link to SPH
123 - Intercultural Communication
MARLENE C. COHEN
Professor of Communication and
Coordinator, International Center – Academic Support
Prince George’s Community
College, Largo MD
Marlene has taught
intercultural communication, public speaking, interpersonal communication and
introductory courses for U.S. American and international students at PGCC since
1980. Working with and learning from her students is one of her greatest
She is also Coordinator of
the new International
Center – Academic Support, coming to Lanham Hall 117. The center serves
students born in other countries who live in the Prince George’s County area and
brings US and international students together through programs such as Learning
Our Viewpoints monthly discussions and the International Student Speaker’s
In her faculty role, she has
also served as Coordinator for the College's oral Communication Across the
Curriculum program, providing instructional support to all faculty disciplines
in ways to strengthen classroom communication.
From 1988-90 and 1991-95, she
provided faculty administrative support in College Advancement and Planning,
applying those speaking and listening skills to coordinating a college wide
marketing council, writing brochures and speaking on behalf of the college to
In her spare time she’s a
part-time graduate student, writing a dissertation on international student
needs for her Doctorate of Arts degree in Community College Education at George
Mason University in VA. She directed the Jewish Cultural School of Machar in
Washington D.C. for six years and helped to organize celebrations and community
Determined to get immersed in
intercultural communication, Marlene grabbed an opportunity to teach speech
communication in Malaysia, Southeast Asia, for Indiana University in 1990-91.
She and her family experienced adapting to a new culture first hand and
developed a great appreciation for people who relocate in a new country.
Originally from Ohio, Marlene
lives with her husband Michael Kidwell, son Alexander, a dog and a rabbit in
Silver Spring. She and her husband are both former university debate coaches
who manage to keep household debating to a minimum.
She was lead author of four
volumes of Multicultural Activities for the Speech Communication Classroom,
working with colleagues at Prince George’s Community College. They are
published by Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company.
She earned her Bachelor of
Science degree from The Ohio State University in Secondary Education, with
Speech and Theatre and English double majors, as an honors student, and earned
her Master of Arts degree in Speech Communication from the University of
STATEMENT OF TEACHING
Increasingly I feel the
desire to strengthen the teaching of listening within my communication courses.
So many people seem to feel unheard in their lives, even as they are afraid or
at least unaccustomed to really listening to others. As a communication
professor I am excited to have to opportunity to bring students together and
help them increase their willingness to learn from one another, as they learn
more about themselves. The content of a speech communication should be so
relevant to the lives of its students. My task is to provide learning
experiences that connect to students' lives across their gender, age, religious,
racial, economic, occupational and social differences.
Some students begin a speech
communication class as strong listeners but anxious speakers. Their ideas have
gone unheard and their feelings often unexpressed. For them, the growth in
their level of confidence is sometimes satisfyingly visible through a semester.
So my goal is to challenge
students to stretch their speaking and listening experiences and strengthen
their skills as they learn about communication's strategies and impact. I try
daily to provide a safe, supportive and relaxed atmosphere in which students can
take increased risks to speak and listen.
Talking about our cultural
backgrounds is a crucial part of who we are. I like using my classroom to allow
people to explore each others’ cultures and learn more about their own cultural
influences in the process.
Professor, Communication and Theatre
Queen Anne Fine Arts Building, Room
Coordinator, International Center –
Opening Spring 2005
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