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PRST 5920/6920/7920 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PRST 5920/6920/7920 - Diversity in the Workplace

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course examines the impact of diversity, culture, and ethnic origin on the work experience, and is designed to better prepare individuals to meet the challenge of cultural diversity in organizations. Attention is given to how language, gender, race, tradition, education, economic structure, and organizational philosophy interact to create a set of rules for acceptable behaviors in complex organizations. Course activities include group discussion of the text, essays, online presentations and exams. 

Course Outcomes:

1) Students will gain an understanding of organizational culture and how to manage it. Organizational culture is the source of cultural norms (unwritten rules of behavior) and implicit assumptions (untested beliefs about members and other stakeholders) that influence how members interact with diverse others - - both inside and outside the organization.

2) Students will gain knowledge of schema theory (the mental models we use to see and manage reality) which will help us to examine the validity of our many hidden stereotypes of diverse others that we bring unconsciously into the workplace.

3) Students will be able to recognize organizational systems (strategy, structure, and rewards) and learning processes (how we gradually and radically improve ourselves and our work environment) will complete the big picture of seeing and managing cultural diversity at work. 4) Students will develop a deep understanding of the personal transformation and the organizational transformation that are essential for making full use of diverse human beings in our complex world.

Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Admission to the Master of Professional Studies program or departmental approval.

Course Topics:

Topics include language, gender, race, tradition, education, economic structure, and organizational philosophy and how they interact to create a set of rules for acceptable behaviors in complex organizations.

Specific Course Requirements:

Students should be familiar with the functions of e-learn such as how to post and respond in a discussion board, how to submit an assignment in the dropbox, and how to send and check email inside the course. Further, students in this course should know how to use PowerPoint for presentations, and know how to search the internet and use the library.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:
Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

There is an exam that is to be taken in D2L in Module 4 and is automatically graded upon completion. This exam will be timed and no proctor is required. It will be 25 multiple choice questions from the readings and key concepts.

Grading Procedures:

Your grade for this course will be based on your performance in several areas. The ability to express yourself articulately in written form is a top priority. Written assignments should be constructed using standard English spelling, grammar, sentence, and paragraph construction. The following guidelines will be used to evaluate written assignments: Written assignments should be word-processed and double-spaced unless noted otherwise. All work should be formatted according to the APA (American Psychological Association) style. Please follow the guidelines available at  A link to a sample paper written in APA format is available on the home page. The following rationale will influence the assignment of grades for essays:

A. Clear and specific answers, directed at questions posed; detailed understanding of the readings: sound organization; few or no mechanical errors; clear, unambiguous sentences, perhaps with a touch of elegance. In an "A" essay, a lively, intelligent voice seems to speak. It has something interesting to say, says it clearly and gracefully to an appropriate audience, and supports it fully.

B. Clear and specific answers, directed at questions posed; organization and continuity; probably some minor mechanical errors, but no major ones; slightly awkward style may be present at times; ideas are reasonable and grounded in the readings. In a "B" essay, work and thought have obviously gone into the essay; the writer has a definite point to make and makes it in an organized and competent way.

C. Weak, fuzzy or trivial answers; a certain amount of confusion about what the readings actually say; many minor mechanical errors and perhaps a few major ones (such as incomplete sentences or consistent misuse of apostrophes); examples given for their own sakes or to demonstrate only that the writer has read rather than to prove a particular point; unclear organizational structure; words misused; diction is inconsistent; proofreading is weak; the intended audience is unclear. A "C" essay contains some good ideas, but the writer needs help and work to make them clear to the reader.

D. Answers partial or missing; major mechanical problems; poor organization; serious misinterpretation of readings; stretches of logic; narrative account of the readings with no apparent purpose; essay shorter than the assigned length or otherwise written with disregard for instructions. In a "D" essay, the writer doesn't really have a point to make and has some serious problems writing.

F. The essay is plagiarized in part or as a whole, reveals that the writer has probably not read, or shows general weaknesses even greater than those of a "D" essay. 

Course Points:

Task Points
Research Paper 200
Assignment 1 Research Paper - Description20 
Assignment 2 Research Paper - Outline and References20 
Assignment 3 Research paper - Rough Draft60 
Assignment 4 Research Paper - Final Paper100 
Summary/ Reflection Discussions 50
Module 112.5 
Module 212.5 
Module 312.5 
Module 412.5 
Case Analysis Discussions 100
Case 125 
Case 225 
Case 325 
Case 425 
Self-Awareness Exercises 100
Module 1 Exercise25 
Module 2 Exercise25 
Module 3 Exercise25 
Module 4 Exercise25 
Total 550
Bonus Points: Added to your total points before final grade is calculated 10

How to calculate your grade: If your total points totals 440, you divide that by 550, or 440/550 to get your percentage, which is 80%. Find your percentage on the scale below, and you see that your grade in the course is a “B”.  


Grading Scale:

90%-100% A 

80%-89% B 

70%-79% C 

60%-69% D 

Below 60 F

Assignments and Projects:

Research Paper: (200 points)

You will write a term paper on a topic within the domain of Gender and Diversity in Organizations that is of interest to you. This paper will give you the opportunity to explore a specific issue in greater detail. The research paper will be completed by investigating the literature and including the components of research listed below that will center around creating and answering your own research question using the literature or existing data. 

The paper is to be 10 pages (minimum) and completed in 5th Edition of APA writing style guide

The paper can be in the following format (use these major section titles and your own topic subtitles) : ABSTRACT (On a separate sheet after the title page-It summarizes your paper, so write it last)

1. INTRODUCTION -brief introduction, explaining the purpose of the paper,

2. RESEARCH QUESTIONS-significance of the paper, that is, its importance to organizations and/or the extent to which it will further knowledge in the field. What are the questions you hope to answer in this paper? What do you seek a solution to?

3. LITERATURE REVIEW -summary and integration of current literature or practices in the area,

4. METHOD- your conceptual model, or other original contribution to the paper (empirical data, case study, etc.),

5. FINDINGS/DISCUSSION -implications of the paper for industry and/or future research.

6. REFERENCES – You sources in correct APA style. Use peer-reviewed journal articles, and books. No more than 3 may be from the readings in the text. You must have 15 (minimum) references.

Submission of Paper: 

Assignment 1-Research Paper: (20 points) Submit a ½ page description of the topic of your paper and the technique you plan to use to accomplish writing your paper/doing your research. Due in Module 1

Assignment 2 Research Paper: (20 points) Submit an outline of major points in the paper, and your preliminary reference list (at least 7). Due in Module 2

Assignment 3 Research Paper: (60 points) Submit a complete 10 page completed rough draft. Due in Module 3

Assignment 4 Research Paper: (100 points) Submit completed research paper. Due in Module 4

Case Analysis Discussion: (100 points)

During each module there will be a discussion in which all classmates actively participate by contributing substantial posts to the discussion board. You will make a minimum of two posts per case discussion. 

Post 1 – (15 points) 

Diversity Self Awareness Exercises and Reflections: 100 points

During each module, you will be required to complete one or two small self-awareness exercises or writings. These are crucial in helping you learn about yourself to discover your own stereotype formations, and possible biases or prejudice.

Module 1 Exercise: (25 points

Module 2 Exercise: (25 points)

Module 3 Exercise: (25 points)

Module 4 Exercise: (25 points)

Exam: 100 points

During Module 4 you will take an exam that reflects your knowledge of the major terms and concepts that you have read about in Module 1,2 and 3 from either text. This will be a multiple choice exam. It will be automatically graded, and you will be able to see your grade immediately. Generally in graduate school it is not common to give such a test, but for our topic, to be able to understand and articulate conceptual knowledge helps us to communicate more effectively with others, and thus broaden our repertoire for discussion on the topic of diversity

Class Participation:

Participation is required for successful completion of this course. Each student is expected to communicate with other students via the discussion board. Students are expected to learn how to navigate in D2L and keep abreast of course announcements. The D2L assigned e-mail address is to be used as opposed to a personal e-mail address. Technical problems need to be addressed immediately. Failure to submit assignments due to technical problems will not be considered grounds for leniency. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with the instructor when a problem arises and to obtain technical assistance from the appropriate sources.

Late Policy:

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on August 15, 2017