LIBR 286-11
Interpersonal Communication Skills for Librarians
(Executive MLIS)
Fall 2010 Greensheet

Dr. Brooke Sheldon
 Clark Hall, 406 
Office Hours: Available each day during residency, by appointment and by telephone and e-mail.
Phone (Cell): 505.231.8423

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Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
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Angel Information: Students have been pre-enrolled for the course.  The course site opens August 8, 2010. It is being co-taught with LIBR 204-29.  All interaction will be conducted through the 204-29 site. 

Course Description

Surveys and explores the theories and practices of interpersonal communication; small groups and peer relationships.

Course Prerequisites: Admittance to the Executive MLIS Program Stream. LIBR 203

Student Learning Objectives

Course Goal

  • Enable professional librarians to improve their ability to work effectively with their peers, supervisors and staffs.

The course will explore three facets of communication, and effective personal relationships:

  • personal preferred styles and their effect on individual relationships and team
  • understanding of group dynamics
  • theory and practice in conflict management, motivation, communication,
  • supervision, listening skills and other techniques.

Course Objectives
At the completion of the course students will:

  • Be able to articulate their preferred management/interpersonal style
    and how to utilize these preferences to improve personal relationships and
    ultimately team performance;
  • Be able to discuss the relevance of interpersonal communication to becoming a leader;
  • Practice skills in listening, motivating, managing conflict, implementing change,  and working in groups;
    Be able to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate interpersonal
  • communication techniques in both professional and personal environments;
  • Complete a self analysis of their interpersonal skills, strengths and weaknesses, and prepare a plan for personal and career development.

LIBR 286 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations.

Course Requirements

Course Format
This is a team-based course conducted as a project management exercise. It is totally integrated with LIBR 204-29 Information Organization and Management, and co-taught by Drs. Sheldon and Haycock.  You will find that the syllabi, except for objectives and outcomes are essentially identical.  A substantial amount of content will be covered in the residency, August 8-14.  Angel will be used for the remaining units.  The 204-29 site will be used for all class discussion, and will be the primary source for all assignments and other information.

The course is based on the following principles of learning:

  • learning requires the active participation of the student;
  • people learn in a variety of ways and at different rates
  • learning is both an individual and a group process.

Consequently, a variety of strategies are used and group and individual responsibility are incorporated.

This is also a problem based course with assessment based on evidence.

The instructors are available for assistance, clarification, and support.

You will engage in several types of learning activities:

  • to increase your awareness and broaden your understanding of the principles and theories underlying interpersonal communication and leadership;
  • to provide you with opportunities to develop the reflective practitioner professional;
  • to enable you to examine, discuss and reflect upon theory and applications, as well as personal beliefs, in the practice of interpersonal skills and leadership;
  • to encourage you to engage in focused experiences;
  • to develop and hone presentation skills essential to professional and staff development.

At the end of this graduate course, you should have learned as much or more direct content from your colleagues as you did from the instructors who orchestrated the learning through course design and advising.

The assignments for this course are a series of problems:

  • Project Management
    You have been assigned to a management work team. The team will choose a name and select a team leader for the duration of the course. The team will establish a project management plan to address the course goals, objectives and assignments. Not all objectives will be covered in class; the team will need to plan for completion of that component, whether left to individual or group effort.
    In the portfolio assessment (see below)

    The project (i.e., the course) work plan will include team ground rules, set meeting times and a plan of action with specific, measurable and timed objectives and who is responsible. The plan will reflect the elements of project management, e.g., defining the task(s), profiles of the project manager and work team, goals, deliverables, structures, schedules, budget, controls, documentation, review. You will use project management software of your choice for at least part of the plan. The team may need to learn more about project management beyond the class presentation.

    A sample will be available upon request; assessment criteria will be provided.

    The team leader will coordinate and facilitate the work of the team and be accountable for the team’s performance. An exit interview will be held with the team leader at the conclusion of the course to review overall achievement and each team member’s contributions and effectiveness.

    The project management deliverables will be integrated with the same assignment in LIBR 204.

    Due Friday, August 13, 5pm [20% of final grade]
  • Team Presentations
    SCENARIO:  Your team will be asked to prepare a presentation for colleagues as part of a Staff  Development Program.
    Your team presentation will focus on the major theories in the field, and an application of the theory utilizing group exercises and other appropriate interactive activity. Exact topic should be cleared with the instructor. The presentations will model the elements  of effective presentations and adult learning presented in LIBR 204. Presentations will be given in rotating teams of two.
    An assessment instrument will be provided. ; in addition, individual contributions will be described and overall performance assessed in the team leader’s final project management assessment report. Your team will make a minimum of two team presentations in LIBR 204 and 286 combined. A schedule will be provided.

    Presentations Due: From September 20-November 15 [20% of final grade]

  • Portfolio and Team Peer Assessment
    SCENARIO:  Your organization is introducing a newer approach to performance appraisal. Rather than the standard checklist and subjective assessment by your supervisor, it is using portfolios for the first time.

    You are responsible for demonstrating that the goals/objectives (knowledge, skills and aptitudes) outlined in this course outline have been met. Personal and professional growth, accomplishments, learnings and contributions are to be represented in ways that constitute “authentic” evidence. Examples of evidence might include, but are not limited to: completed course assignments, research papers, materials from individual and group projects, self-reflective essays, a short paper applying a concept to a work situation, self-assessment instruments, correspondence, taped presentations, involvement in associations and organizations, appropriate prior and current evaluations in other courses or projects, relevant experiences, considered observations, reports, publications. A simple summary of the course content and your opinion does not constitute integrated, reflective learning.  This self assessment will be tied specifically to the course goals/objectives as outlined in this syllabus.

    The portfolio will also include an expanded assessment of your work team’s performance during the course to demonstrate achievement of the objectives for working in teams. (No names are to be used in this specific section as you are describing team performance, which constitutes a collective responsibility)

    The team may need to learn more about portfolio assessment beyond these directions; this may form part of your project management plan.
    A sample will be available on request.

    The portfolio assessment will include the requirements for the portfolio assessment assignment for LIBR 204. It may be submitted in print or electronic form. Alternately the team leader will prepare a detailed assessment of the implementation of the project plan and individual performance.

    You will also submit a separate peer assessment for members of your team. Criteria should be developed by the team. A sample will be provided.

    (Peer Assessment: please note that the 20% of the final grade includes the team assessments of another team’s presentations, which were handed in through the residency, and your individual assessment of each team member’s contributions to your, and your team’s growth, which will be included with this portfolio)

    Due: December 09.

    Portfolio:40% of final grade; it will also include your self analysis of your interpersonal skills, and plan for personal and career development.

    Leader Interviews:  Using predetermined semi-structured questions, which will be adapted from the works of Bennis and Sheldon and provided to you, interview a minimum of two directors/chief executive officers of public libraries whom you consider to be exemplary leaders.  Submit the transcripts with an analysis of any commonalities or emerging leadership themes to the instructor.  A consent form will be provided.

    Due: September 13, 10% of final grade
  • Weekly Discussions: Your will be required to make a minimum of one contribution during each weekly discussion, and a minimuym of one comment on the contributions of your colleagues each week during the course.  These latter comments must be analytical or evaluative as, for example querying an opinion, requesting further evidence, or expanding on the content provided.  Insofar as writing is "thinking made visible", cheerleading comments such as "good job" or "interesting idea!" represent limited analytical ability and are insufficient for graduate work.  Correct grammar and spelling reflective of business writing is expected.  You are also required to respond to comments made on your work and postings as appropriate.

    Due: Throughout the course (l0% of final grade)

Assignment, Due Date, Weighting:


Due Date


Project Management

August 13,5 p.m.





Leader Interviews

Sept. 13


Portfolio and Team Assessments
(includes interpersonal skills self-analysis and plan for personal and career development

December 9


Weekly Discussion Throughout 10%

Written & Spoken English Requirement
Written and spoken work may receive a lower mark if it is, in the opinion of the instructor, deficient in English.

Other Relevant Information
Students are also expected to observe the following:

  • Attendance
    Regular attendance is expected of students in all their classes (including lectures, laboratories, tutorials, seminars, etc.). Please be present and on time for class or inform the instructors in advance (cell 303-913-8341 or 505-231-8423), as you would any supervisor in a workplace; as there is no final examination, absence from two or more classes may make it difficult for you to succeed.
  • Evaluation
    Evaluation is based on both group and individual assignments, from team planning for the course to individual presentations. Individual, peer and instructor evaluations are included.

    Evaluation in this course is an ongoing process. All completed work will be assessed for evaluative feedback. An important part of this process is the strengthening of your own self-evaluation skills—learning the process of critical, non-defensive scrutiny of your own performance. The better you are able to do this, the more your professional growth will continue after you leave the course. It is anticipated that students will spend the equivalent of a minimum of three hours of work outside class for each hour in class. All of these formative and summative procedures—an overall reflection of the student's satisfactory completion of all course requirements—are considered in the instructors’ determination of the final grade.

    Should the course requirements or grading practices appear unclear or inconsistent, it is your right and responsibility to seek clarification from the instructors.

Other Course Policies
As this is an executive management track, reasonable behaviors of managers are expected:

  1. please be present and on time for class or inform the instructor in advance; as there is no final examination, absence from two or more classes may result in failure;
  2. submit assignments on time according to instructions; written assignments will not be accepted after the stated deadline without prior approval, and may be subject to a grade penalty;
  3. contribute positively and productively to the professional growth of others in classes, team meetings, seminars and peer assessments;
  4. complete readings and assignments to increase understanding of leadership and management issues;
  5. complete assigned tasks with demonstrated understanding of process, competence in products and the ability to analyze objectively and critically one's performance;
  6. submit assignments using word processing software.

Specific Objectives by Topic

  • Introduction to Interpersonal Communications
    You Should:
    1. know the instructors and the course organization and expectations;
    2. have had answered any initial concerns and questions regarding course content, schedules and assignments;
    3. have met with your work team regarding course planning.
  • Management and Leadership Styles (Enhanced with LIBR 204)
    You should:
    1. have an understanding of your preferred management style/personality type;
    2. know how to utilize these preferences to improve personal relationships and ultimately team performance.
  • Small Group Dynamics (Enhanced with LIBR 204)
    You should:
    1. understand the theories of group dynamics and group development and be able to apply them in two main areas: group management, and interpersonal skills;
    2. know the stages of development of work teams and other groups;
    3. understand how to improve your own performance in the team, and the team’s performance overall;
    4. recognize the behaviors that enhance or impair team performance.
  • Leadership
    You should:
    1. understand the differences between management and leadership
    2. be familiar with the various theories of leadership that have evolved through the years, and recognize their deficiencies as well as their efficacy when applied in practice;
    3. gain a greater understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, and leadership potential;
    4. Understand the central role interpersonal skills will play in your leadership development
  • Listening Skills
    You should:
    1. understand the key role that listening plays in work and other environments;
    2. know the essential characteristics of active or empathic “Rogerian” listening;
    3. be able to employ the techniques of reflection and summarization;
    4. understand that non-verbal cues often express emotion/values that are easily misinterpreted.
    5. understand the common failures in listening
    6. evaluate your own listening habits, and as/if needed, devise a short range plan for improvement.
  • Conflict (Enhanced with LIBR 204)
    You should:
    1. understand the basic kinds/sources of conflict, and the five potential forms of conflict in organizations;
    2. know a variety of strategies to manage and resolve conflict;
  • Motivation
    You should:
    1. have an understanding of the theories of key motivational thinkers (ie Maslov, Mayo, McGregor, Hertzberg, McClelland, Likert);
    2. understand that individuals vary greatly in how they are motivated;
    3. attain skills in analyzing different scenarios and applying motivational techniques

Textbooks and Readings

No required text.

No Textbooks For This Course

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation.  You must repeat the class the following semester. If -on the second attempt- you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

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