Business and Professional Speaking Syllabus for 2021-2022
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Instructor Information

Office Location

Parcells Hall 204P 

Office Hours

~ S T U D E N T      H O U R S ~

Contact me through the Messages area within Blackboard.  These types of messages are best for situations where you're having difficulty understanding how to submit something or have a quick question about an assignment.  From these messages, I have easy access to your grades within the course (and I don't need to seek clarification on what course you're enrolled in).

More in-depth questions about your class performance, and/or grades should be discussed during a student/faculty appointment.

Please schedule an appointment with me below.  


All meetings can be held via Zoom or in person in Parcells Hall, Suite 204, Office P. If I have someone in my office, please let our departmental administrative assistant, Shauna Jefferson (Parcells Hall, Suite 204, Office F), know you're here to see me for an appointment and then have a seat in our lobby area. Please do not assume that you may interrupt other conversations.  We practice what we teach in this class!

With all of that out of the way, know I love getting appointments from you.  When I do, I know I can focus directly on you and you alone.  Otherwise, it's a first-come, first-served world and I may miss out on an opportunity to understand what it is you need.  Appointments come first!

Please make an appointment to visit with me. Don’t see a time that matches your world? Please let me know via Blackboard Messages or email! My job is to enhance your learning experience. I am glad to meet with you at a mutually convenient time and coach you to success.  

Course Information

COVID-19 Protocols

Recording Policy

Disability Statement

If you have a disability (learning, mental, physical) that affects your ability to participate effectively and have access to any program or service at Amarillo College please contact Disability Services at (806) 345-5639 . Our offices are located in the Student Service Center office 112. More information may be found at
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If you find you are unable to access material in an accessible format please contact the Disability Services Office at (806) 345-5639 . This office will work in conjunction with other campus resources to address and accommodate your issue in a timely manner.

Statement for Mental Health and Advocacy & Resource Center:

As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce a student's ability to participate in daily activities. Amarillo College offers services to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. If you or someone you know are suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions, you can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus by calling the AC Counseling Center at 806-371-5900. The AC Counseling Center website is . Also, if you are in need of social services (affordable housing, utilities, transportation, food, clothing, childcare, medical/dental/vision, legal), please call the AC Advocacy & Resource Center at 806-371-5439. The AC Advocacy & Resource Center website is

Amarillo College Tutoring for Success Policy:

The Tutoring for Success policy applies to any student whose grade or performance in the course falls below a departmentally determined minimum threshold. In either of those cases, the instructor will direct the student to the appropriate tutoring service, which may be faculty-led, discipline-specific, and/or general. Under this policy, the instructor will follow specific departmental guidelines governing the use, duration, and grade component of the tutoring need.

Administrative Drop Policy

Students who do not attend class on or prior to the census date will be administratively dropped. Effective Fall, 2016

Student Withdrawal Procedures

Students who wish to withdraw from a course must complete all steps indicated on the Academic Withdrawal Request form by the course withdrawal deadline.

NOTE: Students who are attending Texas institutions of higher education, for the first time fall 2007 and later, may not withdraw from more than six courses during their academic career. This withdrawal limitation does not include dual credit or developmental classes (Senate Bill 1231 Rule 4.10.) For more information on Drop and Withdrawal Policies, please visit the Registrar's Office Web site.

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SPCH-1321-003 Business and Professional Speaking


Course Description

Study and application of communication within the business and professional context. Special emphasis will be given to communication competencies in presentations, dyads, teams and technologically mediated formats.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

Occupational License Disclaimer

Notice to Students enrolled in an educational program for preparation of issuance of certain occupational licenses:

Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

Melodie Graves
Justice Involved Advocate
Student Service Center 117
Make appointment at

You can also contact the Legal Clinic, or the faculty member in charge of the educational program that you seek to enroll in. The further information you will receive will include notification to you of your right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the licensing authority in order to clarify your particular situation.


(3 sem hrs; 3 lec)

Class Type

On Campus Course

Syllabus Information


A Speaker’s Guidebook, 7th edition by O'Hair, Stewart, & Rubenstein ISBN: 978-1-319-05941-5


Course Requirements:

  • Mozilla Firefox (most compatible with Blackboard, although I prefer Chrome)
  • Microsoft Word or Google Docs, Google Slides or PowerPoint
  • You must have regular access to a computer for this course.

Student Performance

Learning Objective



Demonstrate an understanding of the foundation models of communication.

Critical Thinking

Assessed through quiz questions

Apply elements of audience analysis

Critical Thinking

Assessed through informative and persuasive speeches and audience analysis survey

Demonstrate ethical speaking and listening skills by analyzing presentations for evidence and logic.

Communication (written)/Critical Thinking

Assessed through two, 2-page essays

Research, develop, and deliver extemporaneous speeches with effective verbal and nonverbal techniques.

Personal Responsibility

Assessed through informative and persuasive speeches and Persuasive Group Work assignment

Demonstrate effective usage of technology when researching and/or presenting speeches.

Communication (visual)

Assessed through Prezi, PowerPoint or Google Slides presentations prepared by students for introduction and Persuasive Group Work assignment

Identify how culture, ethnicity, and gender influence communication.

Team Work

Assessed through Persuasive Group Work assignment

Develop proficiency in presenting a variety of speeches as an individual or group (e.g. narrative, informative, or persuasive).

Communication (written/visual)/Critical Thinking

Assessed through written outlines and public performances of three speeches.

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Log in using the AC Connect Portal

In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior

Speech Performance Days

  1. If you arrive late to class, do not enter while someone is giving a speech.  Wait outside the classroom door until you are sure the speech is finished before you enter.
  2. Please turn off cell phone ringers before entering the classroom.
  3. Students will be required to dress appropriately on presentation days. For example, do not show up in a baseball cap or a slouchy knit cap, chewing gum, or wearing your sweaty workout clothes if you are presenting a speech.
  4. Students will act respectfully to one another, meaning you need to pay attention to the presenter rather than doing other homework or looking out the window.
  5. Students will be good listeners while others are giving speeches.
  6. Do not come in and expect to give your speech and leave.  I will take off participation points if you leave before class is officially over.  I take roll at the beginning and ending of each meeting.
  7. I will record each student’s speech presentation.  I will use it to assist me in grading, as well as, help you learn. 

Regular Class Days

  1. No administrative withdraws will be initiated by the instructor.
  2. Students are expected to participate in each day of class.  Participation for the sake of this class is reading the required readings before class, coming prepared to add to conversations about the ideas presented in the required readings, preparing for in-class activities, working with groups, etc.  There are some days where students must have completed homework prior to class.  Students who do not complete the requirement will be allowed to stay in class, but will not receive credit for any group work assignments that day.
  3. Students will use American Psychological Association's (APA) citation style.  For a detailed look at this style, please reference the Amarillo College Library’s APA page, Purdue's OWL page, the Washington State University Library APA Quick guide, or the APA's Style Resources page.
  4. Students may not use any type of social media within the classroom.  Students may not record or live-broadcast any portion of the class without the consent of the faculty member and a unanimous vote of all class members present.
  5. Students are expected to contribute to the overall classroom-learning environment.  Students who disrupt the environment will be asked to leave and will be required to meet with the faculty member during a scheduled appointment during office hours.  During the meeting, the faculty and student will develop a plan for success.  If a student continues the disruptive behavior, s/he will be reported to the Vice President of Student Affairs.
  6. Students should not start packing up their belongings until the class has been released by the faculty member.  Doing so disrupts the learning of others and isn't respectful of their time, effort and energy.
  7. Students are expected to take notes.  My lecture style is based on conversations; however, students must take notes on the conversations to help develop meaning from the material covered.
  8. If you need to use the restroom, please, make yourself comfortable.  However, excessive restroom breaks may require a note from a medical professional.


Students are expected to have read assigned chapters BEFORE each class begins.  This makes class discussions more interesting and increases the opportunity for activities that demonstrate theories.  This is a tool we can use to show our respect for ourselves and classmates.  Students are encouraged, but not required to complete a handwritten “passport” with pertinent information from each unit to be turned in before the discussion begins.  Passport information can be organized using or a typical note-taking format.  Students may earn one “passport point” each Monday.  Passports will be reviewed and returned to students that week.  For each “passport point,” students will earn an extra point on their final exam.  A total of five "passport points" are available.  Students are urged to review this website and this website.


Throughout the course, citing sources is critical.  In public speaking, verbal citations are necessary.  Students often think if they cite the source on their visual aid it counts as citing the source.  This is not true.  Students must cite their sources verbally during the course of their speeches.  To learn how to do this, please review the document included in Week 3 “How To Cite a Source in your Speech” for guidance.  A student may also review the speeches in their textbook to learn more.  In short, sources must be cited by saying the author’s name, when and where the information was published, and where the information was found.  The Amarillo College Library has a LibGuide specifically written for APA citation style.


Speeches are to be delivered on the assigned day.  Speakers who are absent on the assigned speaking day will receive a zero unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor.  Prior arrangements must be made at least three hours before class starts.  Medical excuses require documentation.  Speaking order is determined by a random selection process and is posted in an announcement at the beginning of the week.


Throughout the course of the term, I have invited several individuals to come into our classroom to talk about how they use communication or about how it is used in their profession.  Here are the guidelines I expect us to adhere to prior to and during our guest’s time with us.

  1. Prior to our guest coming to class, I will give you a biography of the guest.  Based on their information, and the information located on pages 139-141, create a list of questions you are interested in knowing more about.
  2. Everyone is expected to have three prepared (written) questions for each speaker.  We will have limited class time to work on these, so please plan on spending some of your own time outside of class working on these.
  3. When our guest is in class with us, please use their time wisely.  It isn’t fun to be a speaker who has made time to be somewhere to speak to students when they don’t have any questions or want to have a conversation with you.  It sucks.  It’s rude.  Do your homework (Step #2).
  4. Treat our guests with the utmost respect.  Period.

Grading Criteria


Presentations (FG1 – 40%)

40% of Final Grade


Assignment Title/Information

Speech Performance #1

This is Me

Speech Performance #2


Speech Performance #3

Persuasive Group Speech

Written Assignments (FG2 – 10%)

10% of Final Grade

Reflection Journal #1

Reflection on “This is Me” performance

Reflection Journal #2

Reflection on Informative performance

Reflection Journal #3 Reflection on Persuasive Group performance

Examinations (FG3 – 40%)

40% of Final Grade

Weekly Quizzes (6 total)

Students may take quizzes twice

Final Exam

Students may take the final exam twice

Assignments, Participation & Group Work (FG4 – 10%)

10% of Final Grade

Weekly Attendance

Daily attendance is worth 100 points

Group Persuasive Presentation

Group participation grade assigned after individual submission of Group Critique

Group Weekly Check-ins

Individual written reports are submitted to monitor the progress of the group.  Identify areas of success.  Manage areas of conflict.


Letter Grade

Numerical Grade










59.9 and below


Final grades are earned, not given.


There is no late work accepted

Finding your way through a college course is a process.  There are challenges in each class and there are challenges each of you has or will have, in your personal lives.  Those challenges can overwhelm you.  Because of these, and the amount of content we will cover in the course, I have set up the course structure to all you the best opportunity to learn and master the content. 

In general, I do not accept late assignments or late work; however, if after speaking with a student during an appointment about the extenuating circumstances, I may decide to alter upcoming assignment due dates to prevent personal issues from being a barrier to success. 

Pathways to Success: A Scenario

What does this mean?  Well, here’s a scenario: Maria is a single mom of two girls.  She takes classes throughout the year and hopes to graduate in the upcoming term.  During our class, Maria’s youngest daughter falls from a swing and breaks her wrist.  In the next few weeks, Maria’s daughter will have doctor’s appointments and possibly surgery.  Those important items force Maria to make changes to her work schedule, and because of this, cause Maria to have to miss class meetings.

Knowing I do not accept late work, here are the options she may have when it comes to her schoolwork:

  1. Maria can continue on the path she is on now, trying to make all of the doctor’s appointments, work shifts, and class sessions.
  2. Maria can drop the course and pick it back up next term.  Doing this will delay her graduation by a full semester.
  3. Maria can set an appointment where we can visit.  She can tell me what’s happening and see how I can help her continue on her path to graduation.

If this were you, what do you think you would do?

The worst-case scenario is option #2.  Dropping the course, unless there’s no other way around it, is always my last choice.  Option #1 – well, I don’t recommend it either, but hey – some people are stronger and more private than others.  Option #3 – it’s my recommendation.  Why?  Well, it means that I know how I can walk along with Maria on her path.

If Maria chooses Option #3, we could visit and discuss what options were available for her success.  It may mean she gives two speeches on one performance day, or it may mean she gives a speech a week later than her classmates do.  Any assignments not submitted prior to our conversation will be considered missing and earn a zero.  However, future assignment due dates are negotiable which may or may not have a late point deduction.  I make this decision on a case-by-case basis.  The standard deduction is 10 points off the final grade earned for the assignment.

Pathways to Success: What to do

If you find yourself in a situation, please visit with me as soon as possible.  Whenever I can, I will work with you to find a pathway to success.  I will work to be flexible with the course requirements; however, this will require the student to be flexible with their expectations as well.  Please know that sometimes – especially toward the end of the term – I cannot say “yes.”  Know when that happens, I have exhausted all avenues.

What not to do: A Guide

Do not email assignments to me if the dropbox for closed assignments.  I will not grade them.  If there is an error or technical issue, please check the announcements section of our AC Connect Class to see if I have made a note.  If you do not see a note in our class, please check your AC email account.  If after checking these two spaces, please feel free to text me to alert me.  Don't assume I am aware of the issue or that it is your technology. 


You will need to attend class daily (either in-person and/or virtually) to participate in discussions and group activities.  Daily attendance will be taken via Mentimeter within each class session.

Students will be expected to attend on their assigned group day unless other arrangements are made.  



You will need to attend class daily to participate in discussions and group activities.  I expect students to have read the chapter content before coming to class.  Daily attendance will be taken.  Students who come to class after I have taken attendance will not be counted as attending.  Real-life = if you have to come into class late, come to class!

Our time together is critical to your success.  I honor your commitment to your education, but I expect the same from you.  Please look at your schedule for the length of the course.  If you have any appointments scheduled during our time together (doctor, dentist, lawyer, oil changes, advising, etc.) please move them.  Leaving early for an appointment is distracting to your classmates and hard on your learning.  Real-life = if your appointment is unmovable/unchangeable, please schedule an appointment to visit with me before the appointment.





Week 1

1, 2, 3, 17, 18, 19

Welcome & Getting Started

Week 2

23, 29, 30

Introduction Speeches, Audience Analysis, working in groups, building strong presentations

Week 3

8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Building a speech with data and citing sources

Week 4

14, 15

Informative Speeches & Introductions and Conclusions

Week 5

4, 5, 16

Listening and Preparing for the audience

Week 6

24, 25, 26


Week 7


Persuasive Speeches

Week 8


Final Exam

Speaking Schedule



Week 2

Introduction Speeches

Week 4

Informative Speeches

Week 7

Persuasive Speeches

Additional Information

Computer files

Students will be required to submit all written documents (outlines, papers, assignments, etc.) as Portable Digital Files (.pdf). 

Our Relationship

I cannot wait to work with you!  Your success is vitally important to you and our community.  I can't wait to watch you soar!

However, even in the best scenarios, events could happen to damped our relationship.  Here's how I would like us to handle it together.

Please schedule an appointment with me here.  Come to my office during our time together, and present your concerns.  I will listen.  This step is critical to us both.  As a communications faculty member, I strive to model the skills I teach outside of the classroom.  I expect my students to model this as well.

After you have presented your concerns, I will take the opportunity to visit with you if there are any concerns I have about your success. 

If I see there is an error in my attempts, or if I simply didn't do the right thing, I will apologize and work with you to make the situation right.  However, if I believe the issue doesn't lie in my teaching and/or behavior, I will ask you to abide by my decision.

If at this point, you do not feel you have received the appropriate considerations, you may ask for the next step in the process.  I will help you navigate the process to find a resolution.

Once you have successfully completed this course...

You need to update your resume!  Use the following guidelines to update your skills.

If you earned an "A":
  1. Excellent knowledge of basic communication terms, principles and superior application through analysis of contexts.
  2. Excels in preparing and presenting informative and persuasive speeches.
  3. Exhibits excellent ability to apply communication principles and theory to achieve best results for clients.
  4. Superior research ability to find, identify and effectively use supporting materials in verbal and written communication.  
  5. Demonstrates leadership in group environments, showing courtesy and respect for clients and co-workers.
If you earned a "B":
  1. The ability of and ability to apply basic communication terms, principles through analysis of contexts.
  2. Ability to prepare and present informative and persuasive speeches.
  3. Ability to apply communication principles and theory to achieve best results for clients.
  4. Ability research ability to find, identify and effectively use supporting materials in verbal and written communication.  
  5. Participates leadership in group environments, showing courtesy and respect for clients and co-workers.
If you earned a "C":
  1. Knowledge of basic communication terms, principles, and application through analysis of contexts.
  2. Knowledge of how to prepare and present informative and persuasive speeches.
  3. Knowledge of applying communication principles and theory to achieve best results for clients.
  4. Knowledge of research ability to find, identify and effectively use supporting materials in verbal and written communication.  
  5. Experience with working in group environments, with a focus on showing courtesy and respect for clients and co-workers.

Syllabus Created on:

08/22/21 12:00 PM

Last Edited on:

08/22/21 3:16 PM