Gender and Communication

Course Number: COMM 237
Transcript Title: Gender and Communication
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: June 6, 2017
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: Yes
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0


MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121.

Course Description

Examines similarities and differences in male and female communication styles and patterns. Attention given to implications of gender as social construct upon perception, values, stereotypes, language, nonverbal communication, power and conflict in human relationships. Discusses influence of mass communication upon shaping and constructing gender roles. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Employ effective strategies for creating and managing cross-gender relationships.
  2. Recognize and respond to gender-based assumptions and stereotypes in media and society.
  3. Demonstrate awareness of diverse viewpoints shaped by gender identities and expectations.
  4. Understand gender influences on wider societal issues.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

In-depth 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)


4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • In-class participation in experiential activities.
  • Journals chronicling cross-gender interactions and identifying socially-based assumptions and interpretations
  • Research papers exploring historically- and socially-embedded gender behaviors, values and beliefs.
  • Oral presentation of a contemporary or historical issue reflecting the influence on or impact on gender.
  • Critical analysis of films representative of and relevant to the concepts of cross-gender interaction.

Course Activities and Design

  • Weekly readings from course textbook and chapter quizzes.
  • In-class activities including role plays, case studies, structures experiences.
  • In-class discussion of intercultural concepts and principles.
  • Supplemental films.
  • Presentation of researched gender issues.
  • Field exercises.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Theories
    • Nature vs Nurture
    • Psychological identity
    • Rhetoric of Social Movements
    • Social construction
    • Queer theories
  • Perception
  • Self concept
  • Gender identity
  • Verbal communication
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Power and Status
  • Violence
  • Conflict management
  • Sexism
  • Organizations
    • Workplace
  • Mass Communication
  • Education
  • Relationships
    • Friendships
    • Family
    • Courtship/romantic
  • Cultural variables
  • Stereotypes
  • Effective communication strategies

Competencies and Skills

The successful student should:

  • Be able to explain the complexity of the term “gender” as related to “sex".
  • Be able to see how the nature of language causes one to “see” the world differently from others, especially in relation to power and status.
  • Be able to determine how gender differences evolve and how they affect values.
  • Be able to demonstrate respect for gender differences.
  • Be able to engage in introspection to determine how one’s gender perceptions, attitudes, and values influence the communication process.
  • Be able to identify a range of potentially useful behaviors when interacting with someone who is of the opposite sex in a variety of contexts.
  • Be able to choose communication behaviors appropriate to the setting.