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Voice & Diction

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2012
Fain Fine Arts Center
Classroom Number
Days & Times

TR 8:00 - 9:20 am

Elizabeth James Lewandowski (view Profile)


Course Objectives


The primary objective in Voice and Diction is specific improvement of the speaking voice. To achieve this, we will A: focus on analyzing the physiology of vocal production communication theory, and B: use phonetics to analyze and discuss speech.  Students will learn to use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to analyze and transcribe spoken English.   By the end of this course students should demonstrate proficiency in the following areas:


  1. Control and management of performance anxiety.
  2. Demonstration of proficiency in reading and writing of the International Phonetic Alphabet to transcribe American English.
  3. Understanding of the theory and physiology of vocal production and communication.
  4. Diagnosis and specific strategies for remediation of articulation errors and mispronunciations present in one’s own speech and the speech of others.

General Education Learning Outcome 3:  Critical Thinking

  1. Clear and specific improvement in vocal quality, diction, vocal variety, and clarity of communication.  Evaluations will be taken from performances in class and via an audio-tape that will be turned in periodically during the semester.
  2. Students will also be expected to offer a clear and accurate analysis of their personal speech habits, vocal health, and improvement needs.

General Education Learning Outcome 3:  Critical Thinking


Course Expectations


                        Students are expected to be on time to class everyday.  Respect will be given to everyone at all times.  If you are disrespectful to someone (especially during a performance) the instructor reserves the right to ask you to leave the room and receive an absence for the day.  You will be required to complete assignments on or before the due date, and you will be required to submit an official form from the university before an absence.


You are expected to do the assignments when they are assigned.  Failure to do so will result in an inability to keep up with the work.  All graded assignments should be submitted on or before the deadline.  Late assignments will not be accepted.


                        In this class, we will be reading to each other.  It is the hope of the instructor that each student will carefully consider the content of their reading material before presenting said material to the class.  The instructor will provide each student with guidelines for choosing materials.  Social justice is one of MSU’s stated core values, and the professor considers the classroom to be a place where students will be treated with respect as human beings, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age or ability.  In a university environment, an environment in which all are encouraged to grow and develop to their ultimate potential, it is not beneficial to present material that is derogatory to an individual or a group of people because of race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, or sexual orientation.  For that reason, students should avoid reading material that may be offensive to others in the classroom.  There is a whole world of marvelous literature from which to choose-let us treat each other with respect due to all persons.  Be civil at all times and focus on understanding the material being presented.


                        Honesty is paramount.  Dishonest work on homework and tests will not be tolerated. Expect disciplinary action to be sought in the event that the instructor discovers dishonesty or cheating.  The instructor reserves the right to drop any student engaging in academic dishonesty from the course.  Students dropped from the course by the instructor for failure to attend classes or for academic dishonesty may receive an F for the semester.  By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course.  The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and educational purposes.


                        Cell phone use in class is prohibited.  If your cell phone goes off during a class you may be asked to leave the classroom and receive an absence for the day.  No texting; again, you may be asked to leave the classroom.  Please don’t make this an issue, just turn off the phone during our class.  If other commitments are so pressing that they can not wait until the end of the class session, it may be in the student’s best interests to reconsider the priority placed on being this class.  In any case, the instructor reserves the right to ask you to leave immediately or to embarrass you mercilessly if your phone makes noise during class.  TEXTING and SLEEPING will NOT be tolerated.


                        Students with disabilities or special needs should see the instructor as early in the semester as possible.  Please note that in order to qualify for consideration of special accommodations, the student must be registered with the MSU Office of Disability Services, and the instructor must receive a memo on file from that office, along with a Special Accommodations Request form. 


Please note that work, non-emergency medical and dental appointments, intramural games, and all other forms of personal engagements do NOT constitute an excused absence.


            All audio recordings are to be submitted in an mp3 format.  Failure to submit in the appropriate format may result in the student receiving a 0 for the recording portion of the grade on that project/presentation.


            In short:  Be on time.  Be awake.  Be prepared.  Be engaged.  Ask questions.  Study.  Come ready to be a scholar or stay home!


Grading Standards


The Professor reserves the right to adjust or cancel assignments as the course progresses.  If, for some reason, assignments administered total somewhat more or fewer than 1,000 points, the method for obtaining the final grade will remain essentially the same:  the total points achieved will be divided by the total points possible to obtain a percentage, and a grade will be assigned according to the percentage scale outlined below.

Homework & Participation                                                     100 points

Test I                                                                                       100 points
Test II                                                                                     100 points

Test III                                                                                                100 points
Test IV                                                                                    125 points

Oral Presentation I                                                                    25 points

Oral Presentation II                                                                100 points

Oral Presentation III                                                               100 points

Oral Presentation IV                                                               100 points

Oral Presentation V                                                                150 points


                                                                                                1000 points

Final Exam 12/13/2012 8:00 am
Submission Format Policy Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Late Paper Policy


You are expected to do the assignments when they are assigned.  Failure to do so will result in an inability to keep up with the work.  All graded assignments should be submitted on or before the deadline.  Late assignments will not be accepted.


Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements


Attendance is MANDATORY!!  Be on time to class.  Tardiness beyond ten minutes will be counted as an absence.  Excessive tardiness may result in a student being dropped from the course with an F.  We have a substantial amount of material to cover and a limited amount of time.  Each day we will be covering or presenting NEW material.  Since there will be considerable collaboration amongst students your absence will affect the progression and dynamic of the rest of the class.  After five absences you may be dropped from the class as per the college policy. 


                        If you have a university-sponsored function or a religious holiday that will keep you from attending class please see the instructor as early as possible to discuss this.  You will be expected to provide documentation for all university-sponsored events that will result in an absence.  All assignments will need to be turned in on or before the due date, no exceptions.  Late assignments will not be accepted, so please, don’t ask.

Other Policies



In accordance with Federal Privacy Laws a student’s personal information is protected.  As an instructor it is unlawful for me to share your personal information (including grades) with anyone unless I have written consent.  This means I will not be able to discuss your grades with parents.  If you have questions about your grades or have forgotten the grading policy for the course please come by during office hours.


By accepting this syllabus, you are indicating that you understand and accept all the instructor’s policies listed herein.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at