Scroll through some of the Honors Program faculty colleagues and click on their images for more information about each!

Monica Halka, Ph.D.

MONICA HALKA (M.A., The Johns Hopkins University, Ph.D., University of New Mexico) is Associate Director of the Georgia Tech Honors Program. An experimental physicist specializing in the interaction of light with atoms, she recently completed work on a set of six volumes on the periodic table of the elements—Nonmetals, Halogens and Noble Gases, Alkali and Alkaline Earth Metals, Metals and Metalloids, Transition Metals, and Lanthanides and Actinides—published by Facts On File/Infobase. In addition to many publications in professional research journals, she writes and presents on physics education, was selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate, and has received education grant funding from the National Science Foundation. She has given invited talks in Australia, Germany, India, Ireland, Scotland, and the United States, and participated in the Oregon Collaborative for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers. Other current interests include the urban forest, alternative energy, optical illusions, and the history of the atomic age.

Colin Potts, Ph.D.

After earning a Ph.D. from Sheffield University in psychology for research in text memory and comprehension and then working as a software engineer and ergonomics consultant, Colin Potts joined the Department of Computing faculty at Imperial College, later moving to the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation as a senior technical staff member. He joined the Georgia Tech College of Computing in 1992 as a faculty member in what is now the School of Interactive Computing. His research over the past 25 years has spanned the fields of requirements engineering, software design methods, human-computer interaction, and information privacy. All his research has been interdisciplinary and has emphasized the human element in technology design and use. As Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Colin Potts oversees offices and programs affecting undergraduate education including the Center for Career Discovery and Development, the Honors Program and Fellowships Office, the Center for Academic Enrichment, and the Center for Academic Success.

In the past, I have taught honors sections of CS 1315 (Introduction to Media Computation) and CS 4001 (Computing and Society) as well as co-leading a seminar with Drs. Richard Barke and Amy Pritchett on defining your own degree program.

Jarrod Hayes, Ph.D.

Jarrod Hayes is an assistant professor of international relations in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. In 2003 he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in astrophysics and political science. He completed his Ph.D. in Politics and International Relations at the University of Southern California in 2009. His areas of scholarly and teaching interest focus on the role of social orders in shaping international security practice. This has allowed him to investigate a wide range of issues, from U.S. relations with India and China to the role of security discourses in climate change policy to the relationship between theory and practice. His scholarship appears in a range of high profile journals including the European Journal of International Relations, German Studies Review, Global Environmental Politics, International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, and Security Studies. In 2013 he published his first book with Cambridge University Press examining U.S. security relations with India and China. Jarrod is married to Janelle Knox-Hayes, who is also on the faculty of Georgia Tech in the School of Public Policy.

I have taught twice for the Honors Program, both times on the subject of comparative approaches to national security (What makes us safe? The Nature of National Security). The class is one that really gets at the core of my research agenda, and as a consequence is a great joy for me to teach. The Honors students of course are the secret to the course’s success. They bring an amazing level of intellectual energy and curiosity, which in turn infuses the class with a unique and powerful vibrancy.

Richard Utz, Ph.D.

Richard Utz is Chair & Professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. An international scholar, who received his PhD from the University of Regensburg, Germany, and who reads and works with historical languages including Latin, Old English, Middle English, Middle High German, and Old French, he has held various positions as educator in Germany and the US. He is the President of the International Society for the Study of Medievalism and editor of its review journal, Medievally Speaking and one of its scholarly journals, The Year’s Work in Medievalism. Utz’s teaching and scholarship centers on medieval studies, medievalism, the interconnections between humanistic inquiry and science/technology, reception study, and the formation of cultural memories and identities.

“What fascinates me most about my work as a teacher and scholar is to follow a cultural topic (Right of the Lord’s First Night), person (Joan of Arc), fictional character (Robin Hood), or object (stained glass windows) from their inception or invention (most often during the Middle Ages) through their various transformations from one region or country, one culture and language, one historical period to another. The never-ending code-switching during such processes of reception enable us to see our own society as constructed, moving and taking on new forms of representation and interpretation. Here at Georgia Tech, I have been teaching a course called “Medieval Atlanta,” which explores how our quintessentially modern city, originally called “Terminus” in 1837, relates back to medieval times in its architecture, literature, film, games, leisure, language, and religion.”

Sarah Higinbotham, Ph.D.

Sarah’s PhD is in early modern literature and her scholarship centers on the intersections of literature and law. At Georgia Tech, she has taught courses on both Shakespeare and the Law’s Violence, and she has also taken her Georgia Tech students to a men’s prison for combined discussions of poetry. Sarah has written about the violence of the law in early modern England, critical prison theory, and human rights in literature. She has volunteer taught weekly college classes at a men’s prison outside Atlanta for the last seven years and she volunteers with an Atlanta nonprofit that benefits children of incarcerated parents. She is also the co-director of the nonprofit Common Good Atlanta, which promotes collaboration between Atlanta’s universities and the community.

In the fall 2015 semester, I’m looking forward to teaching an Honors Program course (HP4) on Shakespeare. We’ll discuss the ways that many of Shakespeare’s plays explore concerns about “faking it”: the anxious feeling people have about the authenticity of their social interactions. The course will examine three of Shakespeare’s plays (a comedy, a tragedy, and a history) through the lenses of authenticity and identity. We will engage with Shakespeare’s plays through class discussion, academic research, films, and projects.

Cara Appel-Silbaugh, Ph.D.

Dr. Appel-Silbaugh has served Georgia Tech as the Associate Dean of Students since July, 2011. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, College Park, M.A. at Bowling Green State University in College Student Personnel, and a B.A. at the University of Pittsburgh. In her current role, Dr. Appel-Silbaugh serves in several student affairs generalist capacities, managing student crises and concerns, serving on Institute wide committees, overseeing assessment efforts for the departments in the Office of the Dean of Students, in addition to serving as Chairperson of the Institute’s Student of Concern committee. Dr. Appel-Silbaugh has served in many capacities throughout higher education during her 18 year career, including serving as a fraternity/sorority advisor, managing matters of student conduct and academic integrity, participating in domestic and international service learning experiences, and founding a parent and family program. She has received three research grants while at Georgia Tech and been the Principal Investigator for four research studies.

I had the privilege of teaching the HP course, "Buzz, GP Burdell, Old Gold: An Ethnographic Study of Georgia Tech" Spring semester 2014. I believe hearing from participants and bearing witness to individuals' experiences is of vital importance in research. Therefore, the pleasure, and challenge of teaching qualitative research to a distinctly quantitative population was a great experience. It is my hope to teach the course again and train a new cohort of qualitative researchers.

Christopher Burke

Chris Burke is the Director of Community Relations at Georgia Tech since 2011. Prior to joining Tech, he worked as a research associate at the American Planning Association and served as vice president for government affairs at the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association. Chris’s research on zoning, land-use trends, and housing economics has been published in The Historic Preservation Journal, Zoning News, The Planning Advisory Service memo, The Southern Journal for Public Policy, Builder Magazine, and Atlanta Building News. In his role at Georgia Tech, Chris works with local government, educators, religious, business, and civic leaders to assure that Tech plays an integral part at improving the quality of life in the metro-Atlanta region.

Over the past three spring semesters I've enjoyed co-teaching a special topics course, Near Peer Mentoring: An Experience in Urban Education, HTS 2813. The course examines how race, poverty and other socioeconomic dynamics impact post-secondary educational opportunities. It's been incredible watching our students deeply connect with African-American high school students commonly characterized as disenfranchised. The experiences created and shared through one-to-one mentoring has been both inspiring and transformative. At its core, the mentoring dispels the labels associated with these high school students and celebrates the importance of a shared human experience. It also challenges our students to deeply reflect on the mentors and family in their own life that led them thus far.

George B. Johnston, Ph.D.

George Johnston is an architect and cultural historian with a keen interest in the material culture and significance of our built environment. His research focuses on the role design professions play in the formation and continual transformation of the underlying standards and assumptions that shape our everyday world.

"Design is an inherently interdisciplinary practice, and I am especially enthused by the creative sparks that fly whenever we bring the humanities into contact and collaboration with the sciences. The division of knowledge and expertise that served so well in the industrial age is giving way to a new model of integrated knowledge in the digital age, and there is no better place than the Georgia Tech classroom to begin bridging this divide.”

John D. Cressler, Ph.D.

John D. Cressler is Schlumberger Chair Professor of Electronics in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He also teaches in the Technology and Management Program in the College of Business. The basic thrust of Cressler’s research is to develop novel micro/nanoelectronic devices, circuits and systems for next-generation applications within the global electronics infrastructure. In addition to his academic duties, Cressler is a part-time historical novelist, writing love stories set in medieval Muslim Spain that celebrate the era of convivencia (coexistence), a unique period when Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together in harmony. His novels include: Emeralds of the Alhambra (2013), set in the Alhambra Palace in 14th century Granada, and Shadows in the Shining City (2014), set in 10th century Cordoba (2014). He is presently working on book three.

“One of my passions is teaching highly technical topics to non-specialists, and this evolved into CoE 3002, “Introduction to the Microelectronics and Nanotechnology Revolution,” which uses my Silicon Earth book, and which is open to all majors at all levels and has served the Honors’ Program for some time now. I will be introducing a new course at Georgia Tech in 2016: “Science, Engineering and Religion: an Interfaith Dialogue,” which will also be open to all majors at all levels."

Alice Favero, Ph.D.

Alice Favero is an Environmental Economist passionate about climate change. Her research focuses mainly on the role of forestland in climate change scenarios.

"I love teaching the Special Course It’s Real: The Science & Policy of Climate Change because climate change is a difficult and contentious issue. It will perhaps be the defining environmental issue of the 21st century. The course not only actively engages students in exploring the scientific and economic issues underlying the threat of global climate change but also inspires them to question past climate policies and to create possible solutions."

Kim Cobb, Ph.D.

Kim Cobb is a climate scientist who uses corals and stalagmites to reconstruct past climate, and is passionate about climate science communication and energy education.

"I love teaching her special topics course EAS 3110 Energy, the Environment, and Society because I can explore topics in discussion with the students, and engage the students in a team-led, hands-on competition over the course of the semester. It's a blast for me, and I believe the course is a breath of fresh air for Georgia Tech students, who are tasked with countless problem sets and exams in their traditional coursework."

David Ku, Ph.D. 

David Ku is the Lawrence P. Huang Chair Professor of Engineering Entrepreneurship; He is an interdisciplinary with ties to both the School of Mechanical Engineering and the College of Business. He has been involved with four start-up companies, focused on the commercialization of novel medical devices.

"I teach the special topics course Cutting Edge Technologies, exposing honors students to the future of technology with a lively conversation on how to use the technology for commercial products or services. "