University Honors College - The Honorable mention

New Honors Seminar SOC 469

Posted by Tim on November 12, 2018 in Academics, Honors Experiences, Honors Seminars

  • SOC 469 Seminar is now being offered from 2:00pm-4:40pm. To have this honors seminar added to your schedule, please email Allison at

This upper-level undergraduate and graduate seminar will investigate the intersecting politics of work, poverty, and punishment in America. This class will require extensive reading and intensive class participation. In it, we will explore topics such as mass incarceration and prison labor, race and citizenship, work and welfare, worker resistance and social movements. Students will gain a deep and broad understanding of these important and interrelated dynamics in American today.


Greiner Shared Interest Housing Information Session

Posted by Tim on November 28, 2016 in Academics, Honors Seminars

Are you a freshman Honors Scholar interested in civic engagement and in participating in a living/learning community of like-minded students? Consider Honors Greiner Hall Shared Interest Housing (SIH), which is an opportunity for first-year students to continue building a strong community into the sophomore year. Selected participants will live in Greiner Hall and be engaged in service for the full academic year (25 hours in the fall and 30 hours in the spring semester) with a community partner of their choosing. The Greiner SIH area will also keep Honors scholars connected to the college academically through a 1-credit fall course with guest speakers from the Buffalo community and a 1-credit spring course.

Interested students should attend our information session Friday, December 2, 2016 at 2 p.m. in 107 Capen Hall or contact Dr. Tara Jabbaar-Gyambrah at for more information. Students must apply by Friday, February 17, 2017; applications are available on the Honors College website.


African Politics Graduate Seminar (Fall 2015) w/Dr. Welch Seeks Honors Student

Posted by Tim on July 14, 2015 in Academics, Honors Experiences, Honors Seminars, Networking

Professor Claude Welch encourages Honors students to enroll in his African Politics Graduate Seminar in the Fall 2015.  Interested students must have Junior standing.  If interested, please email Tim Matthews: to obtain the required paperwork to enroll in the course.  You will receive Honors experience credit for this class.

Course Philosophy and objectives, PSC521, African Politics/*

This seminar introduces politics in the continent of Africa as a whole.

Cultural, economic and historic contexts will be examined, to determine their impact on political attitudes and change. After World War II, and especially in the 1960s, dramatic transformations occurred in Africa, especially sub-Saharan. Another wave of changes rippled through the continent, with the ‘second independence,’ the Arab spring (which started in North Africa) and related shifts.

The point is to share a common learning experience, enriching each other’s’ understandings in discussion and in research. To facilitate your learning, a textbook is available at the University Bookstore: Schraeder, /African Politics and Society/ (2^nd edition). The bulk of the readings can be found on reserve, on the course website via UBLearns, or through Google searches.

The seminar meets Thursdays, 1-3:50 p.m., in 502 Park.


PechaKucha Spring Honors Seminar Showcase September 29

Posted by Tim on September 15, 2014 in Event, Honors Experiences, Honors Seminars, Workshops

PechaKucha Spring Honors Seminar Showcase Sept. 29th

It’s already time to start thinking about your Spring Honors Seminars! On Monday, September 29th at 6:00 PM, 107 Capen Hall HSC will host an event called PechaKucha. This will be a series of rapid 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide presentation from the upcoming Spring Honors Seminar instructors. This will be a great opportunity to meet the instructors and learn more about their seminars. Those who attend will be given the opportunity to submit their top seminar choices a day ahead of schedule. 


New Honors Seminar For Upperclassmen! HON 214: Building Sustainable & Resilient Communities

Posted by Tim on June 17, 2014 in Academics, Honors Experiences, Honors Seminars, Networking

HON214  SUS: Building Sustainable & Resilient Communities

Fall 2014
Tuesday from 3:00 pm to 5:40 pm
537 Capen Hall
Ryan A. McPherson, Chief Sustainability Officer
520 Capen Hall;

Please email Tim Matthews to be enrolled in this course at:

Course Description:

Sustainability. The word itself brings up images of permanence, endurance, strength and resilience. These are the characteristics we all want for ourselves, the University, our community and the planet.  Indeed, long-term success and positive change depends largely on near-term decisions. The critical choices we make today must be shaped by economic efficiency, environmental resources and their thoughtful management, and empowerment of ourselves as students, faculty, staff and community.  In doing this we strive to evolve, build resilience and create a better tomorrow.

Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities gives our students the opportunity to gain first-hand experience working on relevant real world issues under the close supervision of UB’s Chief Sustainability Officer and community partners. This course enables students to expand their expertise in those matters that are relevant beyond the borders of the campus, while fostering campus-community professional and academic networks.  Students from a variety of disciplines will collaborate on a joint community project cutting across issue areas and will analyze a problem and its causes, listen to and understand community needs, embrace and respect differing views, identify sustainable solutions, craft implementation strategies and, at times, engage in carrying out the proposal.  Clients will be either government at the municipal, state, and local levels or non-profit organizations.  Specific partner clients include The Western New York Environmental Alliance, The City of Buffalo, Buffalo-Niagara RIVERKEEPER, Erie County, the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable, PUSH Buffalo, The Clean Air Coalition, Massachusetts Avenue Project, Go Bike Buffalo and many others.  Subject areas include, but are not limited to, climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, sustainable transportation, water protection, urban agriculture/aquaculture, green infrastructure, sustainable development and environmental justice.

The goals of the course are to give students the competencies in entrepreneurship, project management, and stakeholder engagement that are required to develop and implement sustainable solutions to real-world environmental problems. The course helps students think creatively while catalyzing positive environmental and social impact in a broader community.

About the Instructor:

In September of 2011, Mr. McPherson was named the University at Buffalo’s first Chief Sustainability Officer.  In his role as the CSO, Ryan connects people across the university with information, innovation, and tools to reduce UB’s footprint on the future and enhance quality of life by improving environmental stewardship, increasing economic efficiency and augmenting cultural values and awareness.  He specifically works closely with university partners and employs an integrated campus-wide strategy that leverages the university’s operations, curriculum, external engagement and research to further UB’s sustainability efforts.

Prior to taking on this new role, Ryan was the Associate Vice President for Government & Community Relations where he successfully led a multi-year New York State effort that resulted in the enactment of the most comprehensive higher education legislation in a generation.  Before leading the university’s advocacy efforts, Mr. McPherson was the Chief of Staff for the External Affairs Division and was responsible for day-to-day operational leadership.

In addition, he also played a pivotal role in creating the President’s Environmental Stewardship Committee, the university’s Climate Action Plan in driving a university wide approach to sustainability as well as establishing the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable and currently chairs the Western New York Environmental Alliance.  Previous to joining UB, Ryan worked in Washington, DC and New Hampshire advocating for greater environmental protection and democratic participation.

Mr. McPherson received his B.A. in political science from the University of New Hampshire and graduated magna cum laude from the University at Buffalo Law School with a concentration in environmental law.  He and his wife Alexandra have an 11-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son and live on their farm in East Aurora, NY.


Honors College Breaking Bad Seminar for Honors Upperclassmen Fall 2014!

Posted by Tim on May 7, 2014 in Academics, Honors Experiences, Honors Seminars

ENG 499: Breaking Down “Breaking Bad” *Upperclassmen Honors Scholars Only*
12:30-3 Mondays, 610 Clemens
Instructor: Bruce Jackson

To enroll in this class, please email Tim Matthews to be force registered in:  There are limited seats available and they will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Breaking Bad” was one of the most spectacular narrative achievement in television. Its five seasons comprised some 60 hours of a single narrative arc, something no film  or television program (cable or commercial) has ever accomplished. The original version of Erich von Stroheim’s Greed was a mere 8 hours; read aloud, The Iliad takes about 12 hours and War and Peace 24 hours “Breaking Bad” is one of the great epics. The acting, writing, cinematography, editing, scoring and settings were all masterful (the show won major award in all categories). It was a story made for television, not the big screen; some of the work would have been handled differently had it been done for a theater audience. It has already had a continuing cultural influence: the New York City bsed One World Symphony, for example, is developing an opera based on the “Ozymandias” episode in the final season.

In this seminar, we’ll take a close look at all the components of the series; we’ll talk about what was done, how it was done, why it worked. There is one prerequisite: that members of the seminar have seen the series before the seminar’s first meeting. We’re going to be studying it, not greeting it. We’ll look at some segments during the semester, but only so we can deconstruct the work. I’ll expect participants to do class presentations on different aspects of the epic, and a term paper on a topic of their choice.

My own qualifications for, and interest in, the story of Walter White are fourfold: I’ve made films, I’ve photographed extensively in the Chihuahuan Desert (where the series was filmed), I’ve written extensively about narrative, and I was senior consultant on the field segment of the drug report for the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice (usually called “The President’s Crime Commission”), which gave me the opportunity to spend a lot of time on the ground with people on both sides of the kind of action depicted in “Breaking Bad.”

In case it’s of interest, here is the Huffington Post article on this semester’s class:

and here is the UB Reporter piece:


PechaKucha Spring Honors Seminar Showcase Sept. 30th

Posted by Tim on September 23, 2013 in Competitions, Event, Honors Program Announcements, Honors Seminars, Networking, Registration and Seminar Information, Workshops

It’s already time to start thinking about your Spring Honors Seminars! On Monday, September 30th at 6:00 PM, 107 Capen Hall HSC will host an event called PechaKucha. This will be a series of rapid 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide presentation from the upcoming Spring Honors Seminar instructors. This will be a great opportunity to meet the instructors and learn more about their seminars. Those who attend will be given the opportunity to submit their top seminar choices a day ahead of schedule. 


Fall 2013 Open Honors Seminars

Posted by Tim on August 19, 2013 in Academics, General Education Requirements, Honors Experiences, Honors Seminars, Networking, Registration and Seminar Information

Spaces are available in the seminars listed below.  The open seats will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  If you are interested in one of the seminars, please email Tim Matthews:

APY 410: Cities, Citizenship and Engagement, Dr. Deborah Reed-Danahay
Wednesdays: 9:30-12:10 p.m.
110 Capen Hall

JDS 111: Arguing With God, Dr. Sergey Dologopolski
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 12:30-1:50 p.m.
110 Capen Hall

HON 252: Service Learning in Buffalo Public Schools, Dr. Joseph Gardella (UPPERCLASSMEN ONLY)
Mondays: 3:00-5:50 p.m.
134 C Greiner Hall

POR 402: Brazilian Film, Dr. Justin Read
Tuesdays: 4:30-7:10 p.m.
108 Capen Hall

UGC 112: World Civilizations 2, Instructor TBA
Lecture: Mondays and Wednesdays: 11:00-11:50 a.m.
Recitation: Wednesdays: 2:00-2:50 p.m.
Lecture: 109 Knox Hall
Recitation: 110 Capen Hall



BCH 502: Genome Annotation and Analysis Open to Honors Scholars

Posted by Tim on December 17, 2012 in Academics, Graduate School Programs, Honors Experiences, Honors Seminars

BCH 502: Genome Annotation and Analysis

Instructor: Marc Halfon

  • Lecture: Wednesdays, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Center of Excellence: B1-153
  • Credit Hours: 3
  • General Education Requirement: Elective
  • Please email Tim Matthews if you would like to enroll in this class: or 716-645-3020


One of the most exciting scientific developments of the past decade has been the complete sequencing of the genomes of many organisms, including humans. However, having a genome sequence alone is like having the full text of a book, but without sentence breaks, word breaks, punctuation, etc.—the information is there, but we cannot easily make sense of it. The task of the genome annotator is to provide this punctuation, i.e., to describe the positions of genes, regulatory elements, and other sequence features. This seminar will focus on sequences that control gene expression in the important research organism the fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster. We will discuss how genes are regulated and how researchers find and test suspected regulatory sequences. Students will be introduced to the concepts and conduct of genome annotation and analysis and learn how to use powerful web-based bioinformatics tools and resources through hands-on experience in a computer lab. Several guest lectures by experts in their respective fields will address related topics such as genome sequencing, the Human Genome Project, and the use of biomedical ontologies to describe data.

Throughout the semester, students will use this knowledge to work in small groups, both within and outside of the classroom, to curate the scientific literature for purposes of annotating the fly genome with known regulatory sequences. The completed annotations will be incorporated into the REDfly database, a UB-based resource widely used by bioinformatics researchers ( Thus, students in the class will be contributing directly to genuine and important scientific research with each completed class assignment. Students will also learn how to analyze genomic data and how to integrate existing datasets with their new annotations.

This seminar is geared mainly toward upper-level students with a basic background in genetics and molecular biology from having taken classes such as any of BIO 319, BCH 404, BCH 408, or the equivalent. Freshmen and sophomores with a strong biology background may also take the course, but should anticipate needing to put in extra independent effort to learn advanced biological concepts not yet covered. Class will meet weekly, but students are also expected to spend significant time outside of class working on their annotation projects. Course grades will be based on class participation and on the completeness and quality of annotations and analyses.

At the conclusion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Describe the basic principles of eukaryotic gene regulation
  • Place into context the value and limitations of having complete genome sequences
  • Use web-based bioinformatics tools
  • Extract relevant information about gene regulatory regions from the primary scientific literature
  • Annotate gene regulatory regions with information about sequences, gene expression patterns, experimental evidence, and the like
  • Make genuine contributions to the scientific enterprise by helping to populate genome annotation databases
  • Integrate genome annotations with various genomic datasets to develop novel insights into genome organization and gene regulatory mechanisms

About the Instructor

Marc Halfon is a native of New York state. He joined the UB faculty in 2003 following a bachelor’s degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard, a PhD in Biology from Yale, and postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Halfon is an Associate Professor in the Biochemistry and Biology Departments and a member of the NY State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. His laboratory investigates gene regulation and intercellular signaling using the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system and a range of genetic, molecular, and computational approaches.


Spring English Department Honors Seminar: ENG 400-Postmodern Culture

Posted by Tim on December 17, 2012 in Academics, Honors Experiences, Honors Seminars

ENG 400
Honors: Postmodern Culture
Professor Joseph Conte
T Th 12:30 – 1:50
Reg. No. 14777 

One of the “cultural turns” of postmodernism is the intensifying shift from a print to a media graphics dominated culture. The prevalence of visual media has been the site of a debate regarding the relationship of complicity and/or critique of art and architecture in postmodernism.

In support of the happy embrace of popular media in art and literature, the landscape designer and writer Charles Jencks, in Critical Modernism: where is post-modernism going? (2007), revises his argument that postmodern art and architecture have led the way since the demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis in 1972 in adopting an eclectic style that combines popular and elite forms, mixed media, and cross-cultural references. Fredric Jameson, however, offers a more skeptical and Marxist reading of postmodernism, described as “the cultural logic of late capitalism,” in which the contemporary arts are seen to have been at least partially compromised by their intimate relations with consumerism and multinational corporatism.

Supplementing our reading of these and other cultural critics of postmodernism, we will be examining a variety of works of postmodern art and architecture that have become “test cases” of what appeals to both populist and museum-going audiences.

To name a few, all of which can be found at Buffalo’s own Albright-Knox Art Gallery, when they’re on exhibit, are: Andy Warhol’s homage to Campbell’s Soup, 100 Cans (1962); Cindy Sherman’s untitled photograph of herself impersonating Marilyn Monroe (1982); the video artist, Nam June Paik’s installation of decrepit televisions, Piano Piece (1983), running looped footage; and Frank Moore’s painting of tourist videographers at the brink of the Horseshoe Falls, Niagara (1995). These works are either playfully ironic appropriations of popular culture; or they are coopted by the commercial and celebrity media they represent; or both. Interleaved with the art and criticism, we will read four books that, in the waning days of print literature, make art and popular media the subject of sophisticated literary fictions. Don DeLillo examines the relative power of the advertising image, religious mass hysteria, Warhol’s pop art, and terrorism in Mao II (1991). In Maus (1986), Art Spiegelman controversially renders his father’s experience in the Nazi concentration camps of Poland in the popular form of the comic book, combining personal history and the graphic novel. In Umberto Eco’s The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loanna (2004), an aging

Italian rare book dealer discovers a trove of old newspapers, comics, and photographs in his attic, and his life takes the shape of a graphic novel with its superheroes, heroines and villains. Nobel Prize recipient, Orhan Pamuk, reflects on Persian art, Istanbul and the prohibition of figural art in Islam in My Name is Red (2001). In addition to discussion boards on UB Learns for each of the assigned books, there will be a six-page midterm paper and a twelve page critical essay that will integrate postmodern theory, graphical and literary sources.