori chapmanLast semester, I enrolled in my second Honors College seminar called Culture, Health and Healing. It was perfect for me as Nutrition Science and International Studies Global Health double major! The class focused on health and healing practices of many different cultures and how to learn and respect cultural differences.

A major component of the course was the “global classroom experience.” We were able to video chat with a group of university students from Mexico to ask questions about their lives and culture, especially surrounding medical treatment. Questions we asked included: What do you do for fun? How do you view Americans? When you get sick, how do you seek treatment? This was a fun, educational interaction that really gave them and us an insight into the differences and similarities between our cultures. Interacting with people our own age from a different culture was a wonderful way to end our medical anthropology class!

To view descriptions of upcoming and past Honors College seminars, click here.

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