Course Profiles

Arts

Honors Course: ARTS 1304 – Arts History II

This survey of Western art establishes a historical framework of important styles, artists, iconographies, and techniques from the Renaissance through Contemporary times. Honors students develop visual and critical analysis skills to describe artworks and explain their larger significance. We focus on how artworks reflect the social and historical contexts in which they were produced and what they express to viewers. While we consider cultural perspectives reflected in art, we also ask how those perspectives resonate with viewers today. The class is divided into four units, each with a thematic focus: The Renaissance and Baroque periods, and the 19th and 20th centuries. During the second half of the semester, Honors students will undertake research projects on Contemporary artists culminating in a final paper and in-class presentation. The Honors format allows a more interactive learning environment, both in the classroom and online. Students have opportunities to self-direct their focus and develop original analyses of art. The Honors format also provides opportunities for field trips to the Blanton Museum of Art (UT) and The Art Galleries at ACC (TAG).

Honors Course: ARTS 2316 & ARTS 2317 – Painting I/Painting II

In Honors Painting you will learn the skills, techniques, and aesthetic sensibilities related to artistic expression in the medium of painting with an enhanced curriculum meant to challenge and expand your perspective as an artist. You will develop leadership skills through service projects and engage with the broader art community through gallery, museum, and studio visits and projects outside the realm of the studio. The course will culminate in a public group exhibition.

Astronomy

Honors Course: ASTR 1404 – Solar System Astronomy: “Life in the Universe”

This honors course deals with the age-old question “are we alone in the Universe”? It is an astronomy course that focuses on the scientific exploration of the cosmos and the search for extraterrestrial life. It will also include discussions on the most recent discoveries of new exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars than the Sun) and the latest progress in biology and space exploration (e.g. missions to Mars). We will also talk about SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. The lab portion of the course will provide “hands-on” experience for the students by performing astronomical observations using the telescopes at the RRC campus observing deck.

Chemistry

CHEM 2125 – Organic Chemistry II Lab

The goal of this honors course, Chemistry REsearch At TExas (CREATE), is to introduce the practice of modern chemical research. Students will be presented with a research question to prepare known and novel organic compounds for examination and use in solar cell materials. Students will learn to search, read and apply synthetic organic literature, synthesize known and novel compounds, characterize compounds using NMR, MS, IR, and finally examine those compounds for electronic properties. This course will be co-taught by faculty from ACC and UT Austin.

Communications

COMM 2366 – Introduction to Cinema: “Eroding the Edges of the Art Form”

This course will be a discussion/screening -based survey of the aesthetics, methods, history, and social impact of cinema, with a special eye for its transformative, alchemical powers. We begin with a look at other artforms and the qualities they share with cinema, then move on to its unique ways of conveying information and telling stories. We discuss how to intelligently create and consume it, and how it interacts with our larger culture and society. There will be an emphasis on looking at cinema as not just a way to tell a story, but as a complex artistic form with richly layered tools for many kinds of communication.

Economics

ECON  2301 – Principles of Macroeconomics: “Economic Policies” 

To fight the COVID-19 crisis, the Federal Reserve System reduced interest rates to almost 0, while President Trump signed stimulus bills worth trillions of dollars and approved a suspension of tariffs. What are the pros and cons of these policies? In this course, we will study the relevant concepts and models to analyze government policies, especially monetary policy, fiscal policy and trade policy. At the end of the semester, you will be able to evaluate public policies as an economist.

ECON  2302 – Principles of Microeconomics: “Entrepreneurs”

Creative destruction, Richard Florida’s creative cities, social entrepreneurship, and craft beer: all are examples of entrepreneurs and their impact on society. Principles of Microeconomics generally ignores entrepreneurship in the study of economic decision making. However, since Austin is widely known as an entrepreneurial hotspot, this course–within the context of the required introductory material–will explore various approaches to the impact of entrepreneurial activity on society.

English Composition

ENGL 1302 – Composition II: “Science Fiction: Classic & Contemporary”

This course focuses on science fiction ranging from the 1950’s to the present. Historically, science fiction has allowed writers to explore imaginative possibilities that are not readily available in more “mainstream” literature, and the genre continues to be a fertile ground for such possibilities, offering sophisticated critiques on a variety of contemporary issues. Students will read and analyze texts by a diverse group of authors, including Philip K. Dick, Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Joanna Russ, and N.K. Jemisin. Contextual readings focus on the traditional subgenres of SF (utopia, dystopia, alien encounter, etc.). SF films will also be highlighted in the course.

ENGL 1302 – Composition II: “Texas Writers”

Students will read short stories written by Texans and be visited by some of these would-be (or wouldn’t be) cowpokes. No need to wear boots, but expect more than a smidgen of Texas friendliness and fun in class.

ENGL 1302 – Composition II: “Queer Writing: Stories By & About LGBTQ People”

This course is designed to increase awareness of the importance of writing as a political tool, historical reference, and healing experience for the LQBTQIA+ community. Both LQBTQIA+ students and allies are encouraged to take the class. In addition to analyzing stories, essays, poems, and other art forms, students will be asked to connect with other ACC students and Austin-area LGBTQIA+ groups, converting literature into action and celebration.

ENGL 1302 – Composition II: “Magical Realism”

You’re wondering: what is Magical Realism and will I like it? Yes, you will, if you have interests in any of the following: surrealism, psychology, science fiction, fantasy, history, world cultures, and socio-political critique. Magical Realism stands alone in its own realm, but it incorporates all of the above. Because of the realism, the magical too is real: it defies belief and reason, yet is reasonable and believable in part because the characters don’t question it. We are torn, then, between skepticism and belief–a mild tension that entices. If you’re interested in graphic design and website construction, you are welcome too as we try to give visual form to the magically real.

English Literature

ENGL 2328 – American Literature II, “American Apocalypse: Wrecking and Rebuilding”

This course focuses on apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic works of American literature and film, ranging from the early 20th century to the present day. The goal is to foster an appreciation for the works of a wide variety of American writers, all of whom tackle the greatest challenge of our times (or any time): what if the world as we know it ends? What if we end? And if we still go on, how do we make the world anew? In pondering these questions by analyzing the literature and researching the context in which these texts were written, students will further develop their critical thinking skills; the variety of learning experiences in the class will encourage a close examination of the most fundamental problems of our times, stimulating a profound appreciation for the creativity of those American speculative writers who dare to imagine the unthinkable. Texts include those by Octavia Butler, Richard Matheson, Philip K. Dick, Paolo Bacigalupi, Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. LeGuin, Margaret Atwood, and Nnedi Okorafor. Apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic films will also be highlighted.

ENGL 2328 – American Literature II, “Literature of War”

Literature of War looks at the broad impact war has had on American society from the Civil War to current conflicts. Students look at war from the view of soldiers–both male and female experiences, families and the greater society while exploring how war is depicted in literature. Students will meet with authors and soldiers to get a closer knowledge of the psychological and sociological impacts of battle as expressed in novels, short stories, plays and poetry.

ENGL 2328 – American Literature II, “Post-Civil War African American Writers: 1865 and Beyond”

Post-Civil War African-American Writers examines African-American literary works from the early twentieth-century (Realism, Naturalism, and the Harlem Renaissance) to the literature of the Contemporary Period (1975 and beyond). Furthermore, students will explore the literature of the Black Arts movement and understand the overall Africanist presence in American letters. This course will emphasize civic leadership, critical thinking skills, and discipline-appropriate research skills culminating in a research paper.

ENGL 2328 – American Literature II, “Native North America”

This course offers the opportunity to discuss literature written by contemporary indigenous peoples of Mexico, the United States, and Canada. To enhance our understanding and appreciation of the literature, we will take a contextual analysis approach, i.e. socio-historical, political, and, of course, cultural context. For example, we’ll look at artwork, listen to music, and watch films. Artists include Bunky Echo-Hawk (Pawnee/Yakama), Darwin Cruz (Ch’ol) and Daphne Odjig (Odawa/Potawatomi). Musicians include Frank Waln (Sicangu Lakota) and A Tribe Called Red (First Nations). Films include Smoke Signals,Reel Injun, and Rhymes for Young Ghouls.

In addition to the award-winning artists and films mentioned above, we’ll study literature from authors such as Luis Alberto Urrea, Richard van Camp (Tlicho), Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo) and activists like Gloria Anzaldúa. We’ll read poems written in Zapotec and Nahuatl (translated into English, but it’s interesting to hear the spoken words from these indigenous languages of Mexico). We’ll read about gender identities in historical and contemporary contexts. In all, we’ll be discussing literature on topics of realism, magical realism, spirituality, and sexuality.

You may choose to volunteer at the Austin Powwow and join the class in a visit to the Mexic-Arte Museum. You may independently or collaboratively produce a piece of creative writing or a work of art to submit for consideration and publication in ACC’s literary and arts journal, The Rio Review.

Take this class and see why students each semester say, “How come I was never taught this before?” You will broaden your horizons as well as learn more about your own identity and worldview. Come meet the indigenous peoples of Native North America.

Upon petition, the University of Texas system will accept this course as meeting the Cultural Studies requirement.

ENGL 2323 – British Literature II: “Gothic Literature”

Gothic Literature and Its Popular Accomplices, newly minted as a British Literature 2 course, is the space where Professor Melissa Holton and students debate the meaning(s) of the concept of the Gothic within a literary and cultural context. We discuss Frankenstein, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Vampyre as well as more recent gothic texts in order to figure out why these works are scary, spooky, and relevant to us today. We complete 3 short papers and each student finds their own unique way into the Gothic in the form of a creative presentation at the end of the semester. Several field trips add creative spark to the course, including a ghost tour of downtown Austin and manuscript viewing at the Harry Ransom Center at UT. Events have also included musical performances, poetry readings, and puppet shows. Come find out why the Gothic mode of literature remains the most fun, rewarding, and relevant excursion into fiction possible.

ENGL 2332 – World Literature I, “Sense, Sex & Transcendence in the Ancient World”

Sensuality, sexuality, and mysticism form the core of many ancient belief systems. The course will draw on some of the oldest literary traditions as we explore food, wine, intoxication, eroticism, lust, and mysticism as reflected in the literatures of Ancient Greece, Egypt, Japan, China, India, and Europe. We’ll divide the semester into three sections; Section I: The Senses, Food, & Wine (experiences of the body); Section II: Sex (sensuality and sexuality seen in the relationship of the body and soul); and Section III: Transcendence (the ascension of the spirit). Students will explore topics of their own choosing after grounding their understanding in the texts of world masters including Rumi, Sappho, Li Bai, Sei Shonagon, Ovid, John Donne, Chang Tzu, The Bhagavad Gita, and Dante.

Government

GOVT 2304 – Introduction to Political Science: “Visions of Justice, Justice in Visions”

Idealized, utopian or dystopian visions of political life provide us fertile ground in which to explore the fundamentals of political science. Writings that hypothetically realize political principles form the basis of classical political science, and more recent works continue to productively enquire about the limits and possibilities of our lives together, while challenging us to question the desirability and justice of the received political orders in which we live. This Honors course places in conversation three core perspectives on human, political order: the theological, the rational and the imaginative. Our course will conclude with the study of two modern perspectives on the consequences of failed executions of political visions in the 20th century, and the forces that compelled the attempts to realize them and which perhaps still do. Expect engaging discussions, the opportunity to conduct original research and a final-project involving space aliens and performance.

GOVT 2305 – U.S. Government: “Undressing the Constitution: Philosophic Foundations of American Government”

This honors course in US Government will cover the basic information in the introductory survey course, but will place great emphasis on the political and philosophical thought on which our nation’s government, constitution, institutions, processes, and policies are based. We will complement readings in the textbook with source texts, as we seek to understand what kind of thinking motivated the framers to create a government unlike any the world has seen? For instance, we will seek not only to understand that our nation is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy and the self-guided pursuit of happiness, but how the founders came to those ideas and what they mean. Further, we will try to gain an understanding of and appreciation for the unique nature of American Government by setting it in the context of the classical political thought which preceded it, the modern political thought which spawned it and the contemporary political thought which challenges it.

GOVT 2305 – US Government: “Changes in US Government: It’s Not Just About The Vote”

In addition to the comprehensive one semester survey of United States national government provided in a standard course, this class will challenge students to think critically about the polarization of politics in the United States today and the historical context for political dissent, participation, and change over time. This will require a careful examination of both rhetoric and reality, and an exploration of political participation that includes but extends well beyond voting and elections. We will consider protests, civil disobedience, lawsuits, music, art, literature, film, television, movies, news media, social media, advertising and the like as forms of political participation.

History

HIST 1301 – History I: “US Wars in Film/Print”

War has played an important role in shaping the history of the United States to 1877. This course examines how military actions, broadly construed, affected the destiny of our country. We will examine the historical facts and contrast how Hollywood has portrayed these events in cinematic fashion in such classic films as The War That Made America, April Morning, The Patriot, War of 1812, The Mexican American War, The Horse Soldiers, Gods and Generals and Gettysburg. The objective of the course is to show how military conflict molded America within the broader framework of the our history and how Hollywood ingrained these events in the American public’s imagination.

HIST 1302 – History II: “America and the World in Film/Print”

War has played an important role in shaping the history of the United States since 1877. This course examines how military actions, broadly construed, affected the destiny of our country. We will examine the historical facts and contrast how Hollywood has portrayed these events in cinematic fashion in such classic films as Fort Apache, The Spanish American War, Sgt. York, Panzer, Saving Private Ryan, Tora, Tora, Tora, Das Boot, The Forgotten War, and Platoon. The objective of the course is to show how military conflict molded America within the broader framework of the our history and how Hollywood ingrained these events in the American public’s imagination.

HIST 1302 – History II: “Terrorism in America and the World”

HIST 1302 (“Terrorism in America and in the World”) takes advantage of the Honors format to provide students with a useful framework from which to interpret important themes in modern United States history since 1877, examining in detail the role of America in world affairs and, in turn, the influence of the world on life in the United States. Students will explore the evolution of “terror” as a coercive and often violent political tool in United States history here at home, as well as the place of the US in the current international “War on Terror.” For more information about course content, visit the instructor’s home page.

Humanities

HUMA 1302 – Humanities 1302: “Give Peace a Chance”

This course will focus on close readings of texts and analysis of works of art from creators from around the world who have advocated for peace, social justice, and nonviolent solutions to conflict. Give Peace a Chance will also integrate interactive exercises such as role-playing in which students can explore different conflict styles, practice nonviolent communication, and strategize ways to implement conflict transformation processes. While the study of violence is never far from the study of peace, this course aims to emphasize the works of individuals since the Early Modern period who have focused their creative output and social interventions on ways to develop a more peaceful, equitable world.

Mathematics

MATH 1342 – Elementary Statistics: “Exploring Social Justice Issues through Data”

Statistics is a way to quantitatively describe the world around us, and social justice refers to a fair and equitable division of resources, opportunities, and privileges in society. In this course, we will use statistical science and real data to explore various social justice issues. Topics explored will include, but are not limited to: police, school, health care, voting, and income data, broken down by race, class, gender, etc. We will ask tough questions about disparities that exist in society, and then examine the data to find answers. We will read and discuss current media articles that use Statistics to analyze social justice issues. Students will also do two projects, each exploring a social justice question of their own choosing.

MATH 2413 – Calculus I, “Applications in Engineering and Physical Sciences”

Honors Calculus I includes all topics commonly found in a first semester of introductory calculus with an additional focus on applications from the physical sciences.

Historically, the creation of calculus paralleled the rise of the physical sciences as a mathematical discipline. From this history calculus and the physical sciences share a deep connection. Students are encouraged to explore this connection through class work and projects. To aid in their exploration, students will use Mathematica to aid in complex calculations, and Excel for numerical calculations.

MATH 2414 – Calculus II: “Applications in Engineering and Physical Sciences”

Honors Calculus II includes all topics commonly found in a second semester of introductory calculus with an additional focus on applications from the physical sciences.

Historically, the creation of calculus paralleled the rise of the physical sciences as a mathematical discipline. From this history calculus and the physical sciences share a deep connection. Students are encouraged to explore this connection through class work and projects. To aid in their exploration, students will use Mathematica to aid in complex calculations, and Excel for numerical calculations.

Physics

PHYS 2425 – Engineering Physics I

This is a course on the fundamental principles of physics, using calculus, covering the laws, principles, and applications of classical mechanics, including harmonic motion, physical systems, and thermodynamics; and an emphasis on problem-solving. It is intended for majors in engineering, physics, chemistry, and mathematics.

This course includes software projects where students are asked to model a number of physical systems. For this purpose, we use Python, which is a high-level programming language used in many scientific, engineering, mathematical, and computing fields. Furthermore, Python contains powerful numerical analysis and visualization tools, which allow students to solve more complex and realistic problems that cannot be solved with a regular calculator. At the beginning of the course, students will be provided basic training in Python.

PHYS 2426 – Engineering Physics II

It contains the fundamental principles of physics for science, computer science, and engineering majors, using calculus, covering the laws and principles of electricity and magnetism, including circuits, electromagnetism, waves, sound, light, and optics. This is the second half of the calculus-based PHYS 2425/2426 sequence.

These classes include software projects where students are asked to model a number of physical systems. For this purpose we use Python or Mathematica, which are high-level programming languages used in many scientific, engineering, mathematical, and computing fields. Furthermore, they contain very powerful numerical analysis and visualization tools, which allow students to solve more complex and realistic problems that cannot be solved with a regular calculator. In the beginning of the course students will be provided basic training on Python and Mathematica.

Spanish

SPAN 1411 – Spanish I:  Spanish for Healthcare Professions

This course is a first semester Spanish course designed for students interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare field. The goal of this course is to facilitate better communication between students as healthcare providers and the growing Spanish-speaking community in the United States. Students will be encouraged to apply what they learn in the community by giving them opportunities for service learning in healthcare settings. In addition to acquiring communication abilities in Spanish through learning grammar constructions, vocabulary, and culture, students will expand their ability to communicate with members of the Spanish-speaking community within healthcare settings through investigation of healthcare resources and participating in original scenarios particular to the healthcare field. An important aspect of this course is learning about various cultural norms that may affect patient-caregiver interactions. Students will learn medical terminology and phraseology that is used with the context of the medical fields.

SPAN 1411- Spanish I:  Contemporary Film & Media Part I

Spanish I Contemporary Film & Media Part I will embark on an exploration of contemporary culture of Spanish speaking countries through viewing, research, and presenting on contemporary Spanish language films and media. We will start at home in the United States, then visit Spain, Ecuador, Mexico, and end in Puerto Rico. We will reflect on a minimum of three points of contrast with the target culture, as well as search for elements of connection to our home cultures during each lesson’s presentation (one group per lesson) and final project presentations (each student). Our experience will be enriched through additional readings and research. This approach will foster connectivity with communities from around the world to create a greater sense of belonging. Student reflections will be shared during our virtual meeting, each student group lesson presentation, discussion boards, and the final project.

SPAN 1412 – Spanish II:  Spanish for Healthcare Professions

This course is a second semester Spanish course designed for students interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare field. The goal of this course is to facilitate better communication between students as healthcare providers and the growing Spanish-speaking community in the United States. Students will be encouraged to apply what they learn in the community by giving them opportunities for service learning in healthcare settings. In addition to acquiring communication abilities in Spanish through learning grammar constructions, vocabulary, and culture, students will expand their ability to communicate with members of the Spanish-speaking community within healthcare settings through investigation of healthcare resources and participating in original scenarios particular to the healthcare field. An important aspect of this course is learning about various cultural norms that may affect patient-caregiver interactions. Students who took the Spanish 1411 – Spanish for Medical Professions course will deepen and expand their knowledge of medical terminology and phraseology that is used with the context of the medical fields.

SPAN 1412 – Spanish II:  Contemporary Film & Media, Part II

Spanish II Contemporary Film & Media Part II will embark on an exploration of contemporary culture of Spanish speaking countries through viewing, researching, and presenting on contemporary Spanish language films and media. This continued journey will take us through Cuba, Perú, Guatemala, Chile, and end in Costa Rica. We will reflect on a minimum of three points of contrast with the target culture, as well as search for elements of connection to our home cultures during each lesson’s presentation (one student-led group per lesson) and final project presentations (each student). Our experience will be enriched through additional readings and research with a LibGuide. This approach will continue to foster connectivity with communities from around the world to create a greater sense of belonging. Student reflections will be shared during our virtual meeting, each student group lesson presentation, discussion boards, and the final project.

Speech

SPCH 1311 – Introduction to Speech: “Identity, Sex, Gender & Culture in Communication”

Take a step further into being a cosmopolitan member of the emerging world culture. Music, food, sports, fashion, how to say hello, family, work: it’s all culture and how we communicate about it. Study how culture influences communication in contemporary society. This course examines differences in communication of cultural diversity. Topics include: identity, constructing differences and similarities of self and others, ethnocentrism, gender, emerging cultural trends, transcultural communities, cross cultural interactions, language, and the cultural influence of media and technology of global culture. Taking this course will satisfy the service requirement for the Honors Scholar tier.

SPCH 1311 – Introduction to Speech:  “Developing Leadership Communication Competencies”

Competent leaders can accurately assess situations, develop quality solutions, and effectively communicate these solutions to various stakeholders. This Introduction to Speech Communication honors course emphasizes leadership and communication. Therefore, students will assess their own attributes through self-assessments and reflection activities to determine effective ways to communicate with other people who have their own unique set of attributes. Next, students will incorporate this information along with leadership and communication research to address a problem in their interpersonal, small group, and public speaking projects. After completing this course, students will be able to articulate how their competencies and experiences are transferable to their professional and personal lives. Taking this course will satisfy the leadership requirement for the Honors Scholar tier.

SPCH 1315 – Fundamentals of Public Speaking: “Environment, Rights, Humanitarianism & the Rhetoric of Change”

As with other Honors courses, the course is limited to 15 students, creating the ideal speaking workshop to help you develop your own personal public speaking style. This is the class that unveils the public speaker in you. Student speeches and speech artifacts focus on the the Rhetoric of Change and making a difference by presenting speeches as a concerned citizen. Pick your cause; have a voice. Speech elements include: personal presentational style, confidence building, the elements of presentational public speaking, informative speeches, persuasive speeches, special occasion speeches, and preparing presentations (including research, organization, introductions and conclusions, audience analysis, listening, presentational critiques, and presentational credibility). Taking this course will satisfy the service requirement for the Honors Scholar tier.

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