Pio 101 is a 2-credit course focusing on community-building; engaged, active learning; and the development of information literacy skills. Its mission is to prepare you to be discerning readers and critical thinkers as citizens in an information-overwhelmed world!


If you’ve been accepted into the Honors Program, you must choose from these two great offerings!

PIO 101-01 HONORS The Opioid Epidemic and HONRS 111-01 Honors Literature

Must be taken with PIO 102-01

Faculty: Dr. Mike Tager, Political Science; Dr. Bev Hogue, English
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 130 people die every day in the United States after overdosing on opioids, which include illegal drugs like heroin and prescription painkillers like oxycodone. This course will use a multi-disciplinary approach to examine the origins and evolution of the crisis, the causes and nature of addiction and its effects on individuals, families, and communities, and possible remedies to the crisis. We will utilize some local resources, including the Drug Court recently established in Washington County, to consider whether the opioid epidemic should be considered mainly a public health problem best dealt with therapeutically or mainly a criminal justice problem best dealt with punitively. We will also consider what responsibility, if any, the manufacturers of prescription opioids like OxyContin bear by looking at the lawsuit against companies like Purdue Pharma currently scheduled to go to trial in federal court in Cleveland in September of 2019. This course is only for students who have been selected into the Honors Program.

pioprep sessions

PIO 101-03 Don’t Call it a Comeback – Building a Resilient Mindset Faculty: Prof. Amanda L. Haney-Cech, Academic Resource Center

This course will introduce students to topics of resilience, grit, and understanding success through failure. Through various readings, media, and dialogue, the class will explore the journeys of individuals who had to develop skills in resilience to overcome environmental and situational challenges that could have made their paths change. Specific student learning outcomes for this course include a self-assessment in locus of control, increased understanding of how perseverance is learned, and strategies for building a resilient mindset to overcome setbacks and barriers. This course is only for students who are enrolled in PioPrep Academy


PIO 101-04 Energy To Power Our World

Faculty: Dr. Ben Ebenhack, Petroleum
Energy use pervades all that we do in modern societies. Its use is instrumental to quality of life and (like all human activities) can have serious impacts. Students will study the energy sources that power our world, along with their benefits and limitations. They will explore most closely the oil and gas resources, which currently provide two thirds of humanity’s energy. The students will evaluate several sources of information, including conflicting information. This course will offer an introduction into the oil and gas industry. It is recommended for students interested in Petroleum Engineering or who are in the Petroleum Engineering Program.

This section is only for students who are pursuing their Engineering Leadership Certificate

PIO 101-05 and PIO 101-06 Energy to Power Our World

Faculty: Engineering; Dr. Susan Peterson, Petroleum Engineering; Prof. Tina Thomas, Land and Energy Management
Energy use pervades all that we do in modern societies. Its use is instrumental to quality of life and (like all human activities) can have serious impacts. Students will study the energy sources that power our world, along with their benefits and limitations. They will explore most closely the oil and gas resources, which currently provide two-thirds of humanity’s energy. The students will evaluate several sources of information, including conflicting information. This course will offer an introduction into the oil and gas industry. It is recommended for students interested in Petroleum Energy or who are in the Petroleum Engineering Program.

PIO 101-07 and PIO 101-08 From the Other Side of the Desk: A Look at American Education

Faculty: Prof. Ann Kauffman, Education; Staff
During twelve or more years as a student, you have accumulated a lot of knowledge about classroom and schools. This class will provide you with an opportunity to look at students, classrooms, and schools from the other side of the desk. We will take a behind the scenes look at how schools developed in the United States, how schools are organized, and policies and social forces that impact present day classrooms, teachers, and students. We will use readings, media, and first hand observations to identify important trends and issues that impact the American education system. This course is recommended for students interested in pursuing an Education major.

PIO 101-09 "There is no I in Healthcare": Foundations of Interprofessional Education in Healthcare

Faculty: Prof. Jaclyn Schwieterman, Athletic Training
Effective Interprofessional practice improves the patient experience, patient safety and the overall health care system. The Foundations of Interprofessional Education course will introduce interprofessional education to students wanting to pursue a career in healthcare. In this course students will learn about the healthcare system, the different medical professionals, the role of teams in health care, and how each individual medical professions fits into the team. Students will address local and global challenges with interprofessional collaboration.


Do you love the sound of music or being on stage? Interested in knowing how to be your best self in person and on social media? Want to explore the world through literature and the arts?

PIO 101-10 Love

Faculty: Dr. Joe Sullivan, English
Actions each day are purportedly inspired by love for what’s above us, love for those around us, and love of what may be within us. In these times, attempts have been made to define us by what and who we hate. A more productive, though less straightforward, enterprise would be to define ourselves and our actions by what and who we love. We might also consider who or what we believe loves us. The purpose of this course will be to sketch the multiplicity of rooms in the house of love. We’ll take as our texts memoirs, novels, poems, and essays.

PIO 101-11 Youtube Really You

Faculty: Prof. Marilee Morrow, Communication
Modern reality: We communicate in many ways, mostly mediated through devices and software like Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram that offer the public a version of ourselves. But, there are plenty of examples that prove mediated communication can be risky business. If you’ve ever sent a text or posted to Facebook, you know that those who get your message don’t always get the message you intended. The result is that those receiving our messages develop opinions and form perceptions that can impact our friendships, our effectiveness in the work place and our success as a human being. This course’s critical examination of how people and organizations present themselves will improve our own mediated communication so others perceive us in the manner we intend.

PIO 101-12 Pop Culture and Musicals

Faculty: Prof. Andy Felt, Theater
As an artistic theatrical form, pop culture musicals have invaded all aspects of modern entertainment. What happens when genres collide across different mediums of artistic expression? Is a “classic” musical more valuable as a piece of art than a musical based around the music of a pop group? Are works based on “trashy” or “pulpy” sources less worthy of praise than works based on “literature”? Who gets to decide what’s “trashy” and what’s “literature” in the first place? To answer these questions (and more) this course will examine the development of pop culture musicals using film versions of plays (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Hedwig and the Angry Inch), stand-alone musical films (Repo! The Genetic Opera, Tenacious D & the Pick of Destiny), television (the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and even internet content (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog). We will also look at recent musicals based on pop culture sources like Heathers the Musical, Evil Dead the Musical, Across the Universe, and American Idiot. CONTENT WARNING: This course will contain explicit adult content.

PIO 101-13 Bringing Saxy Back: An Overview of the History of Jazz

Faculty: Dr. Andy Francis, Music
The influence of jazz on popular music is undeniable. Everyone from Dave Matthews to Bruno Mars to Lady Gaga has been, in one way or another, influenced by this art form. Though Jazz is still quite popular in Europe and parts of Asia, the genre has lost the status it once had in the United States. This class will equip participants to be informed consumers of the medium, as well as explain the culture that birthed the music. Class discussion topics will include, “Jelly Roll Morton: The Pianist and the Pimp,” “Charlie Parker and Heroin,” and, “On the Corner, Bitches Brew, and other affectionate Miles Davis albums,” among others.

PIO 101-14 Rock On! The History of Rock and Roll

Faculty: Prof. Lori Smith, Communication
This course introduces students to the social, cultural, economic, and stylistic history of rock and roll music, starting with its roots and early development in the 1950s to the fragmented genre that it is today. Rock music evolved among many different ethnic and social groups and its convergence of musical styles can be traced from the drumbeats out of Africa to the American Delta and its migration north. Although it is difficult to define because of the blurring of musical boundaries and continued evolution, this music changed the world and contributed to social change during the civil rights, anti-war, and women’s rights movements.

PIO 101-15 Marvel Studio’s Black Panther: Examining Leadership and Discovering Unsung Heroes in Times of Crisis

Faculty: Dr. Nkenge Friday, Diversity and Inclusion
This course offers an analysis on the themes of leadership and social responsibility identified in the global hit film, Black Panther. In keeping with the theme of the film, students will be introduced to various real-life heroes, many considered “unsung” yet the impact of actions led to significant changes to communities and societies at large. This course will connect themes of social justice, legislative advocacy and personal commitment noted in the film, to individuals that in spite of insurmountable odds, led the fight towards equality and justice.

PIO 101-16 Let’s Talk About #

Faculty: Linda Lockhart, Communication
“Let’s Talk About #…” covers culture, communication, and an ability to discuss difficult issues within a diverse community. You know the kind of issues—#issues that we read or hear about on social media or in the news but avoid discussing face-to-face. Those that can be difficult to talk about in a group, or even with close friends. Those where we bring a personal point of view but for which we may have little informed knowledge based on personal experience or background. The intention of this class is to foster real dialogue about issues that matter to YOU; the class will help to determine what specific issues we will discuss in class.


Interested in different countries and their customs? Want to learn more about what unites and divides cultures?

PIO 101-18 Understanding Globalization

Faculty: Dr. Michael Morgan, Political Science
If you have ever shopped at Walmart, watched an Olympic event, or used the internet, you have participated in, and have been influenced by, globalization. Because globalization refers to increased connections among individuals, corporations, and countries around the world, its effects are both widespread and highly personal. To better understand the impact of globalization, this course explores a number of topics that investigate the costs and benefits of a global marketplace, evolving relationships between societies and governments, and patterns of cultural convergence and divergence. This course will (1) introduce students to major topics and concepts related to globalization, (2) evaluate complex interactions among economic, political, social interests, and (3) demonstrate how globalization shapes how students prepare for and compete in a contemporary, global workforce.

PIO 101-19 Journey to the East

Faculty: Prof. Jenni Zhang, Modern Languages
We will explore Chinese culture through food, film, Tai chi, art, music and various fun activities. Course topics focus on the core elements of Chinese culture and how it influences modern people’s lives in all perspectives. Each topic will immerse you in a cultural experience and provide the ancient wisdom to help you eat healthier, think smarter, live happier and stress less. Your journey will help you broaden your horizon; sharpen your mind, and prepare you to be a world citizen with cross-cultural communication and critical thinking skills.

PIO 101-20 Revolution Number 9

Faculty: Dr. David Torbett
2019 has a significant number of 50-year anniversaries, ranging from the Apollo moon landing, Woodstock music festival, Stonewall protest, the exposure of the My Lai massacre, and the first episode of Sesame Street. In this class students will use different sources and media to research and present on the background, the foreground, and the aftermath of several of these events.


Interested in understanding the world? Want to learn by doing?

PIO 101- 21 Predicting the Future

Faculty: Dr. Matt Menzel, Math
Whereas past events undoubtedly can be used to predict future outcomes, doing so accurately requires the ability to recognize and understand what information provides the key for unlocking the future. With staggering amounts of information available at the click of a mouse or the touch on a smartphone, forecasters must identify the truly significant indicators from among an ocean of possibilities. In this course, we will establish a foundation using the language of probability and statistics, and we will consider predictions in the realms of politics, sports, science, and our everyday lives. We will explore the science of prediction and examine how experienced, intelligent individuals and organizations can produce radically different forecasts based on the same data.

PIO 101- 22 AI/Big Data/Cybersec

Faculty: Dr. Bob VanCamp, Information Systems
How does the Internet use tracking to know which products we want to purchase? How do identity theft and phishing happen? Is it possible for a computer to learn right from wrong? In this class, we will use discussion and hands-on activities (Turing Tests, Neural Network Creation, Network Simulations, Google Analytics, etc.) to address the “hows” and “whys” of those questions and to explore the connections between Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Cybersecurity.

PIO 101-23 Real Life Aliens: Invaders from Our Own Planet

Faculty: Dr. Katy Lustofin, Biology
Learn how invasive plants, animals, and other organisms from other parts of the world impact our economy, our native ecosystems, and even our culture. Through case studies of specific invasive species, students will learn how the “aliens” like kudzu, emerald ash borer, zebra mussels, and the mosquitos that carry the Zika virus get here, how the government prevents and responds to the invaders, and what effect they have once they are here.

PIO 101-24 Health News: Separating Fact from Fiction

Faculty: Dr. Lynn Bostrom, Biology
Is coffee a caffeinated killer or a cancer cure? Are herbal supplements helpful, harmful…or worthless? These days, we’re bombarded with health news about things that may harm us or heal us… but how do we tell reliable information from unreliable? In this class, we’ll practice evaluating scientific studies and separating sensationalism from evidence-supported conclusions.

PIO 101-25 Beyond The Lines of Sports: A behind-the-scenes look at event production and untold stories in the sport industry

Faculty: Prof. Rick Smith, Business and Economics
This class focuses on a range of topics including women in sports, marketing, facility management, event production, game scripting, and other game day production elements. We will use in-class assignments; guest speakers; films; and hands-on-learning to understand what goes on “behind the lines”; develop an understanding of professionalism in the sports management field; and work together to accomplish projects and initiatives that help build a sport brand and produce results for a sports team.

PIO 101-26 Think Like a Scientist!

Faculty: Dr. Cavendish McKay, Physics
The modern scientific approach to understanding the world, which took shape in the 16th and 17th centuries, has been tremendously successful in extending the length and improving the quality of human life. Today, many questions of health, public policy, and technological innovation require scientific reasoning to answer correctly. In this class we will address such questions as:

  • What does it mean for an idea to be "scientific"?
  • How do scientists think about evidence and proof?
  • What is a consensus?
  • How do scientific revolutions happen?
  • What kinds of questions fall outside the bounds of science?
  • What are the ethical implications of scientific research?

We will learn some techniques for evaluating evidence, and apply those techniques to some questions of current social interest