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SPH 123 - Intercultural Communication

Professor Marlene Cohen 

link to SPH 123 Syllabus, Fall 1999
link to SPH 123 -Why Study Intercultural Communication?


Currently Speech 123 is a successful course at Prince George’s Community College which allows students to learn the ways in which cultural differences influence interpersonal speaking and listening. The class is organized to address three contexts of intercultural communication: gender, interracial/interethnic within the United States, and international. Students regularly talk of important new awareness they have gained from the class, serving to improve their interactions at home, at work and in the community. Classroom activities and guided discussion provide important opportunities for students to recognize underlying assumptions made by themselves and others and to practice safely alternative ways of addressing potentially intimidating issues. 

The communication focus of this class results in outcomes in the form of  strategies to improve intercultural interaction, not settling for awareness of differences as a final outcome. Each context (gender, interracial/interethnic, international) is studied through the perspective of  communication topics, including the culture’s influences on the following: perception, purposes for communicating, language, nonverbal  communication, listening, and power/conflict. The bulletin board system  will support faculty-student and student-student interaction around  weekly topics related to the readings.


Speech 123 fulfills cultural diversity requirements at Prince George’s Community College, the University of Maryland, College Park, Towson State University, and many other Maryland institutions. We are in the process of determining its fit for cultural diversity requirements at other Maryland institutions. 

At all Maryland four-year institutions, SPH 123 will be accepted as part of General Education requirements. Thus, it can fulfill a requirement for students seeking four-year degrees, regardless of their majors.


I designed this course as a 101-level course, without prerequisites beyond the reading level requirement. It was a first among community colleges, to my knowledge. I wanted such a course not only for communication majors, intending instead to bring together a wide range of students, United States- and foreign-born, in a classroom laboratory, to experience intercultural communication first hand. (It is not designed to take the place of four-year schools’ offerings of intercultural communication, which are typically more theoretical 300- and 400-level courses, offered frequently for speech communication majors only.) Thus, unique to this class, distance learning takes the course to a wider audience, greatly enhancing the content of the course for all its participants.

Currently P.G.C.C. provides a student population which is diverse, including African - Americans and European - Americans, males and females, students from other countries, students of multiple generations and students from differing economic classes. Including students from throughout Maryland via interactive television allows for a greater diversity of students sharing ideas.  Rural, suburban and urban perspectives and experiences, those of ethnic neighborhoods, people working in a greater variety of occupations, and those from additional nations, for example, expand the viewpoints and experiences shared in a classroom setting.



(301) 322-0177


The information contained on faculty web pages does not necessarily reflect the official viewpoint of Prince George's Community College. The college is not responsible for, and does not guarantee, the accuracy of any information on a faculty member's web page. 

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 PGCC, 301 Largo Road, Largo, Maryland, USA

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