Comm 1500: Interpersonal Communication

Gordon State College
COMM 1500: Interpersonal Communication
Spring 2018

Monday and Wednesday, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m.
Location: Academic Building 207

Instructor: Erik Clabaugh
Email: or
Office: TBA
Office Hours: By appointment

Course Description (From Academic Catalog): An introduction to communication as it occurs in a two-person context, emphasizing how individuals use verbal and nonverbal communication to improve social and personal relationships.

Please Note: The lectures, readings, media clips, and discussions in this class may be controversial and/or contain obscenities. This may result in discussions that some students may find challenging to their current social, political, or religious views. A college education is intended to challenge and broaden our perspectives of the world. If we approach these topics with a calm and open attitude that uses logic and reason, and if we treat each other’s views with respect during discussion, you will find that you grow and mature as a person while becoming a more well-rounded individual.

Course Objectives: Improve communication within interpersonal relationships, including abilities to:
– Communicate ethically in a variety interpersonal contexts
– Communicate effectively, both verbally and nonverbally
– Serve as an effective listener
– Communicate emotions to others
– Effectively communicate during (and to prevent) conflicts
– Communicate effectively and ethically through technology

Required Text: IPC3, Richard West and Lynn H. Turner, 2017.

Grading Breakdown:

Exam #1- 20%
Exam #2- 20%
Exam #3- 20%
Quizzes: 20%
Attendance & Participation: 10%
Reading Responses: 10%

Graded Assignments:

Exams: 60%

Three exams will be given over the course of the semester. Scantrons will not be needed. Questions will be primarily multiple choice and short answer and will be derived from the assigned readings, lectures, and in-class discussions. Exams may not be made up without the express permission of the instructor.

Unannounced Quizzes: 20%

Over the course of the semester I will administer a number of unannounced quizzes that will account for 20% of your grade. Quizzes will be given during regular class sessions and may not be made-up if missed.

Attendance & Participation: 10%
Attendance is crucial if you hope to do well. What’s more, merely showing up and tuning out does little to further your education. As a result, students are expected to participate actively in classroom discussions. Failure to participate will have a negative impact on your grade.

Students are allowed 2 unexcused absences. Additional absences will have a negative impact on your grade.

Reading Responses: 10%

Students are required to submit a total of 5 reading responses over the course of the semester. Responses must be submitted in person (sorry, no email) at the beginning of the corresponding class session(s). So, for example, if you would like to submit a response to chapter 4, you should turn in your work at the beginning of class on 2/12 or 2/14. I accept responses in a wide variety of formats. See the “Graded Assignments” page for further details. Submissions will be graded against professional and collegiate standards and written portions must be typed, double spaced, in 12 point Times New Roman with 1 inch margins. Spelling and grammar will be graded and factual correctness is required. All responses should be in your own words. I know what the book says; I want to read your thoughts.

Greaded assignments will be discussed in more detail in class and additional information may be found here.

Grade Scale:

Letter grades for the course are based on a standard 100-point grading scale, with 90-100 = A, 80-89 = B, 70-79 = C, 60-69 = D, below 60 = F.


Attendance and Participation will account for 10% of your total grade. You will be graded on attendance, class discussions, and overall classroom behavior. Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Students are allowed 2 unexcused absences per semester; additional unexcused absences will impact your grade negatively. Students not present at roll call (i.e. late arrivals) will be marked absent. Excused absences include, but are not limited to, emergency doctor/hospital visits, court appearances, and funerals; these absences must be documented and approved by me. You are encouraged to discuss potential absences with me ahead of time when possible. Weddings, family vacations and similar events do not count as excused absences. If you are late or absent, speak with one of your classmates to obtain class notes and assignments. It will be difficult to make a passing grade if you do not attend class.

Classroom Etiquette: Mutual respect is important. During the semester there will be discussions where people will express personal viewpoints and beliefs. While it is not necessary that you agree with these ideas, it is mandatory that you be respectful of each other and keep all comments constructive.

Late Work will not be accepted.

Written Assignments will be graded against professional and collegiate standards and must be typed, double spaced, in 12 point Times New Roman with 1 inch margins. Spelling and grammar will be graded and factual correctness is required.

Calculating Your Grade: No online grade book is used for this course. Thus, students are encouraged to keep all graded assignments and keep track of their own grades. In the event that a student would like to estimate where they stand in the course, they should use those grades and adjust them to the percentages noted in this syllabus.

Academic Dishonesty will not be tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism and cheating. The penalty for academic dishonesty is a zero on the assignment, but may result in failure of the course and/or further disciplinary action by the college. Ignorance is not a defense. Using cell phones or other electronic devices during quizzes, tests, or exams is considered cheating and will result in an automatic zero on that assignment.

Emailing me is encouraged and I will make every effort to be available on a regular basis. Please always use your Gordon student account and note your class in the subject line (e.g. Comm 1500). While I will make every effort to respond quickly, I may not be able to provide an immediate response, please allow enough time before the assignment’s due date. I will check my e-mail on a regular basis, but this does not guarantee immediate or timely response. I am not responsible for e-mail that does not reach me.

In accordance with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) I will only discuss your grades with you.

I reserve the right to adjust this syllabus at any time.

Title IX
Gordon State College is committed to providing an environment free of all forms of discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. If you (or someone you know) has experienced or experiences any of these incidents, know that you are not alone. All faculty members at Gordon State College are mandated reporters. Any student reporting any type of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking must be made aware that any report made to a faculty member under the provisions of TitleIX will be reported to the Title IX Coordinator or a Title IX Deputy Coordinator. If you wish to speak with someone confidentially, you must contact the Counseling and Accessibility Services office, Room 212, Student Life Center. The licensed counselors in the Counseling Office are able to provide confidential support. Gordon State College does not discriminate against any student on the basis of pregnancy, parenting or related conditions. Students seeking accommodations on the basis of pregnancy, parenting or related conditions should contact Counseling and Accessibility Services regarding the process of documenting pregnancy related issues and being approved for accommodations, including pregnancy related absences as defined under Title IX.

ADA and 504
If you have a documented disability as described by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,
Section 504, you may be eligible to receive accommodations to assist in programmatic and/or physical accessibility. The Counseling and Accessibility Services office located in the Student Center, Room 212 can assist you in formulating a reasonable accommodation plan and in providing support in developing appropriate accommodations to ensure equal access to all GSC programs and facilities. Course requirements will not be waived, but accommodations may assist you in meeting the requirements. For documentation requirements and for additional information, contact Counseling and Accessibility Services at 678-359-5585