CMM 526: Seminar in Interpersonal Communication


Fall 2000

Dr. Lynne Kelly                                                                                                               Harry Gray Center E216
Office Hours: MW 10:30-12, TR 1:30-2:30 & by appt.                                                  768-4647 or 4633

Most of our daily communication involves talking to friends, lovers, family members, acquaintances, and people in service positions.   We do this routinely, usually without much thought, unless some problem occurs or the relationship starts to go down the tubes.  Then we become painfully aware of the poor communication we have had with another.  I hate to think of the number of relationships that have slipped away in my life because we couldn't talk to each other or didn't bother to try.
 In this course we will look at the mundane, yet remarkable, process of dyadic (one-on-one), face-to-face (mostly) communication.  We'll take a topical approach to the subject of interpersonal communication, examining a broad array of topics studied by interpersonal communication scholars. We will spend time on the role of communication in the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of relationships of all types.  You will learn new terms and theories and how they apply to your own relationships and communication abilities.
 This is a seminar, which means that there will be very little lecture.  Instead, we will discuss readings and papers you write.  For many class periods you will prepare brief response papers which we'll use to generate and focus our discussion.
There will be readings assigned for each class session, and you are responsible for having read the material.  You are also expected to contribute to class discussion.

You will:
1.  become familiar with a variety of concepts and theories of interpersonal communication.
2.  understand models of relationship development and dissolution and other relational processes, especially the role of communication in those processes.
3.  be able to analyze interpersonal communication situations and relationships and apply course concepts to those cases.
4.  work to improve your interpersonal communication competence.

 Cupach, W. R., & Spitzberg, B. H. (Eds.) (1994).  The dark side of interpersonal communication.  Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
 Daly, J. A., & Wiemann, J. M. (Eds.) (1994).  Strategic interpersonal communication.  Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
 Duck, S. (1998).  Human relationships (3rd ed.)  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

In addition to the texts, there will be several readings on reserve in Mortensen Library; also available through Mortensen's electronic reserves.  To use the electronic reserves, you must stop by the circulation desk of the library with your student ID so they can enter you in the system.

1.   Reading.  Each week you are responsible for the assigned reading.

2. Response Papers.  For four weeks (you choose which ones), you are to write a response to the reading (about 2-3 typed pages).  The purpose of this assignment is to get you thinking about issues the reading raises.  When you write these papers, focus on the ideas or issues presented in the reading, not the length or quality of the writing of a particular reading.  You might want to talk about how two readings connect, or provide some application of a concept, or take a stand on an issue and argue your point.  You need to complete two of these papers by October 18 and the remaining two must be completed by December 6.  If you want to finish them earlier than these dates, you have my blessing!

3. Analysis Papers.  You are to write two 5-7 page papers in which you
 analyze some significant interpersonal relationship or interaction you
 have experienced (or are currently experiencing) using course concepts.
 You will have some options from which to choose for these
 assignments. Details will be presented in class.

4. Synthesis Paper.  Your final paper should be about 8-10 pages.  For this
 assignment you need to select a topic that interests you from those
 covered or touched on in class, do some outside reading on the topic,
 and write a two-part paper.  About the first two-thirds of the paper
 should synthesize the material you read about the topic.  The second
 part should examine the practical implications of the material
 presented in the first part.  What can you (or someone else) do with
 the information you summarized?  How might it help people with
 their interpersonal relationships or they dyadic communication?
 Futher details will be presented in class.

Response Papers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30%
Analysis Papers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30%
Synthesis Paper . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . 30%
Class Participation . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .10%


9/6  Introduction to the course; lecture on background material.

9/13  Verbal and nonverbal communication in interaction and
  Reading Due: Duck Ch. 1, D&W Introduction & Ch. 9

9/20  Communication and emotions; assign analysis paper #1
  Reading Due: Duck Ch. 2, D&W Ch. 5, Aron & Aron reading (on

9/27  Developing and maintaining relationships
  Reading Due:  Duck Ch. 3, D&W Ch. 4, Wood reading (on reserve)

10/4  Family communication and relationships
  Reading Due: Duck Ch. 4, C&S Ch.11, Gottman reading (on

10/11 Language and control; influencing others
  Reading Due:  Duck Ch. 5, D&W Ch. 2 & 3

10/18 Computer-mediated interpersonal communication and
  Reading Due: Walther reading (on reserve), Lea & Spears (on
  DUE:  Analysis paper #1

10/25 Interpersonal communication and culture; assign analysis paper 2.
  Reading Due: D&W Ch. 8, Montgomery reading (on reserve) &
  Adamopoulos reading (on reserve)

11/1  Introduction to the ždark sideÓ; communicating hurtful messages
  Reading Due:  C&S Ch. 1 & 3

11/8  No class--NCA convention

11/15 Paradoxes, equivocation and dilemmas
  Reading Due: C&S Ch. 4, 5 & 6
  DUE: Synthesis paper topic and analysis paper #2

11/22   No class--Thanksgiving break

11/29 Predicaments, transgressions and deception
  Reading Due: C&S Ch. 7, 8 & 9

12/6  Interpersonal communication and ideology; topics as needed
  Reading Due: C&S Ch. 13, Parks reading (on reserve)

12/13 Presentations about synthesis papers; summary and course

Synthesis papers are due on Monday, December 18 by 4:30.

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