"Scholar teachers" bring research and expertise to Barrett signature courses

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October 10, 2018

Laurie Stoff, an honors faculty fellow in Barrett Honors College, wants students to know that she and other honors faculty develop and teach courses based on their research and expertise.

“We do research in service to teaching. We engage students in ideas that we have spent a lot of time on, researching and analyzing,” Stoff said.

“We are scholar teachers, not just discussion leaders. To be a good teacher, you need to be a good scholar,” said Stoff, whose research, as well as two books that she has written, focus on the intersections of gender and war, specifically Russian women and the Great War.

Incoming lower-division honors students get exposure to “scholar teachers” in the Human Event while incoming upper-division honors students take a similar course called the History of Ideas. Upper-division students take interdisciplinary and engaging seminar-style signature courses that address specific research topics, help students hone skills applicable to their theses, and provide breadth to their education.

Several of these signature courses will be offered in the Spring 2019 semester.


An image of a depiction of Amazons on a piece of pottery that Honors Faculty Fellow Laurie Stoff will use in her class titled Amazons to Fighter Pilots: A History of War, Sex, and Gender.

Stoff will teach Honors 394, Amazons to Fighter Pilots: A History of War, Sex, and Gender. The class will focus on “the gendered and sexual dimensions of war and conflict and its impacts” from the Bronze Age to the present, Stoff said.

“We often think of war as a masculine activity. We will look at ways gender and war intersect over time and space and ask questions like, Do people of other genders have a role in war? Do people of other genders have different experiences in war?,” Stoff said.

Soldiers marching

This historical photo shows a woman leading a line of marching soldiers. Gender roles in times of war will be discussed in a Barrett Honors College signature course, Amazons to Fighter Pilots.

For example, the class will examine how the media has portrayed membership in the armed forces and participation in war as the exclusive domain of men, even though women have defended their countries and distinguished themselves in various combat and non-combat roles throughout the centuries.

Other Barrett signature courses will delve into the sociology of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the cultural significance of zombies, how technology and culture have changed the nature of human relationships, men and feminism, the influence of celebrated American author and journalist Joan Didion, and the design of global cities.

Learn more about the courses and registration information.