IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: The Challenges of Prediction

Check out mathematics professor James Conklin’s seminar on the challenges of prediction! Learn more below:

Describe your seminar in one sentence. The course will look at the nature uncertainty and prediction and will explore the question of why some predictions succeed while most fail.”

Describe your classroom style in one sentence.My goal in a seminar like this is to have interesting conversation;  the best classes are those that start interesting conversations and raise questions that keep on going in your head after our 50 minutes together are up.” 

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? “Our environmental, physical, political and economic futures depend on the quality of our predictions.  The hope is everyone will come away with a greater appreciation of uncertainty to get valuable insights in evaluating predictions in a wide variety of areas.   The seminar will also share the broader goals of  quantitative literacy —  ‘You will develop the ability to investigate and interpret quantitative information, critique it, reflect upon it, and apply it to a given issue.'”

What is one piece of advice you would give to students?Keep up the good fight against and the boundaries of your comfort zones.  The Honors Program is an excellent opportunity to challenge yourself in new directions — take full advantage of it.”

Want to know more? “The two main readings we will be using are 

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don’t by Nate Silver  and  Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick.

You can check out the blog/website of one of the authors (Nate Silver) at www.fivethirtyeight.com.  Like this website, the seminar will be checking out daily current events through the lense of the ideas we’ll be exploring.     

Opportunities for projects will be very-wide ranging and could include development of prediction models of an area of interest to you  (politics, sports, economic,  …), analysis of a contemporary prediction model (for instance, how does Netflix or Amazon have the nerve to predict what we want to  watch or buy), studies of non-Western or non-quantitative approaches to prediction and uncertainty.”

Check out the full list of seminars here and the whole list of spotlights here.

IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: International Scholarly Conversation

Modern Languages & Literatures Professor James Pfrehm is bringing back the International Scholarly Conversation seminar. Learn more about what this seminar is all about below!


Describe your seminar in one sentence:We’re going to engage in conversations with international personages on compelling, timely topics.”

Describe your classroom style in one sentence:Engaging, quirky, and focused more on the students than myself.”

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar?:Appreciation for international perspectives as well as their own perspective.”

What is one piece of advice you’d give to students?:Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your perspectives.”

Check out the full list of seminars here and the whole list of spotlights here.

IC Honors FYI: The Louis K. Thaler Concert Violinist Series

Ithaca College

The Louis K. Thaler Concert Violinist Series

Mark Steinberg, violin | Marija Stroke, piano

Thursday, October 29, 2015
8:15 p.m.
Hockett Family Recital Hall ​(Please note the change in venue)
James J. Whalen Center for Music

Master Class
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Hockett Family Recital Hall
James J. Whalen Center for Music
Ithaca College

The concert and master class are free and open to the public.

Mark Steinberg is an active chamber musician and recitalist. He has been heard in chamber music festivals in Holland, Germany, Austria, and France and participated for four summers in the Marlboro Music Festival, with which he has toured extensively. An advocate of contemporary music, Steinberg has worked closely with many composers and has performed with 20th-century music ensembles including the Guild of Composers, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Speculum Musicae, and Continuum, with which he has recorded and toured extensively in the United States and Europe. He has also performed and recorded chamber music on period instruments with the Helicon Ensemble, the Four Nations Ensemble, and the Smithsonian Institution. He has taught at Juilliard’s pre-college division, Princeton University, and New York University, and is currently on the violin faculty of the Mannes College of Music.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodation should call (607) 274-3717 or email ekibelsbeck@ithaca.edu as much in advance of the event as possible.

IC Honors Student Spotlight: Efosa Erhunmwunse

Meet Efosa, a sophomore Physical Therapy (Clinical Health Studies) major with a minor in Aging Studies, from the Bronx, NY! Learn more about Efosa below:

Efosa Erhunmwunse

Favorite part about the Honors program:I am able to meet people from different backgrounds and learn about them, as well as, teach others about my background.”

Favorite Honors Seminar you’ve taken so far and why: My favorite Honors seminar I have taken thus far is Cultural Encounters [with Ithaca College] because it gave me the opportunity to be more involved on campus and appreciate the value in live performances.”

Coolest opportunity you’ve had through IC and/or the Honors Program:During my second semester of college I was able to present my synthesis project from my honors seminar titled, “Redesigning the Freshmen Experience at Ithaca College” at the Whalen Symposium.”

We’re always looking for interesting students to highlight in our Student Spotlight series.
Do you know a really cool Honors student? Nominate them to be a Student Spotlight here!
Do you know a really cool alum of the Honors program? Nominate them to be an Alumni Spotlight here!
Email sguter1@ithaca.edu with any comments, questions, concerns or nominations.

IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: SERIAL (The Podcast)

Were you one of the people who got swept up in the popular SERIAL podcast? Did you not listen to it, but are interested in what all the hype was about? Check out politics professor Tom Shevory’s 1-credit course next semester on this hugely popular podcast!

serial-social-logoDescribe your seminar in one sentence. “We will be listening to and analyzing the highly acclaimed (and very addictive) podcast, SERIAL, about a Pakistani-American high school student convicted of killing his Korean-American girlfriend.”

Describe your classroom style in one sentence. “Relaxed, but serious.”

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? “Once you start digging under the surfaces, things can get very complicated, if not completely crazy, pretty quickly.”

What is one piece of advice you would give students? “You probably can’t avoid preconceptions, but you should try to keep them in check.”

Want to know more? “This is a new class, and, the first time I’ve drawn on a podcast as the primary source material for one.  I see it as a potentially interesting experiment. But, who knows? There’s always the possibility that it could be a complete flop. I hope some students are willing to take the risk.”

Check out the full list of seminars here and the whole list of spotlights here.

IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: Architecture of Health: Race, Place and Inequality

Professor Stewart Ayuash, Chair of the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education is teaching a seminar this semester for the third time on the place of intersectionality in the architecture of health! Learn more below:

health-inequalityPlease describe your seminar in one sentence. “We discuss how we think about health and illness from everywhere and every why from beginning to end and in between, or as much as time allows.”

Describe your classroom style in one sentence. “Tutorial: we read, we write, we present, and we discuss, we read again.”

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? “A larger understanding of health and illness, where they came from, why they mean different things to different people, and what we can do about them.”

What is one piece of advice you would give to students? Ideas have consequences.”  

Want to know more?: “This is the third time I am teaching this course. I think I finally figured it out. Thanks to my former students for the patience and endurance.”

Books for the course will likely come from this list (some, not all):

A. Verghese, My Own Country: A Doctor’s Story

T. Coats, Between the World and Me 

E. Biss, On Immunity: An Innoculation

G. Francis, Adventures of Being Human: A Grand Tour from the Cranium to the Calcaneum

C. Off, Bitter Chocolate: Investigating the Dark Side of the World’s Most Seductive Sweet

S. Johnson. The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic- How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

Check out the full list of seminars here and the whole list of spotlights here.

IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: Winter Wonderland

Jason Hamilton, Chair of Environmental Sciences & Studies, is bringing back his 1-credit tracking seminar! Learn more below.


Describe your seminar in one sentence. Learn the ancient art and science of tracking and you will never see the world in the same way again!

Describe your classroom style in one sentence. I set up opportunities for students to interact directly with the earth. Leave me out  of it!

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? Tracking and nature awareness are your birth right. You ARE a tracker!

What is one piece of advice you would give to students? Relax and have fun. It will come.

Check out the full list of seminars here and the whole list of spotlights here.

IC Honors Advice: Submitting Work by Email II

Advice: When you submit a paper or project electronically, save the document with your full name in the document title and make sure your name is in the document.

Why: Faculty get 20 or more files per class per assignment and you don’t know what will be done with the file. It may get saved to a folder for future reading or it may get printed. Either way you want to make sure your name is associated with your work. It also helps to include the assignment name in the file name, for example, save the file as LastName-FirstName-AssignmentName.

IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: Spiritual Journeys

Philosophy and Religion professor Rachel Wagner is teaching a seminar this semester on Spiritual Journeys! Professor Wagner has included some of the books you’ll be reading as well, so learn more below.

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 12.12.26 PMDescribe your seminar in one sentence. This course is an introduction to inter-religious engagement, using the medium of autobiographical travel narratives, novels, and films as a way into the discussion.

Describe your classroom style in one sentence. “I utilize a mode of discussion blended with impromptu lecture, made active by student participation and fired by open-ended questioning.”

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? “I hope students will leave this seminar deeply appreciative of the varieties of religious expression, more curious about religious difference, and confident in engaging in open-ended deep discussions about religious values and beliefs with others, whether they share the convictions of their conversation partners or not.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 12.07.44 PMWhat is one piece of advice you would give to students? “This question is too hard to answer without knowing the students personally! Advice (at its best) is a product of conversation, wherein one person with more experience in a thing can guide those with less experience. So honestly, depending on the conversation, it’s just as possible that students could give *me* advice!”

Want to know more?

“Students interested in the course should know that there is a lot of reading, but that it is all very interesting and story-based. There are also a few films, and we are likely going to be beta-testing a card game on inter-religious engagement that was constructed by game and religion researchers at RIT. Students may also be interested to know that this course is not “just” for believers. Indeed, atheists, agnostics, and generally curious folks are more than welcome. One of the books we read is about how atheism figures into the conversation about inter-religious interaction. No past experience in religious studies is required.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 12.11.56 PMCheck out the full list of seminars here and the whole list of spotlights here.