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Hicks Honors College

Honors First-Year Colloquium

About Colloquium

Honors First-Year Colloquium (IDH 1923) is a required Honors class that is designed to focus on leadership experiences, academic skills, and critical thinking. Many of the assignments are demonstrations of these important skills, such as networking, engaging in group work, giving oral presentations, effective note-taking, and understanding other points of view. At the end of the semester, students will create and present posters detailing topics they have covered or things they learned in their Colloquium breakout at our annual First Year Showcase. To view past posters please visit the First Year Showcase website.

Colloquium is broken into four themes, each focusing on a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal:

Students in NIM talk before class.

1. National Identity & Migration

Lt. General Richard Tryon

2. Self & Society 

Professor Will Pewitt profile.

3. Age of Revolutions 

Dr. Suzanne Ehrlich

4. Selfie as Self-Portrait

Colloquium Theme Student Video Testimonials

Important: All four themes have roughly equivalent expected out-of-class time commitments and required service-project components. 

National Identity & Migration

About NIM:

NIM is taught by Dr. Leslie Kaplan and is the largest of the three Colloquium sections, comprising of approximately 2/3 of all first-year Honors students. NIM explores the question of who we are as a nation, and how our immigration history and policies reflect and impact our identity.

This class will focus on Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions. People everywhere should be free of fear from all forms of violence and feel safe as they go about their lives, regardless of their backgrounds. 

NIM's service projects are annual projects prearranged by Dr. Kaplan, so when students sign up for NIM, they will also choose a Breakout group/project as well. 

Student smiling and pointing during Refugee Simulation

Students participating in the Refugee Simulation


NIM is taught once a week on Tuesday evenings during the Fall semester and offers students both the strongest Honors community experience of their university career through NIM's large lecture, followed by small breakouts, the most student-led experience in the college. 

Lecture takes place in a theater on campus, and is an Honors community-building experience where all 200 NIM students come together to listen to the same presentation, either from Dr. Kaplan or from one of NIM's many guest speakers. In addition, because of its size, NIM is able to include a number of large-scale events during class time in place of regular lecture including a simulation activity and interactive presentations.

Breakout occurs after lecture is finished, and is where students "break out" into smaller groups of around 20 students for the second half of class to work on their breakout's service project. Breakout is led by student facilitators, Hicks Honors upperclassmen who choose to return to NIM to help guide their first-year counterparts through the group's service project. Although breakout is considered class time, its primary goal is to help build a sense of community among first-year Honors students by having them work towards a common goal and encouraging them to share their experiences with one another. 

Soccer Breakout group playing with refugee children

NIM student taking a break from soccer 

NIM Lecture

NIM Lecture

NIM Breakout Groups:

  • Soccer
    • Coach soccer for and mentor local low-income, immigrant, and refugee K-5 children. Must have Friday afternoons available.
  • Y-Reads
    • Mentor and tutor local low-income, immigrant, and refugee K-5 children. Must have some availability in afternoons.
  • Tutors
    • Teach English to local immigrant and refugee adults. Must have some availability in mornings, afternoons, or evenings.
  • Philanthropy
    • Plan and host the annual Honors Gala event, fundraise for a local refugee charity and run a public relations campaign. Must have Tuesday afternoons available and attend the Honors Gala.
  • Events
    • Plan and host holiday parties for local low-income, immigrant, and refugee children. Must attend all events (Wednesday or Thursday afternoons after 2 PM).
  • Film
    • Create films and videos about NIM, Honors, and the local refugee community. No experience needed, training will be provided.
  • GIS
    • Work to create maps and mapping projects. No experience needed, training will be provided. Must be available Thursday or Friday 1-3 PM. 
  • Mentors
    • Work one-on-one with new immigrant families to help them adjust to life in the United States. Must have some availability in mornings, afternoons, or evenings.

Self & Society

Self and Society is taught by Lt. General Richard Tryon. This course focuses on the concept of Community and Belonging: who you are, who you want to be, what you hope to get out of your college experience, and how you can have a positive impact on our greater society and world. 

S&S provides an overview of all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals but has students choose 1 SDG to further examine. Students in Self & Society will fulfill their service project requirement by choosing a project as a class, and then deciding as a class how it will be completed. Because of its smaller size, S&S is able to provide its students with the option to participate in small group discussions covering assigned readings on cultural legacy and opportunity. 

Self and Society holds approximately 25 students. 

Students in Self and Society writing on a white boardSelf and Society in-class activity

Age of Revolutions

Professor Pewitt's AoR is a game-based simulation course where students will act out scenarios that place them in the world of America's founding. Students will develop deep insights into not only the famous figures of the American Revolution but also the less widely told stories of those whose lives impacted these momentous events-from the Indigenous to the indentured, from European princesses to Caribbean pirates, from ideas of the Enlightenment to the experiences of the enslaved. In doing so, students will encounter an interdisciplinary taste of how Honors courses reveal interconnections between various academic fields in ways that put students in control of their own intellectual journey. 

There are multiple options for the service project component of Age of Revolutions. Professor Pewitt will create a list of project options, and students can rank their project preferences around early to mid-August. 

Age of Revolutions primarily focuses on Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

AoR makes up roughly 1/6 of all first-year Colloquium students and meets once a week on Fridays. There are approximately 50 students in AoR. 

Model U.S lecture

Professor Pewitt's previous simulation-based course, Model U.S.

Selfie as Self-Portrait: Authenticity in the Metaverse

This new honors course, taught by Dr. Suzanne Ehrlich, invites you to be part of something bigger than yourself. Explore the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and see where your passions and skills can make a difference. Design innovative solutions for the world's greatest challenges and discover how you can grow as a person in the process. Together, we'll build a community of globally-minded change-makers. In this course, you'll also delve into the evolving relationship between technology and identity. How does AI shape how we see ourselves and others and impact communities? Develop powerful critical thinking, communication, and AI literacy skills as you grapple with what it means to be authentic in a tech-driven world.

Selfie as Self-Portrait holds approximately 25 students.

A group of students pose with dr. Ehrlich in a classroom.
Dr. Ehrlich and students from her (H) Design Thinking course.