First-year Students

First-year students holding the top merit awards offered to incoming students at Sweet Briar, including the Commonwealth, Founders and Prothro scholarships, are invited to join the program. Other entering students showing academic promise based on their high school records also may be invited into the program. For more information on joining the Honors Program beyond the first year, fall semester, go to Program Overview, “Joining the Honors Program.”

First-year Honors Courses

First-year Honors students begin an Honors course of study by enrolling in a two-semester sequence that will introduce them to the kind of critical thinking, cross-disciplinary curiosity, analytical and creative rigor expected in Honors courses. The first-year Honors courses will introduce Sweet Briar's best students to each other, and create a sense of community and camaraderie among academically focused students. First-year Honors students should plan to enroll in one fall one-credit Honors Inquiry course and one spring three-credit Honors seminar as the starting point for earning Honors recognition.

Honors Inquiry Fall 2016

HNRS 106.01 - Blue Ridge History
Instructor:   Kate Chavigny; T 1:30-2:30PM  
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps employed millions of black and white men under the age of 25 in a massive effort to control soil erosion, reclaim farmland, protect forests from fire, develop national and state parks, and to provide paid work for young unemployed men. At least a dozen segregated CCC camps were active in the Blue Ridge and Virginia Piedmont near Sweet Briar. This course introduces students to critical thinking and historical argument through an exploration of archival and published textual, visual, and "built landscape" sources pertaining to nearby CCC activities. Include a hike to a former CCC camp in the Blue Ridge. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year Honors students; permission of instructor. CRN: 10083

HNRS 117.01 - Politics of Mass Murder
Instructor:   John Ashbrook; W 10:00-10:50AM
The question of genocide is a primary focus for those concerned with human rights and preventing its occurrence. This course explores selected genocides in the 20th century. We will delve into issues that deal not only with the experiences of the victims, but those of the perpetrators to understand how and why they acted in such a barbaric manner. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year Honors students; permission of instructor. CRN: 10081

HNRS 123.01 - Muzak Musicology
Instructor:  Jeffrey Jones; T 3:00-3:50PM
This is a first-year Honors Inquiry course. Hotels, restaurants, retail stores, nightclubs, vacation spots - for many of these commercial spaces, music is a form of sonic architecture that provides cultural context and facilitates trade. It is a way to make dollars by making sense of spaces and places. This course allows students to explore select theories and practices of sonic architecture in the music industry. It culminates with a class sonic architecture project that allows students to creatively apply the information and skills developed during the course. Prerequisites: Open only to first-year Honors students; permission of instructor. CRN: 10081

HNRS 108.01 – Building a Sustainable World
Instructor: Bethany Brinkman; M 12:30-1:20PM
This course provides a foundation for understanding and evaluating the environmental, social and economic impacts of policies, technologies, designs, and personal choices. The course will be taught through lectures, problem based learning, and case studies. Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions, propose (and defend) sustainable solutions to common problems, and challenge their own notions of environmentalism, risk, and technological progress. Towards the end of the semester, students will prepare research papers investigating the sustainability aspects of various topics of personal interest (e.g. the Rio Olympics, fracking). Prerequisites: Open only to first-year Honors students; permission of instructor. CRN: 10314

FY Honors Seminars Spring 2017