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Honors College Learning Away

The Honors College offers learning away trips to add an experiential dimension to the Honors curriculum and provide a peak experience in a student's success that will last a lifetime. Previous trips have included Milledgeville, GA; New Orleans, LA; Santa Fe, NM; and Houston's world-renowned Medical Center. All learning away programs and courses are open to all students, regardless of major, discipline, or membership in the Honors College.

Programs are offered in the Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer sessions, and generally range in length from three to seven days. Interested in seeing the College travel somewhere not currently listed? Email us at with your ideas!


Spring Break, March 2019; Trip Length: 7 days
Led by Jeremy Bailey and Dustin Gish

During spring break (March 2019), Dr. Bailey and Dr. Gish will lead a group of UH students to Virginia to examine the foundations of the early American Republic. Students will visit (and spend their evenings in the residential facilities at) James Madison’s Montpelier, which is also home to the Smith Center for the Constitution. Excursions will be made to the most famous house in the nation, Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson in the hills outside Charlottesville, as well as to the nearby residence of James Monroe, at Highland, and to Jefferson’s University of Virginia. Through seminar discussions and onsite guided walks with local scholars, students will learn about the political history of the American founding and the complex lives of these American statesmen, their families, and the enslaved communities associated with their residences. The trip is supported by scholarships from the Dean’s office. A special topics course taught by Dustin Gish (POLS 3397H, The Early American Republic) provides intellectual background in support of the experience, although enrollment in the course is not required for participation on the trip. 

This course counts toward the Phronesis Minor. For more details, please contact Jeremy Bailey or Dustin Gish.

Artists and Their Regions: Finding Pittsburgh

May 2019; Trip Length: 6 Days
Led by Brandon Lamson and Robert Cremins

How are artists and their work intimately shaped by the place of their origin? How do certain places provide fertile ground for a variety of artistic practices and aesthetics while maintaining a specific local identity? How do artworks made in a particular place reflect its complex history as well as how it continues to evolve in the present?

In this Artists in Their Regions course we will study various artists and art-making located in the iconic city of Pittsburgh. From the pop art of Andy Warhol to the dramatic plays of August Wilson, the music of Art Blakey, and the literary novels of Michael Chabon, we will explore a wide range of creative activity that encapsulates the profound transformation of Pittsburgh from an industrial mecca to a city that honors yet transcends its historical roots.

Our course culminates in a trip to Pittsburgh to conduct field research and to work on creative projects that are inspired by, and in conversation with, the Steel City. Scholarship opportunities are available for this trip and space is limited. Please contact Dr. Lamson or Prof. Cremins for more information. This course counts toward the Creative Work Minor.

Limited number of spaces available on the trip for students not taking the class. May 14-19. The cost is $600 for round-trip flight, room, and board. Additional needs-based funding may be available.

Chicago: A Cultural Excursion

May 2019; Trip Length: 3 Days
Led by Paul Stapleton

Have you dreamed of traveling to fabulous places, but would rather “live local” than mess with high-end hotels and overpriced airfare? This trip will be a no frills, on-the-ground, walking-intensive tour of the City of Big Shoulders, Chi-town, the Windy City. See amazing art and architecture; eat delicious food while taking in a show. Hear great music; check out the local universities. Walk the streets, ride the elevated train, sleep in a hostel. Eat deep-dish pizza every meal if you want. Travel will take place after finals week, May 2019; exact dates TBD.

We will visit the world-renowned Chicago Institute of Art, several theaters, Wrigley Field for a Cubs’ game, the zoo, and tour a city that boasts one of the greatest collections of architectural wonders in the world. For more information, please contact Dr. Stapleton.

Washington, DC: Visual Rhetoric and the Principles of Our Political Architecture

Fall 2019; Trip Length: 5 Days
Led by Dustin Gish

The city of Washington, D.C., has always been a destination for American tourists. But the city offers more than the usual tourist attractions. From its disputed beginnings to the present, Washington stands as the Capital of our nation and the Symbol of our national identity. Landscape and architecture form the physical setting and home for political institutions and offices, but the National Mall, Monuments, and Memorials also embody a vision of our nation and its political principles, a vision that has evolved over time. Washington is not only the vibrant center of our national politics, but a sourcebook for the study of the formation and evolution of American political principles. The purpose of this study away trip is to introduce students who are already living and working there during the Washington Semester to the visual rhetoric of the National Mall and Monuments. The Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, White House, and Jefferson Monument – together with war memorials, monuments to individuals, and federal buildings – are engaged in a great conversation regarding the development of the principles of American government. Washington, D.C., as our national city, literally embodies in its landscape how we as a people have defined and dedicated ourselves from the Founding until today. 

This course counts toward the Phronesis Minor. For more information, please contact Dr. Gish.

Creative Cities: Houston and Austin, TX

Fall 2019; Trip Length: 4 Days
Led by Robert Cremins

Part academic, part experiential, this core Creative Work class studies innovative American cities as landscapes of the mind and the imagination. Including but not limited to aesthetic concerns, the trip and related course investigate creativity in the broadest sense of the word. Thus, we are interested in our featured cities as sources and sites of creativity not only in literature, music, the visual arts, but also architecture, urban planning, transportation, the culinary arts, business culture, industry, redevelopment, etc. Creative Cities is associated with the course of the same name (HON 3397).

This course counts toward the Creative Work Minor. For more information, please contact Robert Cremins

California's Russian River Valley

Spring 2020; Trip Length: TBD
Led by David Rainbow

This trip is still being developed. Please check back for more information.