Voice and Diction

Course Details

Course Number: 1233  Section Number: 301

Summer I 2011

Location: Fain Fine Arts Center

Classroom Number: B-114

Days & Times:


12:20 pm-2:20 pm

Course Attachments

Class Schedule  Summer V&D SCHEDULE 2011-20120327-144053.doc


Voice and Diction Workbook
Written by Carla Bennett & Dr. Ron Fischli--available in MSU bookstore

MSU Faculty Member
Brandon Smith   
view Profile »

Course Objectives




 This course will be a study of vocal communication, phonetics, voice production, and the IPA. We begin by investigating characteristics of good and healthy speech. We also identify and evaluate improper and unhealthy speech techniques and habits.  A substantial part of the course will include in-class exercises and activities designed to correct common vocal deficiencies and enhance communication skills.  Through application of the IPA students will be able to improve articulation, analyze their speaking habits, and move toward the pronunciation of “General American” speech. Being able to communicate clearly and with a wide range of people is a crucial skill in the current job market.  It is imperative that students leaving the university have advanced skills in speaking and communication if they expect to be competitive in the current job market.


The primary objective in Voice and Diction is specific improvement of the speaking voice. We will focus partly on analyzing the physiology of vocal production and communication theory.  The use of phonetics will be applied to analyze and discuss phonation and 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. Demonstrate proficiency in reading and writing of the International Phonetic Alphabet to transcribe American English.
  3. Understanding of basic communication theories and the physiology of vocal production.
  4. Develop specific strategies for remediation of articulation errors and mispronunciations present in one’s own speech and the speech of others.
  5. Clear and specific improvement in vocal quality, diction, vocal variety, and clarity of communication.  Evaluations will be taken from performances in class and via recordings that will be turned in periodically during the semester.
  6. Students will also be expected to offer a clear and accurate analysis of their personal speech habits, vocal health, and improvement needs.

Course Expectations


Homework, Participation, Quizzes


100 Points

Test I


100 Points

Test II


100 Points

Test III


100 Points

Mini Speech 1 & 2


100 Points

Oral Presentation I  "Getting to Know You"


50 Points

Oral Presentation II

Children’s Story

100 Points

Oral Presentation III

Novel or News

100 Points

Oral Presentation IV


150 Points






900 Points


Grading Standards


Grading Policy 

The Instructor reserves the right to adjust or cancel assignments as the course progresses.  If, for some reason, assignments administered total somewhat more or fewer than 900 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.

 Grading Scale:

A= 90%-100%

B= 89%-80%



F= Below 60%


Assignments will always be due at the beginning of class.  Any assignment not turned in at the beginning of class will be considered late.   Late work will not normally be accepted.  The instructor reserves the right to accept late work at his discretion, but will penalize students a minimum of 15 points per day on any late assignments. 

Final Exam6/30/2011  12:20pm

Submission Format Policy



Each student is expected to participate in class daily and practice what they are learning.  Students will occasionally perform speeches, work in small groups, perform board-work, and offer constructive input to classmates.  Part of your grade will be your participation during class.  Participation grades will often be given at random intervals, but often on days when people are absent.  The goal is to offer students an opportunity to honestly and objectively analyze speech (their own as well as their classmates), and offer critical and specific strategies for improved communication.


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


Assignments will always be due at the beginning of class.  Any assignment not turned in at the beginning of class will be considered late.   Late work will not normally be accepted.  The instructor reserves the right accept late work at his discretion, but will penalize students 15 points per day on any late assignments. 

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, 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.  You will receive a two-point grade deduction off of your final grade for each absence. After five absences you may be dropped from the class as per the university 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



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 presentation) 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.  You must submit an official form before a university sponsored event for the absence to be excused.


In this class, we will be reading aloud to each other.  It is the hope of the instructor that each student will carefully consider the content of their reading material before presenting any speech to the class.  The instructor will provide each student with guidelines for choosing presentations.  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 anything that might 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 the respect due to all persons.


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 and 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/pager/beeper/ etc. makes noise during class.


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.

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 English 1113 and English 1123 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 http://academics.mwsu.edu/wpr, or call 397-4131.