Do you have a problem getting along with people? Do you have
a problem keeping a relationship alive and healthy? Are you
trying to find a way to improve your relationship with someone?
Have you failed a relationship without really knowing why? Is
your self- confidence suffering and in need of improving? If
you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to
consider adding an interpersonal communication course to your
schedule for next semester.
According to instructor Francine Lowell, COM 3200 Interpersonal
Communication, is a course about relationships—with yourself
and with others. The course aims to help students identify their
communication problems—what they do that doesn’t work, what
they can do that will work, and how to develop skills needed
to improve their relationships with others.
Lowell has taught the interpersonal communication course at
HPU since 1994. She pointed out the reasons why people have
troubles with their relationships. “We believe that everyone
thinks as we do, likes what we like, wants what we want; and
if they don’t, they should. Of all the problems we face in life,
relationship problems, in the workplace and at home, are generally
the toughest to solve. They disturb our sleep, affect our performance,
and result in a significant amount of emotional wear and tear,”
“The purpose of this course is to increase students’ awareness
of the challenges and opportunities inherent in all ongoing
relationships,” she continued, “whether in the work setting
or with family, friends, or a significant other.”
Instead of focusing solely on the course textbook, Lowell provides
various materials combined with all kinds of in-class activities
and group discussions to demonstrate to students how communication
influences relationships. Lowell also introduces some special
activities that help students identify their mission and life
purpose, their requirements, needs, and wants in a significant
relationship or in a job, and their perfect life visions.
A perfect life vision, for instance, is the subject of a collage
presentation by which students share their thoughts about what
their perfect life would be and how they are going to approach
their perfect life.
Feedback about this particular activity, from both current
students and course alumni, have been all positive.
David Vollbach, a communication major said, “The presentation
was challenging, but I gained many benefits while preparing
The course begins with an emphasis on communicating with oneself,
“because life is about self- awareness, that is, understanding
who you are, what you want, and how you want to get it,” said
Furthermore, through the course, students are able to gain
insights into how their styles of communication are different
from others and then enhance their communication abilities,
so that they can enrich their relationships with people surrounding
“[Interpersonal communication] is not about right or wrong;
instead it’s about whether you learn from your mistakes and
become aware of what doesn’t work.” Lowell added, “It is important
because a person’s success is about having a good relationship
with self, romantic partner, co-workers, and families.”
The course offers insights into how people’s beliefs and childhood
experiences influence communication, how gender influences communication,
why conflict is a natural, inevitable occurrence whenever people
interact, and ways to respond to it.
“Thanks to this course, I realized the different ways males
and females think and value when they communicate. I will recommend
this course to my friends because it benefits our life a lot,”
said Wei Pen.