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UG Course Syllabi

CMST 201/207

Introduction to Communication Studies
Spring 2019           3 Credits
Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9:05 to 9:55 Humanities and Social Sciences 123

Instructor: Emily A. Paskewitz, Ph.D. E-mail:
Office: 293 Communications Building Phone: 865-974-1171 Office Hours: By appointment – just ask!

Please do not see office hours exclusively as a time to address problems with the course. You can use them to clarify points you do not understand, to get additional readings, or to talk about the subject matter in relation to your interests.

To set up an appointment, the best way to contact me is via email. I will usually respond within 36 hours of receiving an email from you. However, there are limits. The 36-hour rule does not apply to weekends and holidays—it may take longer for a response during those times.

Please read this syllabus carefully. By continuing to take this course, you have accepted the conditions and expectations of the course.

Paskewitz, E. A. (2018). Introduction to communication studies: CMST 201. McGraw Hill Create.

Additional resources (hand-outs, articles, and website references) are required readings and will be posted on Canvas.

Course Description:
Fundamental theories and practices with particular reference to interpersonal and organizational communication.

Student Learning Objectives:
• We will develop a basic understanding of the scientific, humanistic, and critical/cultural studies ways of defining and studying communication
• We will understand the historical development of the field
• We will develop a basic understanding of the sub-disciplines within the major (interpersonal, organizational)
• We will learn the components of effective written and oral communication
• We will practice the foundations of relationship building and group interaction
• We will understand how to navigate the major, access available resources, and utilize a communication studies degree

Course Communication: This class requires you to regularly check your UTK email and Canvas for updates. If you have your email forwarded from UTK to another account, you may miss Canvas emails. Please be sure to keep an eye on both of these for information about class. If you have issues with your email or with Canvas, contact OIT:

Course Assignments: Your grade is based on your performance in the class on exams and a
variety of activities. A summary of these is found below (more information will be available on Canvas and in class):
Exams (3 @ 100 points each). The course has three examinations during the semester as indicated on your daily schedule. Material for exam questions will come both from your textbook, online readings, and class material. The first two exams will only cover the previous readings and chapters. A portion of exam three (Final Exam) will be comprehensive to the semester. Exams will use multiple choice, true/false, and matching questions.
Quizzes (3 @ 10 points each). There are three online quizzes over the course of the semester. These will be available on Canvas from 8:00am to 11:59pm on the assigned due date unless otherwise noted. Quizzes are multiple choice.
Group Video Project (120 points). The project will be completed in groups that will be determined in the first few days of class. As a group, you will prepare and create a 5-7 minute communication analysis video. This project is designed to provide you the opportunity to demonstrate your: a) understanding of course material and b) ability to apply course content in an educational, yet entertaining manner. It is also designed for you to learn new skills, researching, developing, and producing a video, which is in demand in the professional arena. A detailed description of each part of the project is provided in a separate handout in Canvas.

Nature of Group Work:
Working in groups is tricky. I recognize there can be situations where you may not get along or where the work load is unbalanced. As a result, I maintain the following group project policies:
• The team project requires each team member to be actively engaged with the team; attend all team meetings; complete team assignments by the team’s due dates; and complete his/her fair share of the project workload. Every group member MUST APPEAR in the video.
• Attendance is mandatory for the THREE in-class group work days listed in the course schedule. Any student that does not attend class on any of these days will receive a 10% grade deduction per in-class work day from their final group project grade. Further, be on time to avoid being penalized as attendance will be taken at the beginning of class on inclass group work days. At the beginning of each in-class group work day, groups must submit a role sheet of group members present.
• Groups will be assigned within the first few weeks of class. Group member composition is final unless otherwise stated by the instructor. • If a group wants to “fire” a member from their group, they must first meet with Dr. Paskewitz to discuss options.

Grading Scale: The following grading scale will be used to determine final grades for the course.

A 450-423 B- 377-360 D+ 314-301
A- 422-405 C+ 359-346 D 300-288
B+ 404-391 C 345-333 D- 287-270
B 390-378 C- 332-315 F 269 or below

I try to post grades in a timely manner on Canvas. All grades posted on Canvas are final after 7 days. You will need to meet with Dr. Paskewitz before the 7 days are up if you have questions about your grade.

Please note I do not use percentages for grading. Your grade is calculated based on points earned in the course. This means if you are 1 point away from a B-, you have received a C+ in the course. Communication majors and minors must earn at least a C- in all CMST courses.

Students are encouraged to discuss their progress with me anytime throughout the semester. Please visit me during office hours or make an appointment for discussing grades rather than before or after class. I encourage students to meet with me sooner rather than later in the semester. Early meetings mean more time for improvement.

Course Policies:
1. Academic Integrity: An essential feature of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is a commitment to maintaining an atmosphere of intellectual integrity and academic honesty. As a student of the university, it is expected that you will neither knowingly give nor receive any inappropriate assistance in academic work, thus affirming my own personal commitment to honor and integrity. Not knowing the definition of plagiarism does not excuse you from consequences. Hilltopics provides more information about issues of academic integrity.

Part of academic integrity is citing sources for all of your work. You are required to cite all sources you use in this class (both in text and reference page). This class uses APA format for citations. I encourage you to use a current APA format guide of your choice.
Outside of the APA style manual, I recommend the following resource:

2. Attendance: Make a habit of attending class daily and being on time for class (which really means early). Based on UT Academic Policy, academic success is built upon regular class attendance. You are responsible for all work assigned in class even if you are absent. I do not post lecture notes online.

3. Class Participation: The nature of this course is such that your consistent, active involvement is required. Thus, I expect you to attend each class, arriving on time with assigned readings and assignments completed.

4. Deadlines: All work is due at the beginning of class on the designated due date. Missed or late assignments will not be accepted. An assignment is considered late when it is submitted after the start of class on the stated deadline. The only exception to this will be documented and university accepted excuses that have been brought to my attention in advance. No make-up work is available for any assignment unless prior arrangements are made with Dr. Paskewitz. Emailed assignments will NOT be accepted. This policy also applies to all exams and quizzes.

5. Handing in Work: All papers must be typed in Times New Roman, double-spaced, 1 inch margins, stapled, and in 12-point font. Think about self-presentation and impression formation as you put together your assignments. Specific writing requirements for each assignment will be shared later in class. Papers are expected to reflect university-level writing quality. In other words, spelling, organizational, and grammatical errors will greatly reduce your final grade. To aid in this, I recommend you make use of the Writing Center. If you would like early feedback on writing assignments, please visit me during office hours.

6. Responsibility: Part of getting a college degree is preparing to the “real world”, a world in which you must take responsibility for yourself and accept the consequences of your actions (positive or negative). This means we should all be prepared to: (1) obtain information from classmates due to absences; (2) checking the syllabus and Canvas closely for readings, assignments, and questions; (3) keeping track of exam dates and deadlines for the course; and (4) keeping track of grades throughout the semester.

7. Technology: Class time will be spent talking with each other and I expect everyone to be fully engaged in our discussions. As a result, I maintain a no technology policy in my classroom. Research shows taking notes by hand is better for retaining information, so come prepared to take notes without the use of a computer, tablet, or cell phone. There are times I may allow technology.

8. CCI Diversity Statement: CCI recognizes and values diversity. Exposing students to diverse people, ideas and cultures increases opportunities for intellectual inquiry, encourages critical thinking, and enhances communication and information competence. When all viewpoints are heard, thoughtfully considered, and respectfully responded to, everyone benefits. Diversity and fairness unite us with the wider professional and global community.

9. Civility: Please check out UT’s policy on civility: For this class, I expect we all will treat each other in a respectful and professional manner. This does not mean you cannot disagree with me or others (friendly debate is encouraged!) but do so in a polite manner.

10. Disability Services: Any student who feels he or she may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 865-974-6087 in 100 Dunford Hall to document their eligibility for services. ODS will work with students and faculty to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Please remember the Office of Disability Services instructs students to talk to instructors in advance to receive appropriate accommodations.

11. College Life: As a student, you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to your learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, and/or feeling down. These concerns and events may reduce your ability to participate in daily activities, including classes. The University of Tennessee offers free services to assist you, and you can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus at



Required Text:

Solomon, D. H., & Theiss, J. A. (2013). Interpersonal communication: Putting theory into practice. New York, NY: Routledge. ISBN: 9780415807524


Required Course Technology:

Throughout the course of this semester, I will regularly communicate with you via your student email address, and through Canvas. The course Canvas site is a valuable tool for communication and document sharing. Additionally, you will be required to submit assignments electronically via Canvas.


Course Overview and Goals:

This course examines concepts and contexts relevant to the study of interpersonal communication. In the home, at school, at work, and in public, interpersonal communication is an intricate process that weaves the fabric of our lives as social beings. Through this course, you will better understand the process of interpersonal communication and see its application in your daily life. First, basic foundations and the process of interpersonal communication are examined. Then, the expectations people form prior to a conversation, the messages that they produce using language and nonverbal cues as well as the ways in which they attach meaning to the behaviors of others are explored.


Course Objectives:

  1. Possess an understanding of the foundational concepts associated with communication in a variety of relationship types, including friendships, families, and romantic relationships.
  2. Possess an understanding of both the social scientific study of interpersonal communication and the practice of competent interpersonal communication by exploring the theories associated with everyday interpersonal interactions.
  3. Possess a deeper understanding of the processes associated with communicating interpersonally in a variety of contexts.
  4. Possess an understanding of how external/environmental and internal factors impact the way people present themselves and how they are perceived by others.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to apply interpersonal concepts to daily life to increase your own awareness and development of interpersonal communication skills.

Description of Course Assignments

Learning Assessments:

Learning Assessments are designed to test and improve your knowledge of a particular unit of interpersonal communication study. Assessment assignments may include (but are not limited to) homework assignments, writing assignments, journal article presentations, and reflection papers. There will be three (3) learning assessments to complete for this course. Due dates are listed on the tentative course schedule or assigned during class time throughout the semester. You will receive the details of these assignments in separate handouts. Neglecting to complete assignments on time or adhere to the directions will result in a grade deduction.


Exams: Three (3) exams will be given in class throughout this course. Each exam is worth 100 points. These are designed to test knowledge; therefore, questions require recall and application of material from assigned readings, from class, or from both. Examinations are not cumulative.


AssignmentPoints Available
LA #125
LA #225
LA #350
Exam #1100
Exam #2100
Exam #3100


In Class Participation:

You are expected to participate in this class and promote an environment that encourages the participation of your peers. For you to get the most out of the material and be successful in this course you are expected to complete the assigned readings before class. In addition, you are required to bring your copy of the textbook with you to each class period. Demonstrating active participation during class activities and reading discussions includes: attending class regularly, coming to class prepared, expressing constructive and thought-provoking contributions, and staying on topic. These attributes will be monitored over the course of the semester to be used in the event that your final course grade is within 2 percent points of the next higher grade. If an earnest effort to participate over the course of the term has been made, then those points will be assigned, and your grade will be increased to the next higher grade, if not they will not be assigned.


You will be exposed to many divergent views during this class. Please respect everyone’s point of view, even if it is contrary to your own. You do not have to agree with everyone, but you do have to be willing to listen. Students are expected to be professional in terms of the quality of submitted assignments, the quality of the communicative interaction with classmates and the instructor, and general conduct. For academic discourse, spoken and written, I expect you to use gender inclusive language for human beings. Slurs, name calling, or unprofessional language will not be tolerated.


Grading Assessment: Each assignment will be awarded a letter grade. Assignment grades and final grades will be assigned according to the following scale:

B83-86%C-70-72%F59% or lower


Course Policies and Guidelines

Electronics/Phone Policy:

The use of phones and/or any electronics (i.e., laptops, androids, IPads, IPods, tablets etc.) during class time is prohibited unless stated by the instructor. I reserve the right to ask you to leave class if you are using electronic devices. Use of electronic devices includes but is not limited to: making or receiving calls or messages (text, email, etc.), playing games, and surfing the web during class. If you carry a phone or electronic device, please do so responsibly. Be sure it is in silent mode (using “vibrate” setting is not appropriate) so as not to disturb class if you get a call or text. Students who use electronic devices or otherwise pose a distraction to the speaker will be asked to leave and will receive an automatic grade deduction toward your final grade.


Academic success is built upon regular class attendance. A student who finds it necessary to miss class assumes responsibility for obtaining lecture notes from a peer (I will not respond to emails asking, “Did I miss anything?” The answer is always “yes.”), and any additional information (i.e. handouts, assignment details, etc.) given during the missed class period. At the University of Tennessee, students are expected to attend all of their scheduled classes. Registering for and attending class is your responsibility. Please arrive for class on time and plan to stay the entire time.

Written Assignments:

  1. Follow APA format. ( The preceding website contains information that breaks down the style manual to the essential components for this course (i.e., 12-point Times or TNR font, 1” margins, title page, reference page, etc.). APA has a complete style manual and several websites are available to assist you in navigating the style format.
  2. The evaluation and assessment of written work will include spelling, grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, and style. PROOFREAD THOROUGHLY BEFORE SUBMITTING WORK! If the written component of any assignment does not meet the minimum expectation for college level writing you may be encouraged to visit the writing lab in addition to re-doing the written portion of the assignment for a reduced grade.

Late Assignments:

Late assignments will be accepted with a 10% late fee per day after the assignment is due, and make-up exams are only given under serious and extenuating, or emergency circumstances. If such a situation arises, contact me prior to the assignment due date or exam date. In the case of an emergency, contact me as soon as possible. You must provide documentation (i.e. doctors note with dates/times, description of university-sanctioned activity, etc.) in order to make up an exam.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:
Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. Please contact the Office of Disability Services at 865-974-6087 in 2227 Dunford Hall to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.

CCI Diversity Statement:
The College of Communication and Information recognizes and values diversity. Exposing students to diverse people, ideas and cultures increases opportunities for intellectual inquiry, encourages critical thinking, and enhances communication and information competence. When all viewpoints are heard, thoughtfully considered, and respectfully responded to, everyone benefits. Diversity and fairness unite us with the wider professional and global community.

Academic Integrity:

Academic integrity is taken very seriously. If you violate academic standards of conduct, you risk failing this course or possible suspension from the university. Violations include (but are not limited to) cheating, plagiarism, use of a paper that has been turned in by you or someone else in another class, and unauthorized possession of exam materials. If caught engaging in academic dishonesty in this course, you will receive a zero in the course. You are responsible for being familiar with university policies on such matters; including a thorough understanding of the university’s Honor Statement:

An essential feature of the University of Tennessee is a commitment to maintaining an atmosphere of intellectual integrity and academic honesty. As a student of the university, I pledge that I will neither knowingly give nor receive any inappropriate assistance in academic work, thus affirming my own personal commitment to honor and integrity.


CMST400 Mindfulness