Approved by University Studies Sub-Committee.  A2C2 action pending.

University Studies Course Approval Form

1. Department or Program Communication Studies

2. Course Number 281

3. Semester Hours 3

4. Frequency of Offering Yearly

5. Course Title Intercultural Communication

6. Catalogue Description Investigates cultural differences influencing
    communication. Principles of communication theory and practice applied
    to intercultural communication situations including co-cultures within the U.S.
    as well as other cultures of the world.

7. This is an existing course Yes

previously approved by A2C2.

8. This is a new course proposal. No

9. University Studies Requirement Multicultural Perspective

this course would satisfy

10. Department contact person for Amy Hermodson

this course

11. General Course Outcomes

There is an increasing need to understand and communicate well with people from cultures different than our own. Innovations in technology and transport created the current "global village," in which people from a variety of cultures can interact on a daily basis. Positive interactions between people of different cultures can result in strong coalitions and alliances, and an increased appreciation for different ways of thinking and being. However, negative interactions with people of different cultures can result in fear, distrust, prejudice, and even war. Since it is inevitable that each one of us will encounter people from other cultures at some point in our daily lives, it is important to learn how to maximize the positive outcomes of intercultural interactions. To that end, the purpose of this class is to teach students the necessary theories of intercultural communication to increase their awareness and understanding of other cultures, and to teach the interpersonal skills necessary to maximize positive interactions with people from other cultures.

12. Course Outcomes

  1. demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifest in different cultures;
  2. Students are exposed to the knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values and beliefs through class lectures and application exercises, presentations, discussions, and textbook readings. Students demonstrate their knowledge of different cultures through exams, class presentations and research papers




  3. understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences;
  4. Communication scholars would call this the process of perception. The perceptual process is specifically addressed in class lectures. This perceptual process also has strong ties to topics such as stereotyping, in-group/out-group status, segregation issues, prejudice, ethnocentrism, acculturation, and other intercultural communication concepts. Students are encouraged through in-class application exercises to explore their own cultural background, and how that background influences they way they perceive other cultures, as well as their own culture. Students are also tested on their ability to understand this perceptual process through examinations and class projects.

  5. understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interactions between individuals and/or groups;
  6. Several theories and taxonomies of cultural differences are presented in class lectures, as well as the textbook. Students are expected to apply these theories to their assignments and presentations. Students are also tested on this material.

  7. examine different cultures through their various expressions; and/or
  8. possess the skills necessary for interaction with someone from a different culture or cultural group.



Sample Syllabus

Communication Studies 281

Intercultural Communication


CMST 281: Intercultural Communication

Spring 2001

Instructor: Dr. Amy Hermodson

Office: 210 PAC

Phone: 457-5482 If I am not available, please leave a message and I will return your call ASAP.

E-Mail: I check this address in the morning and a couple of times in the evening. Students have found that this is a really good way to get a hold of me. Just leave your name, address, and message and I will get back to you ASAP.

Office Hours: MWF 9:50-11:50, TR 11:50-1:50, and by appointment.

Required Texts:

Lustig, M.W., & Koester, J. (1999). Intercultural competence: Interpersonal communication across cultures (3rd ed.). New York: Longman.

Bourhis, J., Adams, C., & Titsworth, S. (1998). Style manual for communication majors (4th ed.). New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.



Attendance is required in this class. You must be present to receive credit for all assignments and exams. You are expected to attend every class period, and are responsible for all material presented in the class. While there is no specific penalty for a missed class, you should try to make the effort to come to class every day. You miss vital assignment and exam information when you miss class. Class interaction and participation are necessary for your understanding and your retention of the course material.


Come to Class on Time/Do Not Disturb Class While it is in Session:

Please be respectful of your classmate and me by coming to class on time. I often cover a lot of information and business that you do not want to miss during the first 5-10 minutes of class. Please also be respectful of your classmates and me by not talking out of turn, and causing unnecessary noise during class.


Participate! Participate! Participate!

Complete assigned readings and assignments before class. Bring your text to class. Prepare to answer questions about the readings or discuss the issues presented in the readings. Take thorough notes during class (notes above and beyond what the instructor puts on the board or overhead). Your participation will help you comprehend and retain the material, will help me tailor the class to your interests, and will make the class time more enjoyable for all of us.


Common Sense Courtesy That Will be Observed in This Class:

I hate cell phones and beepers – they disrupt class. If you carry these devices, turn them off before entering the classroom


If You Experience Any Difficulties With the Class, you must discuss those difficulties with me immediately. Problems are more easily resolved when dealt with as soon as possible. If you are hesitant about addressing a problem in person, it may help you to e-mail your concerns to me. Please ask for help with assignments and exams. I am willing to review drafts of papers and assignments ahead of time (please give me 48 hours to do so). If you have a question or disagreement about a grade, please discuss your concerns with me within a week of receiving the grade. I want to help you achieve success in my class, so please ask for help.



No late assignments or exams will be accepted. Plan your time wisely. You must be present in class to receive credit for assignments and exams.



No extra-credit will be accepted. I am more than willing to read assignments ahead of time, and help you prepare for exams. You will not need extra-credit if you allow me to help you with your work.



If you have a disability that requires that material be formatted or presented in a particular way, please make an appointment with me during the first week of class. You can then discuss the nature of your disability and provisions can be made to accommodate you.



Exams (4) 4@100 points each = 400

Group Project (1) 1@200 points = 200

Abstract Workshop (1) 1@25 points = 25

Literature Review Workshop (1) 1@25 points = 25

Paper Draft Workshop (1) 1@25 points = 25

Research Prospectus Paper (1) 1@225 points = 225

Passports (10) 10@10 points each = 100


A=900-1,000 B=800-899 C=700-799 D=600-699 F=0-599 or failure to complete ALL of the assignments


Exams will be in the true/false, multiple choice and matching format. Content will cover both the text and class notes. Be sure to bring a scantron sheet to class on the day of the exams. Failure to bring the scantron sheet will result in a 5 point deduction from your total score (or you may donate a can of food to go to the Communication Studies food drive for area food pantries). Study guides will be provided before the exam, in addition to question and answer class times before the exam. I am more than willing to help you prepare for your exam and give you studying advice if you ask.


Group Project

On the second day of class, you and your group must decide on a country to research for your project and turn that selection in to me. On the day of your presentation, you and your group will be responsible for educating the class about your chosen country. The presentation should take 45 minutes to complete. Every person is expected to contribute equally to the project and presentation. The main intent of this project is to give the class a sense of what it is like to live or travel to your country. Creativity and interaction with the class are a must. Successful presentations in the past went above and beyond presenting "facts" to the class, they also presented the material in an interesting way such as taking a tour on a tour bus, turning the information into a game show, including interviews with students from the country, doing a "documentary" of the country, providing a "festive" atmosphere with objects and food from the country, etc.

You must include the following in your presentation, but remember that I am looking for you to present this information in an interesting way.

    1. show us a map of your country – it should be large enough so that we all can see it; it should show the surrounding countries; if you mention the size of the country you should compare it to a country of similar size (convert the square mile/kilometer footage into terms we can visualize)
    2. give some suggestions for being a responsible tourist if we should ever visit your country
    3. describe some of the predominant verbal and nonverbal codes and patterns we would encounter in your country, and how that might affect our interactions with the people from your country
    4. describe at least two additional aspects of your culture such as the religion, customs, arts, cuisine, dress, traditions, holidays/festivals, family or some other interesting aspect of the culture that you discovered in your research
    5. remember to make sections a)-d) interesting by showing visuals, playing sounds, and bringing tastes of the culture to our classroom
    6. turn in a typed bibliography of all the sources used for your presentation in APA form

reference suggestions: (not a complete list) Europa Yearbook, The Statesman Yearbook, World Press Encyclopedia, World Communication, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Culturegrams, Webcites (e.g. CIA Fact pages), etc.


Checklist Point Value

    1. presenters were well prepared and professional20
    2. map10
    3. responsible tourism30
    4. verbal and nonverbal patterns40
    5. two additional aspects of the culture40
    6. creativity and interest50
    7. bibliography10




As noted on the syllabus, you will write one exam question based on the content of each group presentation. The question should be written in multiple choice format.

Checklist Point Value

    1. Is the question specific vs. general/vague?2
    2. Does the question cover the content of the 2
    3. presentation accurately?

    4. Is the question written well (grammar, punctuation,2
    5. spelling, sentence structure, etc.)?

    6. Did you provide four plausible/possible multiple 2
    7. choice answers from which to select?

    8. Did you circle the correct answer?2


Research Prospectus Paper

For this assignment, you will choose an intercultural communication topic that you wish to study. The paper will be constructed in the following manner. This will be a type-written, single-spaced paper (APA standard font and margins – see Style Manual).

1) Locate four scholarly, research journal articles on your topic. Magazines, internet sites, books, book reviews, opinion pieces, trade journals do not count for this assignment. Please read Chapter Four of your Style Manual to clarify what constitutes a scholarly, research journal article. Please also see the WSU Library web site at which discusses the differences between a scholarly journal article and a magazine article. Use search tools such as First Search, Electronic Collections On-line, UnCover, Sociological Abstracts, PsychInfo/ERIC, Project Muse (all found on the library web-site) to help you locate journal articles. Do not use Web Pals. Additionally, there are a number of hard-bound and CD-Rom indexes in the library that can help you find journal articles. Take note: It is likely that you won’t be able to get all of your articles on-line. You may have to look up articles in the library collections (see journal stacks on the first floor of the library and for journal holdings) or order your articles via interlibrary loan. Try to locate all your articles during the first week of school to ensure that you have all the articles in time for the due date.

2) Abstract each of your articles after receiving approval from your instructor to do so.

a) Read the article at least two times; reading it more times will be helpful.

    1. Identify the main sections of the article and highlight the important passages under each section.
    2. Write a rough draft of your abstract in your own words in APA form (see
    3. Chapter Two and Appendix B of your style manual for APA instructions). Include the following in your abstract:

      1. What is the purpose of the study/statement of the problem as stated by the author(s)? You should tell me why this study is being conducted. Include any research questions or hypotheses, if and only if, the author(s) posed them.
      2. What are the results of the study as stated by the author(s)? Use the results and beginning parts of the discussion sections of your article to assist you. If no results section exists, just summarize the main ideas presented in the article and give the specifics in the next section (#3) of these instructions.
      3. What are the author’s conclusions? What does(do) the author(s) say we know now that we didn’t know before? What did the author(s) state as the strengths and weaknesses of the study? What did the author(s) state as directions for future research?
    4. Edit (see Chapter Six and Seven of your Style Manual for help) and re-write your draft.
      1. Put the full sentence reference citation at the top of the page.
      2. Make sure that you have proofread the abstract thoroughly; that the abstract fits on one page, single-space; that you have reduced redundancy and repetition; that you have used your own words; and that your sentences are clear and concise.
      3. Retain the general order and sequence of the information contained in the article.
      4. Be sure to write your name at the bottom of the page and staple the original article to your abstract.

A brief description of this part of the assignment can be found on pg. 54 of your Style Manual (omit the subjects and method section for your project). See "extended abstract." See also attached abstract example.

Checklist for Abstract Workshop Point Value

    1. Edit the reference citation at the top of page correctly3
    2. Edit purpose section correctly6
    3. Edit results section correctly8
    4. Edit discussion section correctly8

*Editing includes proofreading and making sure that the proper content went into each section correctly. Remember that you will be editing a fellow classmate’s abstracts for this part of the assignment. Everyone should bring their article abstracts to be edited on the article abstract workshop day.

3) Write the literature review (approximately 4 pages). After the articles have been abstracted you will now coherently integrate the ideas presented in the articles. You will connect your articles together by identifying relationships between the articles, how one article fills the gaps in the research left by a previous article, contradictions between articles, commonalities between articles, etc. You do this by putting the articles in one of the following orders:

    1. topical – present each source one-by-one and emphasize the relationship of the issues to the main problem; must have good transitions to keep good flow
    2. chronological – good for historical papers in which we need to see the development of a concept; review research from start to finish with good transitions in between
    3. problem-cause-solution – good when you have articles that describe each of these categories
    4. general to specific – review broad based research first, then look at the specifics (or visa versa)
    5. comparison and contrast – show how the studies are similar to each other and how they are different from each other

The literature review should have a brief introductory and concluding paragraph to set the tone of and conclusively end the literature review.

Take note: The articles should remain in their abstract form, with the titles "purpose," "results," and "discussion" removed and the source citation moved to the bibliography. See a brief description of the review on pg. 57 under the title "review" and the attached example for further reference.

Checklist for Lit. Review Workshop Point Value

a) Are all four articles present and in abstract form? 4

b) Edit the flow between each article correctly 5

c) Edit the introductory paragraph correctly 8

d) Edit the concluding paragraph correctly 8

*Editing includes proofreading and making sure that the proper content went into each section correctly. Remember that you will be editing a fellow classmate’s literature review for this part of the assignment. Everyone should bring their literature reviews to be edited on the literature review workshop day.

4) Write the remaining parts of your paper.

    1. Title page (see Style Manual, APA instructions). This is page one. Nothing else should be on this page except the title page information.
    2. Abstract of your paper (needs to be written last). This goes at the top of your second page and is titled "Abstract." Center the title. This should be a brief abstract stating your paper’s purpose, summary of your results and conclusions.
    3. Introduction (see Style Manual, pg. 57, "Introduction"). This follows your abstract on page one and is titled "Introduction." Center the title.
    4. Problem Statement (see Style Manual, pg. 57, "Problem Statement"). This follows your introduction and is titled "Problem Statement." Center the title.
    5. The Literature Review is inserted into the paper after the problem statement. It is also titled, with the title being centered on the page.
    6. Conclusion (see Style Manual, pg. 57, "Conclusion"). This follows your literature review. It is also titled, with the title being centered on the page.
    7. Bibliography (see Style Manual, APA instructions). Last page. Stands alone.

Includes all sources.

Checklist for Paper Draft Workshop Point Value

a) Edit title page correctly 2

b) Edit abstract correctly 3

c) Edit introduction correctly 5

d) Edit problem statement correctly 5

e) Edit conclusion correctly 5

f) Edit bibliography correctly 5

*Editing includes proofreading and making sure that the proper content went into each section correctly. Remember that you will be editing a fellow classmate’s paper draft for this part of the assignment. Everyone should bring their paper draft to be edited on the literature review workshop day.

Checklist for Final Paper

    1. formatted correctly (15)f) problem statement (25)
    2. proofread thoroughly(30)g) literature review(50)
    3. title page (15)h) conclusion(25)
    4. abstract (25)i) bibliography(15)
    5. introduction (25)









This class satisfies the University Studies Multicultural Perspective Requirement. The outcomes listed for the University Studies Multicultural Perspective Requirement specify that the course provide students the activities and opportunities to:

a. demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and

beliefs as manifest in different cultures;

  1. understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences;
  2. understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interactions between individuals and/or groups;
  3. examine different cultures through their various expressions; and/or
  4. possess the skills necessary for interaction with someone from a different culture or cultural group.

Requirements a-c are fulfilled on the regular lecture days as well as the group presentation days.

Tentative Schedule


Class Schedule

Date Topic Assignment Date Topic Assignment

1/8 Introduction 3/2 Group 3/Passport 3

1/10 Assignments 3/12 Barriers Ch12

1/12 What is culture? 3/14 Lit. Review due– bring to class

1/17 US diversity Ch1 3/16 Group 4/Passport 4

1/19 Cultural variables 3/19 Barriers cont.

1/22 Cultural universals Ch2 3/21 cont.

1/24 Intercultural com. Ch3 3/23 Group 5/Passport 5

1/26 Competence 3/26 Barriers cont.

1/29 Cultural differences Ch4 3/28 Paper draft due– bring to class

1/31 EXAM 1 3/30 Group 6/Passport 6

2/2 Beliefs, values, norms Ch5 4/2 Face Ch10

2/5 Taxonomies Ch6 4/4 EXAM 3

2/7 Articles due – bring to class 4/6 Group 7/Passport 7

2/9 Taxonomies cont. 4/9 Improving com. Ch13

2/12 Nonverbal Ch8 4/11 cont. *Paper Due

2/14 Abstracts due – bring to class 4/13 Group 8/Passport 8

2/16 Group 1/Passport 1 4/16 Improving com. cont.

2/19 Verbal Ch7 4/18 Acculturation

2/21 cont. 4/20 Group 9/Passport 9

2/23 Group 2/Passport 2 4/23 Sojourning

2/26 Code usage Ch9 4/25 Ethics

2/28 EXAM 2 4/27 Group 10/Passport 10

Final Exam May 1, 8-10 am