Instructor: Don Lowe Office: 240 Grehan Bldg. Hours

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COM 252: Interpersonal Communication


University of Kentucky

Spring 2004

Section 010 and 011

Instructor: Don Lowe

Office: 240 Grehan Bldg. Hours: MW 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. TR 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Email: Phone: 257-2954
Course Director: Dr. Enid Waldhart Course Website:

Required Materials

Textbook: Adler, R.B., Rosenfeld, L. B., & Proctor, R. F., II (2004). Interplay: The process of interpersonal communication, (9th Edition). New York: Oxford University Press (ISBN: 0-19-516707-4 for internet shopping).

Scan Forms: Approx. 20 Scantron forms (#882-ES) from the bookstore for taking quizzes and

Email Account: It is required that all students set up a u-connect account at:
The benefits you receive in this class are directly proportional to your efforts in keeping up with the assigned reading and actively participating in class to build trust, cooperation, support and mutual respect.

Since “communication” is so basic, many of us take it for granted and don’t think about it seriously. At least, not until something “goes wrong.” Unfortunately, this attitude tends to result in such difficulties as misunderstandings, conflict, avoidance, and stereotyping. We will examine basic concepts, theories, and research findings about communication and the role it plays in initiating, developing, and maintaining (or terminating) relationships. Lecture, discussion, in- and out-of-class observations, and “applied” assignments will be used to increase student knowledge and behavioral competence in interpersonal communication.

Interpersonal Communication is designed to increase your understanding and implementation of effective interpersonal communication behaviors and skills. Throughout the semester we will examine basic verbal and nonverbal concepts affecting the communication process between individuals in various interpersonal contexts. This course requires you to participate in written and verbal activities designed to develop and improve interpersonal skills and will actually improve the quality of your life if you keep an open mind and participate actively! Topics may include: an introduction to interpersonal communication theory, relationship and conversation management, effective listening, conflict management, ethics in communicating, communication climate, and cultural/gender differences in interpersonal communication.

Competencies and Objectives

Interpersonal communication introduces students to the complex interaction of social and psychological forces operating in human communication. The course is designed with a dual approach consisting of both theory and application that allows students opportunities to critically evaluate the intricacies of interpersonal relationships and the communication issues surrounding human interaction in various contexts.
At the conclusion of the course it is expected that students will demonstrate knowledge and skills in several core areas. Specifically, students should demonstrate an increased understanding of:

1. The options and alternatives for action in a wide variety of interpersonal situations.

2. Individual preferences and an increased appreciation for the differences of others.

3. The dialectical tensions that arise as students use communication to satisfy conflicting personal needs.

4. How the process of perception affects communication behavior.

5. The ethical dimensions of interpersonal communication.

6. The importance of nonverbal communication in successful interpersonal interactions.

7. Defensive and supportive communication climates.

8. Competence and an ability to assess the appropriateness and effectiveness of interpersonal strategies used in various interpersonal relationships.

9. Why and how relationships develop and the role communication plays in determining the nature and quality of interpersonal relationships.

10. Conflict in interpersonal communication and the application of conflict management principles.

11. Competencies related to communication with individuals from other cultures and co-cultures.

In addition, COM 252 addresses the following University Studies Program Competencies:

  1. Writing: To communicate effectively using standard written English.

  2. Reading: To understand, analyze, summarize and interpret a variety of reading materials.

  3. Integrated Learning: To think critically and make connections in learning across the disciplines.

  4. Creative Thinking: To elaborate upon knowledge to create thoughts, processes, and/or products that are new to the students.

  5. Ethics/Values: To demonstrate an awareness of ethical considerations in making value choices.

COM 252 can be taken to fulfill the Oral Communication Skills Requirement in the University Studies Program (USP is a program designed to provide undergraduate students with a comprehensive liberal arts education). If you have questions about this requirement, please contact Dr. Enid Waldhardt at 257-2886 or the USP Office at 257-3027.

General Requirements

You are expected to:

1. Be on time for all class meetings.

2. Interact productively in class discussions and group activities.

3. Be prepared daily for discussions and quizzes by reading all assigned material BEFORE the day it is listed on the course schedule.

4. Successfully deliver an instructional group workshop.

5. Submit all written assignments TYPED at the BEGINNING of the class period on the designated date.

6. Complete all major assignments (workshops, class assignments, and tests). FAILURE TO COMPLETE THE WORKSHOP WILL RESULT IN AN ‘E’ FOR THE COURSE—regardless of your accumulated point total. Failure to complete any other major assignment will result in a drop of one letter grade for each assignment missed.

Classroom Civility

There are certain basic standards of classroom civility that should be adhered to, particularly in a communication course. Civility does not eliminate appropriate humor, enjoyment, or other features of a comfortable and pleasant classroom community. Classroom civility does, however, include the following:

1. Displaying respect for all members of the classroom community, both your instructor and fellow students.

2. Attentiveness to and participation in lectures, group activities, workshops, and other classroom exercises.

3. Avoidance of unnecessary disruptions during class such as private conversations, reading newspapers, and doing work for other classes.

4. Avoidance of racist, sexist, homophobic, or other negative language that may unnecessarily exclude members of our campus and classroom community.

These features of classroom civility do not comprise an exhaustive list. Rather, they represent the minimal sort of behaviors that help to make the classroom a pleasant place for all concerned.

Reasonable Accommodation

If you have a special need that may require an accommodation or assistance, please inform the instructor as soon as possible and no later than the end of the second class meeting.
CommSult Services: If you need assistance with oral presentations, contact Cyndy Miller at or call 859/257-6137.
Department Of Communication Policies

Research Policy: The Department of Communication is committed to involving undergraduate students in scholarly research so that they may understand the importance of generating new knowledge at the University of Kentucky as a Research I institution.  Students in this class are expected to participate in one research study (approved by the University IRB and assigned for this course).  The study may take up to 50 minutes of one regularly scheduled class period during the semester.  For this participation, students will receive extra credit points of up to 1% of the course grade.
Academic Integrity

We expect that all of the individual assignments you complete for COM 252 (and in all of your other courses) are always your own work. We find, however, that many students are not sure exactly what “your own work” means. You will be given a statement attesting to using only your own work or citing ideas belonging to others. A copy of this signed statement will be yours to keep and also will be kept in a class file. In addition, please read again the information on plagiarism and cheating from your UK Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook ( and check with your instructor if you are uncertain about what this entails.

The sanction or punishment for a student who has either plagiarized or cheated is a minimum of an “E” grade for the entire course, but may involve suspension, dismissal, or expulsion from the University. As you can see, these are extreme measures for academic offenses that we believe are serious. If you have any questions about whether you may be plagiarizing in your work for COM 252, please be sure to contact your instructor well in advance of the due date for your assignment.

Attendance Policy

ATTENDANCE IS REQUIRED. Class attendance and participation are important in accomplishing the goals of this course. Readings, class discussions, group workshops, and in-class activities increase both your understanding of interpersonal communication theory and the development of your interpersonal communication skills. In order to receive credit for attendance you must attend for the ENTIRE class period. Failure to do so will result in an absence for the given class session.
Please arrive to class on time. Tardiness is unprofessional and is not fair to your instructor or to your classmates. Consequently, if you are consistently late or leave early, you can expect to have 10 points deducted from your final grade for EACH tardy or early departure . Moreover, do not expect your instructor to cover any missed material. If you are a few minutes late for a class, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure the instructor has not marked you absent for that day. This must be done on the day you are late. Otherwise, it holds as a day missed.
You will be allowed two unexcused absences during the semester. You cannot make up work missed for unexcused absences—you simply receive a zero. For each subsequent unexcused absence over two, 100 points will be deducted from your final grade. You are given these free absences for special situations for which you have to miss class but would not otherwise receive an official excuse. Do not use these “freebies” for blowing off class and then come to the instructor later (after you have gone over the limit) when you have special circumstances and expect an excuse. The freebies allow for emergencies; please don’t abuse this option.
The Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook defines an excused absence as the following: 1. Illness of the student or serious illness of a member of the student’s immediate family. 2. The death of a member of the student’s immediate family. 3. Trips for members of student organizations sponsored by an academic unit, trips for University classes, and trips for participation in intercollegiate athletic events. 4. Major Religious holidays. If a student has excused absences in excess of one-fifth of the class contact hours, a student shall have the right to petition for a “W’ and the faculty member may require the student to petition for a “W.” For any officially excused absence, you are responsible for presenting official written documentation for the absence. For university-sponsored absences, this notification is to be given to the instructor prior to the absence; for other excused absences, this documentation must be presented within one week of the absence.
If you do miss class, please see a classmate regarding class discussions and assignments. Students are responsible for arranging to make up missed work before Dead Week. See sections and of the Students Rights and Responsibilities Handbook for further clarification.

This course combines lectures by the instructor, class discussion of assigned textbook readings, group work, audio/video presentations emphasizing certain communication concepts and skills, oral presentations by students, quizzes, exams, and classroom activities which all contribute to your overall understanding of interpersonal communication. Out-of-class work will include written exercises (class assignments), library research of communication concepts and planning of activities that are presented in a group seminar. Assigned chapters should be read before class so that you will be able to make a contribution to the class discussions and activities and perform well on the quizzes and exams.

Participation – Oral Skill Opportunities

Since this is an oral communication skills course, we want to provide you with many opportunities to develop these skills. Aside from general class participation, such opportunities may include in-class presentations, briefing sessions, and dyadic communication case studies, etc.


Your reading assignments are included in the course schedule. In addition to the textbook, you may, from time to time, be required to read other material that will be put on reserve in Young Library. If you do not do the reading, do not expect to benefit substantially from the course.
Written Work
Although this course meets the oral communication skills requirement, work in the class involves some written assignments as evidence that you understand and can apply the principles and concepts we discuss.

You will be expected to use correct spelling in all written work. Use of appropriate grammatical skills in oral and written communication is also very important. Throughout the course you will expand your personal vocabulary through the study of terms related to the course. Your written work will be evaluated on both content and mechanics. Good writing should be reasonably free of mistakes and without composition errors which are called gross errors (sentence fragments, run-on sentences, subject-verb disagreement, misspelled words, and typographical errors which result in such errors). All of your work MUST BE TYPED (using no more than 12 point type with margins not exceeding 1 inch on the top, right, and bottom, and 1.5 inches on the left) and double-spaced—unless otherwise indicated by the instructor. You must also submit all written assignments using APA 5th Edition style guidelines.


Writing Assignments

You will be assigned two papers and several smaller written works during the semester that are to be typed reflections/applications/analysis that relate course material to your own experiences. You will be expected to ‘react’ to class activities, videos, stories, simulations, lectures and readings by integrating your knowledge of the concepts learned with your interpersonal relationships. These writing assignments will be reviewed only by your instructor and will be held in strict confidence. The writing will be graded on completeness, clarity, introspection and conceptual foundations. Writing assignments will be provided in class on the dates noted on your course schedule.

Group Seminar

In order to give you practical experience in developing your interpersonal communication competencies, you will design and manage a group seminar on specific concepts related to a topic assigned by the instructor. Grading criteria include: research (scholarship, outside sources, citing of sources, recent sources within last 5 years, use of academic sources), application/integration (demonstration of concepts, focus on interpersonal channel, skills and usefulness), innovation (originality, multimedia usage, minimum textbook reliance, use of creativity, taking risks) presentation (delivery, organization, clarity, balance, formal introductions and conclusions, timeliness, good transitions, on-time presentation, sense of purpose and sticking to it, question and answer period with class), written work (annotated bibliography, quality of handouts, agenda, synopsis, use of APA style, preliminary outlines).


Quizzes covering the readings will be administered throughout the semester. The number and frequency of the quizzes will be determined by the instructor. Your instructor may choose to give quizzes without prior announcement. Each quiz will consist of several multiple-choice questions addressing the reading for the assigned chapter(s). Quiz questions are designed to measure both your familiarity with key concepts and theories and your ability to apply this knowledge in specific situations.


Two exams, a mid-term and a final, will cover all of the course readings, class exercises and class discussions. They will consist of multiple choice questions.

Determination of Final Grade

The final grade will be determined by adding the total points earned for each of the graded assignments and referring to the grading scale. The final grade is based on number of points accumulated—NOT PERCENTAGES.
Point Distribution 1000 pt-spread

EXAMS 2x150 300 pts

QUIZZES 5x20 100 pts


Group Workshop 150 pts

Presentation 100 pts

Program 50 pts

In and Out of Class Exercises

Assessments, etc. 150 pts

Self Paper 25 pts

Reference Library 25 pts

Works Cited Page 25 pts

Group (Island) 25 pts

My Day 25 pts

Seminar Evals 25 pts


Papers (2 @ 100 points each)

Social Outing 50 pts

NV Exercise 50 pts


Grading Scale 1000 pt-spread

A = 900 – 1000

B = 800 – 899

C = 700 – 799

D = 600 – 699

E = 0 – 599

Spring 2004 Com 252 TR Daily Course Schedule*


R Jan 15 Orientation

T Jan 20 Comm Process Chapter 1

R Jan 22 Culture Chapter 12 Quiz 1


Valuing Diversity
T Jan 27 Perception Chapter 3
R Jan 29 Self Chapter 4 Self Papers
T Feb 3 Self Papers
R Feb 5 Listening Chapter 6


Art of Listening Quiz 2
T Feb 10 Seminars


R Feb 12 Research

Meet in Reference Library (Group 1)/OR In class TBA

T Feb 17 Research

Meet in Reference Library (Group 2)/OR In class TBA

R Feb 19 Group 1 Works

Deserted Island Cited Group 2

Lost on the Moon
T Feb 24 Verbals Chapter 4 Quiz 3

R Feb 26 Verbals Chapter 4


T Mar 2 Nonverbals Chapter 5

R Mar 4 Nonverbals Chapter 5 FRA 1

Social Norms

T Mar 9 Mid Term Review Chapters 1-6

And Chapter 12

R Mar 11 Mid Term Examination

T-R Mar 15-18 Spring Break
T Mar 23 Mid Term Grade Reports

Attraction Theory Chapter 8

R Mar 25 Relational Stages Chapter 8 FRA 2

Social Outing

T Mar 30 Assertiveness Chapter 11
R Apr 1 Extra Credit

In Class
T Apr 6 Interpersonal Chapter 11 Quiz 4

Power Handouts
R Apr 8 Conflict Chapter 11


T Apr 13 Seminars Programs

R April 15 Seminars

T April 20 Seminars
R April 22 Seminars
T April 27 Seminars

R April 29 Review for Final Examination

All Units/Handout

Make Up Work/Folders Due

Final Exam Tues May 4 at 9:00 a.m. (listed in schedule as 8:00 a.m.)
*All dates are subject to change. You will be notified in advance of all changes.

*All written work must be submitted at the beginning of class.

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