Unique course opportunities are at the core of the Berkshire Honors Scholars Program. With small class sizes and close access to faculty, Honors Scholars can enjoy all of the opportunities that Berkshire Community College offers. Students who complete the Berkshire Honors Scholars Program can transfer into Commonwealth Honors programs at public colleges and Universities across Massachusetts.
Spring 2022 Semester Course Offerings:
HON-298G Gothic Literature & Horror Film
Professor: Chuck Prescott
On-campus: Hybrid, Wednesday 12:30 - 1:45 (room H-201)
Catalog Course Description: An exploration of the Gothic novel from its origins to the current cultural movement, and its evolution into horror film. The course will examine how "classic" Gothic devices and conventions were employed by such authors as Shelley, Poe, Stevenson, Stoker, and King, and how those conventions developed in film throughout the twentieth century. This colloquium will include literary, historical, psychological and sociological approaches to "horror." Admission in Berkshire Honors Scholar program required. Prerequisite Skills: ENG 020 & ENG 090 | Recommended: Six credits of composition
Additional Statement from Professor Prescott:
Why do monsters continue to intrigue us? Gothic fiction has explored the "monstrous" since the mid-1700s and continues to recycle and reinvent itself today. This course will explore classic Gothic texts by Monk Lewis, Mary Shelley, Poe, Stoker, and Stephen King, with emphasis on the social history surrounding the texts. We will also watch and discuss a series of horror films, considering how they incorporate the major elements of the Gothic tradition and create their own iconography. Finally, we will close by discussing the film Get Out (2015) to consider how images of monstrosity continue to resonate in our own society. Plus, zombies as a figure of anxiety for global pandemics. What could be more timely than that?
Note that this course will be in-person hybrid, meaning that we will meet once a week on campus with extensive online interaction as well. However, students will have the option to participate remotely through Zoom via the OWL meeting camera, meaning you do not need to come to campus to participate. Email Professor Prescott if you would like additional explanation.
HUM 148H Honors: The 1960s in the US
Professor: Charles Park
On-campus: Hybrid, Tuesday 11:00 - 12:15 (room M-211)
Catalog Course Description: An investigation of the people, politics, and prose of a critical era in American history. This course includes a study of the Civil Rights Movement, the New Feminism, and the war in Vietnam as well as the art, music, and literature of the period. In addition to books, films and other media are used to bring home the reality of the era. Membership in the Berkshire Honors Scholar program required. Prerequisite: Three credits of composition, or permission of the instructor.
Additional Statement from Professor Park:As we turn our gaze towards the US in these early years of the 2020s, it is hard not to see the comparisons to the tumult of the 1960s. Protest against racial injustices and police violence against Black Americans. Marches for gender equality and for recognition of gays and lesbians. Concerns over the environment. Shifting ideologies in politics and a nation divided over cultural, economic, and social values. Debates over immigration policy. Technological changes in the way news is disseminated and how we experience what is happening around us. The role that young people play in politics, culture, and direction of the nation. These are all issues that are familiar to us, but each has their roots in the transformative decade that was the 1960s. In this class, we will examine the causes and legacies of movements that shaped the United States during the “long” 1960s, beginning with the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56 and ending with the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam in 1973. The course will focus on primary documents and eyewitness accounts, as well as scholarly analysis, to examine why the 1960s happened, and what this decade can teach us about where our nation is today.
ENG-104 Honors Composition II
Professor: Nell McCabe
Online: Hybrid-Virtual, Thursday 11:00 - 12:15 (in Zoom)
Catalog Course Description: A multi-modal college-level research course with a focus on using evidence-based research methods, forming clear arguments, and developing a professional academic writing style. Students will identify and pursue individual research interests and present their findings in multiple modes such as a formal research paper; slide, poster, and oral presentations; and other forms appropriate to presenting scholarly work. Membership in the Berkshire Honors Scholar Program required. Prerequisite: Three credits of composition, or permission of the instructor.
Addition statement from Professor McCabe:
This course will be almost entirely driven by student research interests. No matter where your interests lie, you’ll engage in a semester-long academic research project on a subject that matters to you. You’ll compose an argument-driven academic research paper and present your work in whatever mode best fits your subject, whether it’s giving a speech, creating a website, or designing a poster. Throughout this process, we will be developing the skills necessary to engage in academic research and present your work in a polished and professional way.
This semester, this class will be presented in a hybrid-virtual format. We will meet one per week as a class via Zoom, and engage together online in the time between class meetings. In our virtual meetings I will present and review core concepts of the academic research process, we will engage in small group inquiry and discussions, and there will be time for questions. In our online space, we will apply critical thinking to our reading of published academic and public work, discuss existing research and research strategies, and use peer review as a means of supporting one another through each stage of the research, writing, and presentation process.
Frequently Taught Honors Courses
These are a selection of courses frequently available to Berkshire Honors Scholars. Click on a course to see its entry in the catalog (if available).
Colloquia are seminar-style interdisciplinary courses that look at wide ranging topics in order to help students think more broadly and critically. They support other courses by helping students learn how to investigate academic areas independently, and by connecting what's learned in one class to what's learned in others.
Past Colloquia Include:
- Conspiracy Theories in American History
- Seventeenth Century Thought
- The Philosophy of the Life Sciences
- Graphic Novel and Comics as Cultural Barometer
- Gothic Literature and Horror Film
- Disease and Disability: A Historic and Holistic View
- Deconstructing Whiteness in America
What all of these topics have in common is that they provide a broad base of understanding that goes well beyond the subject material. They give students crucial knowledge that will connect to and support many other courses that thry take, and with important analytical and critical thinking skills that are crucial to academic (and workplace) success.
Each honors student must take at least one colloquium to graduate as a Berkshire Honors Scholar. Students may take more than one colloquium to fulfill the three course requirement.
These are special sections of regularly scheduled courses that are reserved exclusively for honors students. They cover the same material as non-honors sections and fulfill the same requirements, but involve deeper and more independent work. Honors Courses are listed in the course catalog under their discipline, with an H added to the course number (e.g. ENG 298H). To see which courses are currently offered, type the word "honors" into the keyword search in WebAdvisor.
Past courses include:
- Irish Literature
- Environmental Advocacy
- The Harlem Renaissance
- The 1960s in the US
- LGBTQ+ Literature
- Social Problems
- Modern Poetry
The Berkshire Honors Scholar Composition Sequence provides an alternative to BCC’s traditional composition sequence by offering two courses that challenge students in rigorous academic writing, research, and presentation methods. The first course in the sequence, ENG 103, can be taken instead of ENG 101, and will give students practice in formulating written arguments, conducting college-level research, and learning to read critically through a variety of lenses. ENG 104, which can be taken instead of ENG 102, is a research and presentation methods course during which students will undertake individually developed research projects and learn how to present them in a variety of academic formats. Together, these two courses expose students to the practices of academic writing and research to be used throughout their college and academic careers.
These one-credit independent studies are attached to an existing course, which results in that course counting as one of the three required honors courses. These are in-depth research projects on an area jointly determined by the faculty member and the student. They must result in some written work that will be kept on file in the Berkshire Honors Scholar Offices. They may also include a presentation, performance, or work of art. Students will add and pay for one additional credit.
Process for Adding a Component:
- Students should contact their professor in advance of the first day of classes to make sure the professor is able to work on an honors component that semester.
- Students should notify the Honors Coordinator once there is agreement on the potential for adding a component to the course.
- Students must meet with the Honors Coordinator no later than the first week of classes to start working on the proposal. Students contacting the Honors Coordinator after the first week of classes will not be permitted to add a component.
- Proposals for honors components are due no later than the end of the third week of classes.
Honors independent studies are like regular independent studies. They are availble to fulfill an intellectual investigation that is not found in the regular curriculum at BCC. Students should find a professor to teach the independent study; the schedule for organizing an independent study is the same as that for components.