2018 Theme

The Renaissance of a “Lively Experiment”: Seeing Anew

In its colonial charter (1661), Rhode Island’s founders defined their new colony as a “lively experiment.” Modern-day Providence, Rhode Island is still a “lively experiment” undergoing yet another renaissance from first a land where Roger Williams led his followers to be able to express freely and live their political and religious beliefs, to a 19th century industrial powerhouse, to a city which today is called “The Renaissance City,” and “The Creative Capital”—a city of learning and the arts.
Our “creative capital” as students, as thinkers, as scholars is our research that enables us to add “new knowledge” to that created by scholars who have come before us. We experience an intellectual rebirth or renaissance by learning first what we must to become experts in our subject fields, and then by “seeing anew” accepted beliefs to add to the collective knowledge of the past.  Our research is a “lively experiment” by which we endeavor to enlighten ourselves, and then the world by sharing our newfound knowledge in conferences like the NRHC Conference you are attending in Providence, Rhode Island.
Our Conference theme of “A Lively Experiment: Seeing Anew” is about having the courage, the knowledge and a sound research methodology to challenge old belief systems.  We are now struggling, for example, to see how we can live on earth in sustainable ways and thus re-thinking how we create energy and how we can interact with the land and the seas without harming them and therefore, us. We are recasting old political and religious battles so that people of different parties and faiths can better understand one another and live together peacefully. We are looking anew at the human genome to alter the course of disease and studying anew the human immune system to eliminate particular diseases. You are the ones who will add to and sustain this “renaissance” of viewing one another and the world.  Your thoughts, your new perspectives, your solid research will help us all to “see anew” the world and our place in it.

Proposal Strand Descriptions

The NRHC welcomes proposals in four categories: Panel Presentations, Poster Presentations, Roundtable Presentations, and Art Show Submissions.

The Strands listed below help guide students as they prepare their proposals. While any proposal can embody an idea(s) from any strand described below, panel presenters are required to identify a strand. Poster and Roundtable presenters are welcome to use the strand descriptions for guidance when preparing their proposals.


Presentation Types:

Panel Presentations

Panel presentations give students with an opportunity to discuss their findings from a research paper or capstone project. Students are in groups of no more than four according to the general theme of their proposals and will be given 10-12 minutes each to share their findings with an audience followed by a brief time for questions. Limited audiovisual support can be provided to assist students with their presentations. Proposals must relate to a specified strand (see below).



Posters provide students with a great place to showcase research in all disciplines. Students will stand beside their posters and discuss their research with conference attendees during the poster session. Posters should be prepared on a tri-fold board or a similar self-supporting framework that can rest on the tables provided by the hotel. Students should bring their own trifold board to the conference site.



The opportunity to lead a roundtable discussion is a great way to present ideas and interact with other conference attendees. For the 2018 NRHC Roundtable Sessions, proposers are encouraged to consider the ideas within this year’s theme, Seeing Anew, in their proposals. What topics and conversations can revolve around this theme? For instance, how can we see problems in our communities, countries, and world through a new lens, with new vision? How can artistic renaissances, like the one that continues today in cities like Providence, motivate people to see anew? How does experimenting and taking risks have both positive and negative consequences?  In addition, we would also like to receive proposals that have a direct relationship with Honors Programs: How has Honors enabled students to experiment, create, and expand their horizons? What activities help to strengthen the sense of community in a diverse program such as this? How can Honors “experiment” with new courses, projects, and interdisciplinary activities?  Proposers should be aware that roundtable discussions are meant as a way of direct interaction between students. Ideas should be exchanged by using the presenters’ initial proposals to start a conversation at the table. This direct interaction is a distinct difference from paper presentations.


Student Art Exhibit

This year, in addition to presenting a poster, paper or roundtable presentation at the conference, students are invited to showcase their artwork. This can include something that is drawn, painted, photographed, sculpted, etc. This is an opportunity to share your art with others. Students need not be art majors to apply.

Submissions for the Student Art Show should be centered around the conference theme of “The Renaissance of a ‘Lively Experiment’: Seeing Anew.” In the application you will be asked to include the following information in your project description:

  • Description of the piece and what it means
  • The size of the work
  • What kind of art work it is (drawing, photograph, sculpture, pairing, etc.)
  • Any special requirements for display (easel, table, etc.)


Students who submit an art piece may also submit a paper, proposal or roundtable proposal. The two proposals do not need to be connected in any way. Please note that you are not required to submit a proposal in addition to the art piece but are encouraged to do so. Also, please be aware that you are responsible to your work of art to Providence.


Conference Strands:


Business, Economics and Technology

New technologies and new uses of existing technologies are transforming the world’s economies.  Increased communication via the Internet and cell phones have exacerbated the advent of a globalism that compels all to look anew at the “business” of doing business, domestically and internationally. Additionally, the economics of indigent nations industrializing in a world of dwindling resources requires that we re-envision our use of natural resources and create “sustainable” business practices.  There is even a renaissance in the concept of what constitutes currency—Bitcoin is one example. Is “virtual money” a threat to the value of current world currencies?  Are there benefits to seeing “creative capital” anew as more than just a source of monetary profit? You may challenge old belief systems regarding the “business” of doing business and ask, Should we look anew at all business enterprises and ask if what they are producing is productive or wasteful, sustainable or destructive to the earth, to individual human health? Regarding financial technology, has it removed the “human element” from the world’s marketplace? Is this a beneficial or harmful development to nations, to individual investors?  Is there even a greater divide between the rich and the poor in the world today due to the technologies used in financial markets? What do predictive analytic financial tools reveal about human economic behavior? Can we manage the “green revolution” so that it truly is sustainable and helps economies grow where capital and natural resources are scarce?


For decades it has been suggested that American education is in decline. If the mission of education, especially higher education, is to present us with a path to see the world anew, what might we do to help usher this new vision along? At the heart of honors education is the curiosity and the initiative to delve deeper into material. How might honors lead the way to such an educational renaissance? We welcome proposals that examine ways in which copes or can cope with the intellectual and practical impasse we seem to be experiencing in the United States. We are especially interested in proposals that explore the role honors education can play in all facets of our educational systems and practices.


History and Politics

New ideas and approaches challenge the status quo and produce political, economic, and cultural battles. History captures the stories of change (or non-change) over time. We welcome studies that explore “lively experiments” to see our communities, societies, and world anew.


Language, Literature and Philosophy

Different schools of thought can often be traced back to experimentation with what was once considered the norm. Language is often rooted in the branching out and exploration of societies. Canonical literature stands the test of time because it is often the embodiment of experimentation with the written word.  To explore philosophy is to reconsider existence and reality; to experiment with what is known and to consider what lies beyond it. As we attempt to see things anew, we welcome proposals that explore experimentation within  literary or philosophical texts, or studies of language development and linguistics.


Media Studies and the Arts

Our conference theme embodies the ideas of renewal and seeing things through new perspectives. In what ways can the arts allow both artists and individuals to see things anew? Does art (both classic and experimental) have the power to inspire a renaissance of change in society? Does the perspective of popular news media accurately portray local, national, and global events? Do social media and emerging internet technologies “experiment” successfully or unsuccessfully? We welcome proposals that examine ways in which media and the arts have spurred renaissance, experimented in various ways, and caused people to see anew.


Natural Sciences, Psychology and Allied Health

In the current climate, Scientists and Health Professionals continue to design new experiments to give our world meaning and find solutions to the increasingly complex problems we face.  From designing personalized medications, to finding experimental solutions to the opioid epidemic, to the interdisciplinary blending of the sciences to find global solutions to climate change and beyond. How can the areas of the Natural Sciences, Psychology, and Allied Health lead the Renaissance of a “Lively Experiment?”  We welcome proposals that provide examples of new experiments to see our world anew.


Social Sciences (Sociology, Anthropology, Criminology)

This strand explores sociology, anthropology, and criminology. Students are asked to consider instances across these disciplines where experimentation and looking outside-the-box have helped bring fresh and different perspectives to our outlooks. What challenges are being faced in these disciplines that could benefit from bold innovations? For instance, How do we explore human relationships over time and how do different groups adapt (or don’t) to living with new neighbors. How do we, as a society, look upon law enforcement and our legal system to address issues of difference in fair and objective ways? Is “seeing anew” always better? We welcome work that examines the past and present manifestations of “seeing anew” as well as your projections and predictions for the future.