Below are courses I teach regularly at Chapman University, as well as brief descriptions of the nature and goals of each course:

COM 110: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication  
           The overall goal of this course is to help students become more competent communicators in interpersonal interactions. The course strives to introduce students to a wide variety of perspectives on interpersonal communication and encourages students to enlarge their understandings of the theory and practice of interpersonal communication.
            To achieve the above goals, you should be able to successfully identify, understand, and apply the following by the end of the semester:

  1. The overall principles of interpersonal communication and its role in our daily lives
  2. Key theories/concepts/models of interpersonal communication as a transactional process
  3. The channels of verbal and nonverbal communication as they relate to interpersonal relationships
  4. How culture, perception, and the self are intrinsically related to the process of interpersonal communication
  5. The role of interpersonal communication in specific relational contexts (i.e., romantic partnerships, families, friendships)
  6. How to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses as a communicator


COM 440: Conflict, Power, and Negotiation
           COM 440 stresses how people use communication to manage their conflicts. We will explore the many factors that affect what happens before, during, and after conflict interactions in a number of contexts. The course is also experiential and designed to help you develop and apply communication skills useful to various communication situations. The communication experiences in COM 440 have the potential to enhance your conflict interactions in a number of ways. You should thus be prepared to explore your feelings concerning conflict and your behaviors during conflict interactions so that you may better prepare yourself to engage effectively and appropriately in future conflict episodes.
           My goals for us are as follows: (1) increased learning and understanding of the nature of conflict, power, and negotiation (i.e., definitions, elements, and examples); (2) increased learning about how conflict occurs in different relationships and different contexts; (3) improved ability to identify conflict and ways to competently manage it; and (4) improved ability to identify what conflict styles you and those around you adopt to manage conflict.

COM 480:Nonverbal Communication
           Nonverbal communication is a more important aspect of communication than many people realize. In many cases, nonverbal cues are more important than verbal cues in conveying meaning. You cannot be a competent communicator without being skilled at observing, interpreting, responding appropriately to, and sending nonverbal messages. Thus, this course is designed to familiarize you with important issues related to nonverbal communication. You will be given opportunities to grapple with and apply those issues cognitively and behaviorally. When you complete this course, you should have a better understanding of the types of nonverbal behaviors that communicate meanings and the functions that those behaviors perform. You should ideally be able to more closely monitor and understand the nonverbal behavior of yourself and others in order to have communicatively competent interpersonal interactions.

HCOM 597:Special Topics: The Intersection of Interpersonal and Health Communication Contexts
           This graduate seminar provides an in-depth overview of classic and contemporary literature in health communication in interpersonal contexts. The primary goals of the seminar are to familiarize students with the major topics, concepts, theories, and research studies that comprise this integrated body of literature, encourage critical thinking about the state-of-knowledge in the field, and facilitate independent reading and research on a topic of personal interest.
           Part of being a health communication scholar is understanding how to construct and present a cogent argument. Thus, an additional purpose of this course is to help you develop and hone your writing and argumentation skills. This will be accomplished via writing assignments such as reaction papers and a research proposal.

HCOM 570: Interpersonal Communication Theory
           This course is designed to give you a working map of important theories in interpersonal communication. It would an impossible task to teach you all the theories that exist in and about interpersonal communication in the fullest depth in one semester. Instead, the course offers pointers and teaches you to consume theory, and in so doing, it surveys major theoretical issues and propositions in interpersonal communication, particularly as they relate to health and strategic communication. The course begins with consideration of the ways in which theories are constructed and have been broadly applied to human communication and then moves on to consider specific theories about particular interpersonal communication activities and enterprises.
At the end of the semester, I hope that you will be able to do the following:
• Describe the concerns of theory and theoretical scholarly research in the study of interpersonal communication;
• Define and cogently discuss theory especially in relation to interpersonal communication;
• Accurately outline the process of creating, developing, and testing theories of interpersonal communication;
• Recognize and identify the defining characteristics of scientific theoretical approaches to the study of interpersonal communication;
• Apply interpersonal communication concepts and principles to the understanding of health and/or strategic communication; and
• Successfully use the language of communication theory in speaking and writing

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