COMM 5110/ 6110/ 7110

Leadership and Communication (3 credit hours)

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is designed to introduce students to leadership perspectives and the role communication plays in effective leadership and management strategies.

Course Objectives:

The objectives of the course are as follows:

  • This course is designed to introduce students to leadership perspectives and the role communication plays in effective leadership and management strategies. The objectives of the course are as follows:
  • Acquaint the student with leadership and communication theories.
  • Improve the student's ability to comprehend communication research articles and to synthesize areas of research.
  • Create an awareness of the interaction between theorists in communication, sociology, and psychology who are associated with leadership research.
  • Develop student awareness with and ability to examine, understand, and interpret financial statements of an organization.
  • This course attempts to develop these skills through the examination and application of conflict theory, communication theories, and application assignments.
  • The communication skills of writing, speaking, and listening will be developed through written assignments, case studies, and discussion board topics.

Prerequisites and Corequisites:

Graduate status and acceptance into the MPS program or by departmental permission.

Course Topics:

The course will explore leadership approaches as they relate to motivation, conflict resolution, human resources, financial analysis, and information flow within the organization.

Specific Course Requirements:

Internet access, computer, Microsoft Word, and Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook ordering information for this course:



Hardware Requirements:

A computer with access to the Internet.

Software Requirements:

Internet Explorer version 5 or Netscape version 4.78 or later, Adobe Acrobat (free reader is available from, and Microsoft Word (for your word documents).

Instructor Information

Instructor Contact:

Listed under Staff Information

Course Management Assistance Contact :

RODP Help Desk 1-866-550-7637 (toll free)

Virtual Office Hours:

Consult Staff Information for office hours and contact numbers

Instructor Response Time:

Consult Staff Information for specifics


Email Response Time:

As the instructor of this course, I will attempt to respond to your emails within 24 to 36 hours. Please put QUESTIONS in the subject line of your emails to ensure a prompt response.

Assessment and Assignments


In addition to Discussion participation, you will have the following assignments:

1. Research paper or Leadership Presentation

In this category you have an option, you can choose to write a research paper or prepare a presentation that could be given to a professional/work group. The requirements for the assignments are as follows:

If you select the research paper, you will write a paper in which you thoroughly explore a topic relevant to leadership and communication. The paper could be the foundation for your final research project for your program of study. I am very open to suggestions for the final paper. For example, the paper could be: 1) a review of literature of a selected leadership and communication perspective; 2) application of a theoretical perspective to an interesting leadership question; 3) a detailed methods section of a research proposal testing a particular theoretical perspective, or 4) a complete research study. The paper should be 8-10 pages in length.

If you select the presentation option, you will prepare a presentation complete with PowerPoint slides in which you explore a key leadership topic (Change, Conflict, Motivation, Leadership Style, Turnover, Competition, etc.). You will select the audience and briefly describe how this topic meets the expectations of the audience. The presentation could include hands-on activities for the audience, hand-outs, discussion questions, etc. If given to an audience, the presentation should be approximately 15-20 minutes in length. This is a new option for me therefore I am open to suggestions as to how this assignment should/could be implemented. If you actually do the presentation, you can submit a video tape as well as your text of the presentation when the assignment is due.

2. Review of Scholarly Article (every other unit)

One of the strengths of online learning is the opportunity for diverse individuals to share their resources and ideas. You will be asked to find 3 (approximately one every other unit) articles online or offline, conduct a brief analysis of the research and its application to communication, and submit it on the Discussion Board for that week. The purpose of this assignment is to help you and your fellow learners become exposed to the breadth and depth of scholarly research. Through the sharing of the research articles with your classmates your three articles become 45+ articles; therefore, you need to be thoughtful in your selection of appropriate articles and your evaluation of the research.

See Review of Scholarly topic for a sample of this assignment.

3. Weekly synopsis of assigned readings from the books

Each week you will be assigned readings from the books (Kouzes & Posner and Ramsey), you submit through the assignment link a 100-200 word synopsis of each chapter. In the discussion board you will submit a 100-200 word paragraph on what you found most interesting in the assigned book readings. As a learner, you are expected to respond to at least one other learner's identification of what they found most interesting.

4. Discussion Questions

You should refer regularly to the Course Schedule which provides a framework for the course, so we can progress through the same units and discussions together. As you'll notice, some units last one week while others are two weeks. I will post one to three questions or exercises. Typically, for a one-week unit, I will post questions on Sunday or Monday. You'll be expected to post a thoughtful response/answer (100-200 words) to each question. In your response, you should refer to readings, your own experience, or other resources germane to the question. Additionally, you will be expected to provide a thorough response to at least one other student's answers. I do not expect or want you to respond to every learner. I want a thoughtful response to one learner. However, it is important that you read the responses of the other learners. The sharing of information in an online setting is only successful if you read and respond to other learners. (As the instructor, I can tell how often comments are read by other students.)

4. Case Studies and Other Assignments

Throughout the course I will assign case studies or application exercises. The cases and the application activities will test your ability to apply the readings to "real world" situations. The situations reflect actual events that a leader may face. I think you will find them interesting and challenging.

5. Posting Your Discussion Responses and Reviews of Scholarly Articles

Please respond to assignments in a timely way. It's very easy to miss important information if you don't stay fairly close to the Course Schedule. You may post directly into the Discussion Board. I discourage attachments in the Discussion Board. If something prevents your participation, please make sure to let your instructor know. Students may post questions or requests for clarification, which may be answered by the instructor as well as by other students.

Communication with the Instructor

You may be new to online learning or you may be a little uncomfortable with some of the technology. Regardless of your experience, it's very important that you ask questions if you are confused about an assignment or course expectation. You can also communicate with me via e-mail or send a fax. In addition to electronic communication, I am available for telephone conversations. Contact information is listed under the professor link. I suggest you send an email first so we can arrange a time. If you're encountering technical problems, you may call the RODP help desk.

Assessing Your Performance in Leadership and Communication

Research paper


Review of Scholarly Articles


Weekly Synopsis


Discussion Questions/Responses


Cases/Application Assignments


General Course Participation


Your Discussion responses will be evaluated according to the following scale as follows:



Very Good








No response

0 Points

It is imperative that you keep up with the readings and the discussion board activities. It is unfair to allow late submissions on the discussion board when other students are working to keep up. I will not be lenient in relation to the due dates on the discussion board. You must post and respond within the time allotted.

Research Paper/Professional Presentation Timeline

  • Select a topic and Confer with Instructor (Due Date: Consult the Weekly Schedule)

    E-mail a brief description of the topic you intend to develop. If you'd like help making a decision about your project concept, contact the instructor.
  • Submit Final Paper/Leadership Presentation: (Due Date: Consult the Weekly Schedule)

    Submit the final paper as a MSWord attachment to an e-mail message. When I receive the e-mail and the attachment, I will respond to confirm receipt.
  • Post 1 page abstract of final paper: (Due Date: Consult the Weekly Schedule)

    Post 1 page abstract of the final paper for the other students.

Make-up Work:

There will be no make-up work accepted for any reason. If you know in advance that you will miss an assignment for a legitimate reason, you must turn your work in early.

Extra Credit:

NO extra credit will be given. Please don't ask.

Course Ground Rules

Course Discussion Etiquette:

As in a traditional classroom, students are expected to conduct themselves respectfully and appropriately. For a complete discussion of student rights and responsibilities, go to the website of your home school for specifics.

In order to provide an environment on campus and online that is conducive to learning and working, the University is prepared to act against any sexual, racial or other forms of harassment. Sexual and racial harassment are forms of discrimination prohibited by federal law. For more information, contact the Affirmative Action Officer at your home school.

Tennessee Board of Regents seeks to foster open discussions and engage a wide range of opinions and viewpoints. The universities within TBR encourage and expect all students and instructors to be respectful of the opinions of others. Inappropriate and disrespectful postings will not be tolerated. As outlined in your home university's bulletin, faculty will intervene in situations where inappropriate behavior occurs.

Here are online discussion guidelines:

  • Use common sense. What might be hurtful or disrespectful in person will likely have the same effect in an online environment.
  • Do not post material that is illegal, embarrassing, or harassing to others.
  • Disagreements should be issue-centered, not person-centered.
  • Avoid using content that is racially or sexually offensive. Hate speech will not be tolerated.
  • As in any group situation, much more is accomplished when group members are supportive and encouraging to others. That doesn't mean you must agree with everyone; you will, however, encourage them to express their viewpoints and respond to them respectfully.

No Endorsements:

I occasionally find good, reader-friendly legal, business and technical articles on the Web pages of various firms. If I link to one of these pages, please don't consider it an endorsement in any way of that particular firm. Further, the Web pages often contain advertisements about what a wonderful firm it is. You may skip reading anything that looks like an advertisement.


Sometimes in communication courses, Learners come up with business plans, e-commerce ideas and the like that they intend to actually implement. In such a case, you should sufficiently disguise the examples and scenarios that you submit to me and to the rest of the class so as not to compromise any intellectual property rights and/or trade secrets rights that you may have. In particular, please do NOT disclose any material or ideas to me that you wish to remain confidential as to the rest of the class or in general. I will assume that any information that you provide to me or otherwise disclose in class is purely hypothetical and not relevant to any existing or planned business.

Guidelines for Communications

Email Guidelines:

General Rules for Email messages:

  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members.

Quality of Writing

In an online course such as this, I expect that all assignments would be spell-checked and checked for grammar errors before submission. Further, any written communication should be well organized, easy to follow and should address all aspects of the requested information. You may want to set aside some time to proof your papers before submission. On the other hand, I am much more lenient in other types of communication (e-mail, for instance), as to spelling and grammar, so don't spend a lot of time polishing your e-mails.

Discussion Groups:

As the online learning process is intended to be collaborative, I encourage each of you to post in the Discussion Forum relevant online articles, sites or reports that you come across that are on-point to the topic of the unit and not already covered. Filling the role of learner also means taking responsibility for your postings and not turning the course room into a chat space. Also, as present and future professionals, I would expect each learner to represent himself or herself as a professional would in working with peers. While this challenge doesn't mean that we can't have fun on the Discussion Forum or that we have to adopt an overly formal manner, it does mean that we stand and fall together in making the course room space work well. So use good judgment in deciding what to post and what to "take off-line" via email in communicating with one another.

General Guidelines for Discussion Forum Assignments and Activities:

  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group.
  • Be respectful of otherĂ‚1s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.

Web Resources:

References in academic papers should follow APA style. You may access APA web site or confer with your local librarian about APA resources.

Columbia Guide to Online Style by Janice R. Walker and Todd Taylor Citation Styles Online



The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in the Regents Degree Program. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading must be included in all courses. 

Students With Disabilities


As the RODP faculty continues to grow, persons with disabilities may join our community. Please alert the staff to potential problems in advance so that this course will be accessible whenever such persons come on board.

Syllabus Changes


Necessary changes to the course syllabus will be sent to the student by e-mail and posted on the bulletin board.

Technical Support

Telephone Support:

If you are having problems logging into your course, timing out of your course, using your course web site tools, or other technical problems, please contact the Ask RODP Help Desk by calling: 1-866-550-7637 (toll free)

or go to the Ask RODP website at