COA 345-A: Organizational Communication

COMM 329: Gender & Communication
Section (B): MWF 2:00-2:50
Dr. Chris Nix
Office: 18 Anderson Hall
Office Phone: 7988; Cell: 502.291.3567
Web: [email protected]
Fall 2006
Office Hours:
MWF 3:00 to 5:00
TU & TH 2:30 to 5:00
[Others by Appointment]
“Gender, like culture, organizes for its members different influence strategies, ways of communicating, nonverbal languages, and ways of perceiving the world.”
Carol Travis, The Mismeasure of Women. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), p. 291.
This course focuses on the interactive relationships between gender and communication in contemporary
American society. We will examine gender differences and similarities and the communicative consequences that
result. This implies two priorities for our class. First, we will consider how we enact socially constructed gender
differences in public and private settings and how those constructions affect our relationships and self-esteem.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, we will connect theory and research to our personal lives. Your
experiences, insights, questions, and ideas are a key part of this course.
COURSE OBJECTIVES At the end of this course, you should be able to:
Describe major socially constructed differences and similarities between men and women.
Use your knowledge of gender differences to improve your relationships.
Write clearly and effectively about the concerns of theory and scholarly research in the study of gender as
it relates to human communication.
Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship(s) between gender and communication in personal
This course contributes to Departmental and College missions by equipping you with skills necessary to integrate
a liberal arts education with critical contemporary issues.
Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M.W. (2003). The gender communication connection, Boston:
Houghton Mifflin.
Expectations & Policies:
You are expected to demonstrate leadership qualities throughout this course. Leadership qualities include
such behaviors as participating in class discussion, completing assignments in a timely manner, reading
your text, and attending class consistently. In this class, we will frequently discuss issues and concepts
that cannot be found in the assigned readings.
In order for this class to be successful, your attendance and participation are imperative. If you prefer
classes where the instructor gives a straight lecture and you disappear in the sea of faces in the
audience, this class is not for you. In depth class discussions allow you more opportunity to enhance
observation and analysis of communication scholarship. If you have some crisis or difficulty that prevents
you from meeting this expectation, then you are expected to inform me so we can make arrangements.
Be forewarned: Friends & Relatives tend to “drop off like flies” right around exam time. Doctors are not
quite clear on the causes, so be sure that you encourage those you love to seek medical
care/observation during these times. Only under rare circumstances will I administer a make-up
exam. Make-ups are generally more rigorous than exams taken during scheduled times. I reserve the
right to make case-by-case decisions regarding make-up exams, and under no circumstances will a
make-up exam be administered if student fails to notify the instructor of his/her situation prior to the
regularly scheduled exam.
Seek out help to do your best in the course. If you need assistance, have questions, or do not
understand the material, et cetera, please feel free to stop by my, office, email, and call. In an attempt to
exemplify the topic I teach and study I try to be perceptive and open; but I am not a mind reader.
Please turn your cell phone off during class time. Let people wonder where you are for an hour or so,
they’ll think you’re more important. Cell phone use is often distracting and inconsiderate
You are bound by the standards of the Georgetown College Honor Code for all of your work in this
course. Hence, accept and give no “unauthorized assistance” on any of the assignments for the course.
Signing your name on your assignments is your pledge and consent to abiding by the honor code. As
always, strive for high levels of integrity and scholarship in your work.
In order to pass this course, you must at minimum, attend 75% of the class meetings, (2) Earn 60% or
better when your three examination scores are averaged and (3) Submit and receive a passing grade on
your journal assignments.
Grading Scale
At the end of the semester, the points you have earned are summed and then divided by the total number of
points possible (600) to arrive at your final percentage grade. The results are translated to a letter grade using the
following scale. The grading scale used for this course is consistent with new grading criteria established by the
College as follows:
A 100%-93%
A/B 92%-88%
B 87%-83%
B/C 82%-78%
C 70%-77%
D 69%-60%
F 59% and Below
Assignments & Grading
Exams 3 @ 100 points each
300 Points
Gender Journals
100 Points
Extended Learning Activities (ELA’s)
50 Points
100 Points
Debate Decision Papers (DDP’s)
50 Points
600 Points Possible
There will be three exams during the semester. These exams will consist of multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-theblank, short answer, and essay questions. Please refer to the schedule for the specific dates and material to be
covered prior to each exam.
Gender Journals
Throughout the course, questions will be assigned for your consideration and reflection. In responding to the
questions, use one to two (or more) paragraphs to share your perspective on, understanding of, and experiences
with the topics assigned. Journals must be typed. As most of the issues are highly personal, consider the types of
responses you are willing to share with me. I can assure you that I consider your journals confidential material
and no eyes will read your responses other than mine. At the same time, I do not want to force you to share
experiences you would rather not disclose. Please feel free to ask me to share my experiences as they relate to
any of the assignments. I would not expect you to consider any topic that I am not willing to discuss. The journals
are worth 100 points (total) and are evaluated based on the depth and understanding you display of course
concepts. Include analysis of the topic assigned, not just a description.
Depth is the key issue. Don’t be afraid to carefully examine what you believe and why you believe what you
believe. Most importantly, remember the journals are really for your benefit, not mine, so use them to meet your
I will assign “due dates” for each journal assignment. You are responsible for keeping up with your entries.
Journals will be collected periodically throughout the semester. I will not announce the collection dates ahead of
time and will not collect journals on every due date. However, if I notice that you are missing entries or have failed
to complete your entries in a timely manner, I will deduct 10 points for each missing or incomplete journal.
Extended Learning Activities
These in class assignments will be given at random and will often require that you work in small groups.
Additionally, “Extended Learning Activities” (ELA’s) will frequently require that you analyze a film clip, news event,
or advertisement according to a specific concept throughout the semester. You are expected to push beyond the
surface to explore or question the underlying assumptions and implications of the material. On occasion, I will
assign you a take-home ELA. If you are not present in class during the time these ELA’s are assigned, you are
not permitted to complete the assignment for a grade. You may miss two (2) ELA’s without penalty. In other
words, I will drop two of your lowest scores and replace them with your highest. Absolutely no makeup points
may be earned for ELAs!
You will be assigned a debate topic to research. Additionally, your position will be assigned therefore you may be
required to “argue” for positions with which you disagree. There are no right or wrong answers or positions in
these debates. Rather, they are designed to highlight the pervasiveness of gender issues in society and to
stimulate thought, discussion, and research on gender, communication, and culture. They aim not only to engage
students in controversial issues, but also to guide students to recognize assumptions that lie behind positions and
implications of adopting various stances. There will be three debates throughout the semester. Team 1a will be
required to advocate a position while team 1b will be required to oppose that same position or stand. Details
regarding the requirements for this project will be addressed in separate handouts during the second week of this
semester. Winning teams will be determined by the class via written reports that summarize the debate outcomes.
These teams may elect to (1) apply 10 bonus points to an exam (2) skip five multiple choice/TF questions on an
exam, or (3) Skip one long essay exam questions or two short answer questions.
Debate Decision Papers (DDP’s)
Students will be expected to observe all debates and will be assigned a single debate to judge. As a debate
judge, you are expected to render a verdict regarding the outcome of a debate. This verdict will take the form of a
five page paper in which you are to (a) establish a focus on the question/issue relevant to the debate, (b) review
the major points that offer support to both positions (you will need to consult relevant literature concerning), (c)
review the major points that oppose both positions, and (c) establish specific areas where one or both groups
failed to address key points/defenses/arguments etc., and (d) render your verdict. Address the key strengths that
determined the success of one group over another. Remember, you are not to rely on your personal beliefs or
opinions when rendering a verdict. Rather evaluate groups based on objective criteria. We will address the
specifics of this assignment later in the semester.
Tentative Schedule*
Week 1:
Introduction to the Course
Course Goals, Policies & Procedures
Defining Gender & Your Roles: ELA
Masculinity vs. Femininity
Week 2:
Cultural Ramifications
Week 3:
Labor Day—No Class
Role Development: Social/Relational
Roots of Gender
Principles of Gendered Communication
► Debate Groups & Journal Topics Assigned
Theories of Sexuality & Identity
Week 4 :
Attraction Sexuality
Biological & Psychological Theories
Social Role Development & Culture
Assessing Gender & Language
Ch. 2 (pp. 36-39)
Ch. 2 (pp. 39-47)
Ch. 2 (pp. 48-57)
Week 5:
Principles of Language: Sapir-Whorf
Metaphors & Sexism
Genderlects & Gender Myths
Nonverbal Styles of Communication
Ch. 3 (pp. 58-68)
Ch. 3 (pp. 69-78)
Ch. 3 (pp. 78-87)
Axioms & Assumptions of Nonverbal
► Early Warning Reports Go Out
► Debate # 1 (Teams 1A & 1B)
Gender Differences in NV usage
Ch. 4 (pp. 88-105)
Read: Intro
Ch. 1 (pp. 5-9)
Ch. 1 (pp.6-24)
Ch. 2 (pp.27-36)
Debate Papers Assigned
Ch. 4 (pp. 106-114)
& (pp. 136-137)
Week 6:
Gender Differences in Friendship
Week 7:
Week 8:
Fall Break—No Class
Friendship & Gender (Differences)
Defining Intimacy & Romantic Closeness
Relationship Stage Model
Family Communication & Gender
Week 9:
Love & Family Relationships
Research on Altruistic Behaviors & Gender
Family Networks (Dynamics)
Gender in the Classroom
Ch. 8 (pp. 192-201)
Ch. 8 (pp. 202-214)
Week 10:
Elementary & Secondary Schools
Higher Education & Title IX
Proposed Remedies
Gender in the Workplace
Ch. 9 (pp. 226-236)
Ch. 9 (pp. 237-257)
Week 11:
Sharks, Dolphins, & Role Biases
► Debate # 2 (Teams 2A & 2B)
Harassment & the Glass Ceiling
Intro to Media & Gender
Ch. 10 (pp. 263-275)
Debate Papers Assigned
Ch. 10 (pp. 275-292)
Week 12:
► Examination # 2
Media Foundations
NCA Conference—No Class
Sports & Gender
► DDP’s Due (Round 2)
Ch. 13 (pp. 348-357)
Week 13:
Sports Media Coverage
Gender & Film
Dreamworlds & Media Violence
Gender, Power, & Violence
Ch. 13 (pp. 358-366)
Ch. 13 (pp. 366-373)
Ch. 14 (pp. 378-387)
Week 14:
Dynamics of Abuse
Intro to Feminisms
Thanksgiving Break (No Classes)
Social Movements
Ch. 14 (pp. 387-396)
Ch. 15 (pp. 401-413)
Week 15:
Historical Contexts & Women’s Movements
Men’s Movements
► Debate # 3 (Teams 3A & 3B)
Course Wrap Up
Ch. 15 (pp. 413-424)
Epilogue (pp. 426-429)
Debate Papers Assigned
Roundtable Discussion/Conclusion
Exam Review & Course Evaluations
Examination Review
Last Day of Class
Examination #3
Examination # 1
► DDP’s Due (Round 1)
Defining Friendship
Ch. 6 (pp. 138-149)
Fall Break—No Class
Gender Differences in Romantic Relationships
Ch. 6 (pp. 149-164)
Ch. 7 (pp. 165-174)
Ch. 7 (pp. 175-191)
► DDP’s Due (Round 3)
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