Proxemics – Space and Communication

Seminar: Proxemics – Space & Communication COMM 401
syllabus | schedule of events
Queens University of Charlotte
Fall 2012


About COMM 401
Storefronts persuade us to buy certain items. Office buildings indicate power and status. Roadways direct our travel. Memorials call us to reflection. The spaces we inhabit communicate with us. Students in this seminar will investigate proxemics: the ways that people use spaces and the ways that spaces communicate with the people inside them. By devoting attention to wayfinding, retail placement, event layout, campus and facility architecture, and the use of personal space, students will explore the communicative power of space as a vehicle for engaging people.

Course Objectives
At the conclusion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Define and apply key ideas in the field of non verbal communication, specifically in proxemics.
  2. Understand the roles of intimate, personal, and social space in communication.
  3. Critically evaluate the use of built space and staging in the world around us.
  4. Select and present information related to proxemics in multiple media forms.

Readings & Materials
Readings will be provided on Moodle and via the web. Students will need to create and maintain a journal for this course. The journal can either be a digital site (like Tumblr or WordPress) or a traditional print journal. In addition, students may purchase other materials during the semester including supplies for projects as designed by the student in accordance with the project requirements. Students will also have to identify their own readings to complete some assignments.

As a member of this course, each student is expected to:

  1. Participate fully in class by being present and contributing to ongoing classroom discussions in a meaningful way.
  2. Bring a positive attitude and a strong work ethic.
  3. Demonstrate respect for others and their views.
  4. Complete the journal assignment (32 entries).
    Seminar participants will engage with spaces, keeping notes about their experiences. Students should visit at least two spaces per week and write an analysis of their reflections about those spaces. Images of these spaces, drawings, maps, user-guides would also be helpful tools for analysis. These may be contained in a print or digital journal and will be assessed four times throughout the semester. Here are representative examples of the types of 500-1000 word entries (with images) these might include from my own proxemics journal.
  5. Complete the literature review, presentation, and multimedia presentation.
    Each student will select a topic related to proxemics and a type of space. After creating a literature review, each student will facilitate the classroom discussion one day by providing readings for the class, leading our discussion, and choosing the class location. Then, students will develop a multimedia presentation as a sort of final exam.
  6. Engage with class members on joint projects as assigned.

Grading Policy
Grades in this course will be based on 1000 available points:

A 1000-940  A- 939-900 B+ 899-870    B   869-840   B-  839-800 C+ 799-770   C  769-740    C- 739-700 D+ 699-670   D  669-600    F   599-0

Points will be allocated as follows:

Literature Review: 300 points
Class discussion leading: 150 points
Multimedia Presentation:  150  points
Journal:              400 points

TOTAL:              1000 points

Please ask me if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions for any of the assignments that we will complete.

Attendance is expected in this course. If you will be missing class for any reason, let me know as soon as possible. If you miss class, you are responsible for contacting a classmate to find out what work was missed.  Excessive absences will result in failure of the course.

Always make arrangements with me as soon as you know about an upcoming absence. Arrangements for making up missed work must be made in advance. Assignments submitted late will not be accepted unless arrangements are made in advance.

Queens University of Charlotte Policies

Disability Accommodations: If you are a student with a verified disability and you require accommodations, please provide me with the necessary memorandum that was given to you by Student Disability Services. Contact: The Coordinator of Disability Services: Mary Miles Davis, 704-337-2508.

Honor Code: The Honor Code, which permeates all phases of university life, is based on three fundamental principles. It assumes that Queens students: a) are truthful at all times, b) respect the property of others (this includes written, visual, and digital works, thus, plagiarism is a Honor Code violation), and c) are honest in tests, examinations, term papers, and all other academic assignments. It is a violation of the Honor Code for a student to be untruthful concerning the reason for a class absence. If you believe that you have witnessed a violation of the Queens Honor Code, I encourage you to speak with me confidentially. All members of the Queens community adhere to the Honor Code, these expectations are outlined in the Honor Code Booklet, which can be found on the university’s website:

Queens University of Charlotte Honor Code

As a member of the Queens University of Charlotte community, I will endeavor to create a spirit of integrity and honor for its own sake at Queens University of Charlotte.

Academic Pledge: I pledge truthfulness and absolute honesty in the performance of all academic work.

Community Pledge: I pledge to be truthful at all times, to treat others with respect, to respect the property of others,and to adhere to University policies.

Accepting both the privileges and responsibilities of living by this code of honor, I resolve to uphold this code and not to tolerate any violations of its spirit or principles.

E-mail: Students’ Queens University of Charlotte e-mail (Qmail) is an official form of communication for this course, and will be used to disseminate materials and provide updates in group and individual form. Please check your email regularly.

University Closings / Cancelled Classes: In the rare occasion when it is necessary to close the university announcements will be made on TV and radio, and will be posted on the Queens web site, The best way for the Queens community to receive fast and accurate information about closings is to sign up for QALERT at Remember, you must register as a new user each academic year, even if you’ve signed up in the past. NOTE: If classes are meeting but you feel that you cannot find a safe way to get to class, you should notify me as soon as possible.

Intellectual Property Policy: Queens University of Charlotte faculty and students adhere to the Queens’ Intellectual Property Policy and U.S. Copyright Law. See Faculty Handbook,, and the Queens University of Charlotte website at

A Notation
This content may be modified on a regular basis to facilitate effectiveness in the seminar experience. Seminar participants are advised to check this page often for revisions. Last update: August 2012