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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Malcolm R Parks
COM 472
Seattle Campus

Empirical Approaches to Interpersonal Communication

Examination of theories and research on the development and deterioration of interpersonal relationships. Emphasis on the nature of interpersonal interaction, the role of language and nonverbal communication in relationships, functional and dysfunctional interaction patterns, and the dynamics of interpersonal networks.

Class description

Interpersonal communication is a particular kind of communication. It occurs when people respond to each other as individuals rather as members of groups or cultures. Interpersonal communication can occur in many settings—one-on-one relationships, the internet, organizations. Whatever the setting, true interpersonal communication is relatively rare. It takes time to achieve. It is usually something people work up to over time. Because of this, it usually occurs in our personal relationships. This is a class about how we achieve interpersonal communication and about how it can be lost. The class is organized around the lifecycle of interpersonal relationships— how they start, how they develop and are maintained, how they often run into difficulty and dissolve, and how they shape our lives

Student learning goals

When you are finished, you should be able to:

• Distinguish interpersonal communication from other kinds of communication. • View individuals and relationships as communication • Describe the role played by personal relationships in the life of individuals, organizations, and societies. • Describe the way that communication changes as relationships develop and dissolve. • Apply theories of interpersonal communication to your own experience. • Use social network concepts to think creatively and critically. • Identify common patterns of dysfunctional interpersonal communication and suggest alternatives. • Engage in conflict with more productively—with both greater courage and thought. • Describe how relationships come apart and what commonly happens afterwards.

Our overarching goal in this class is help you see your own experience through the lens of a growing body of social scientific findings.

General method of instruction

Lecture / discussion

Recommended preparation

Com 202 or 270 encouraged Com 382 helpful

Class assignments and grading

Tests, short papers


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Malcolm R Parks
Date: 10/14/2011