From the Director

Spring 2014 Newsletter

Jim Clauss and Dubs

Research has always been a key component of the Honors Program at the University of Washington, and starting from the very first directors, Barnet Baskerville (Speech, 1961-64) and Julian Barksdale (Geology, 1964-70), a felicitous pair of Dawgs who worked closely with Dean Sol Katz when the program was founded in 1961. In the Interdisciplinary Honors Program, research is one of four experiential learning project options of which two are required (the others being service learning, leadership and global engagement). For students in College or Departmental Honors, research almost always encapsulates the capstone experience by way of an Honors thesis, advanced work in the discipline that is often at the level of graduate work. This e-newsletter highlights two very different undergraduate projects that showcase fascinating ways of engaging research in fields as different as English literature and electrical engineering.

In addition to the Honors curricula, research also lies at the heart of the work of Honors staff in the Partners in the Parks Program in Olympic National Park; the careers of many alumni of the Honors Program, such as Professor James Champoux (’65); and the teaching of this year’s Joff Hanauer Honors Professor, Tony Lucero.

Through the articles about each of these topics and people, you’ll learn how research in Honors prepares students for a life of inquiry, creative problem solving and discovery, in addition to leading to future career paths. Research in Honors is modeled by staff and faculty, both in the classroom and laboratory as well as beyond the confines of the campus, and above all remains central to Honors education at the UW.

Jim Clauss
Director of Honors
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs
Professor of Classics


Cali Copczick
Pavel Kulik

Honors Research from Dante and Colbert to medical applications of 3D images of food on a plate: Meet Cali Kopczick and Pavel Kulik

Departmental Honors Programs, in which students engage in advanced research within their majors, vary widely across campus and add on average between five and fifteen credits of work beyond the major requirements; some programs consist entirely of advanced course work, others require an Honors thesis alone, and some include both. We asked seniors Cali Kopczick (English) and Pavel Kulik (electrical engineering) to describe their Honors projects and provide some insight into the process and benefits of their research. Read more »

Aley Mills-Willis, Brook Kelly, and Laura Harrington

Honors Research in the National Park System and "The Best Idea We Ever Had!"

The University of Washington Honors Program has developed and led a Partners in the Parks Program in Olympic National Park for three consecutive years, beginning in the summer of 2011. Our goals with these programs are relatively simple, but certainly not small. We want to introduce students to this extraordinary place and have them experience it firsthand. We want them to begin to understand the complexity of how such a place is managed and protected. We want them to uncover the depth and diversity of what society has to learn from a national park. And we want them to find out, for their own reasons, why such places matter. Read more »

James Champoux

James Champoux, B.S. with College Honors in Chemistry: A Life of Extraordinary Research and Distinction

The founding of the UW Honors Program in autumn quarter, 1961, counted as big news in the 1960s, with feature stories in many state and local newspapers (see Seattle Times 7/18/1961 for the names of the first cohort). Among those names you will find that of Dr. James Champoux, the current Chair of the Department of Microbiology, one of 112 students selected to inaugurate Honors education at the UW. Read more »

Jose Anthony (Tony) Lucero

Jose Antonio (Tony) Lucero, Joff Hanauer Honors Professor in Western Civilization 2012-14: Reframing Research in the Honors Classroom

The course I developed as the Hanauer Honors Professor is called "The Borderlands of Western Civilization." Like many of my colleagues, I do not draw a sharp line between my research and teaching interests, so it is hardly a surprise that this course grew out of my research on Indigenous politics in the Americas and helps students think about some crucial moments in the history of how Europe encountered its "Others.” Read more »

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