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Ron Gordon, Ph.D.


Hi! I'm Dr. Gordon (most students call me "Dr G," or "Flash"). I teach courses like Interpersonal Communication, Seminar in Human Dialogue, Seminar in Listening, Leadership and Communication, Modern American Cinema, and Special Studies.

Until recently I also regularly taught Media Studies courses like Intro to Mass Communication, Mass Media Analysis, Impact of the Mass Media, etc., but I'm on a bit of a media conglomerate-fast for some indeterminate period. I see too many things out there in media-land that are so blatantly sensationalistic, materialistic, and reductionistic. So I try to use my energy positively. That's how I can be of most use to my students, and to myself.

That's where Interpersonal Communication Studies comes in. I teach best that which I love, and Interpersonal Communication Studies was my first love within our discipline. So now I am turning my personal energies once again toward coursework in this exciting area of our communication discipline.

I also love facilitating courses that involve a highly diverse group of students. By "diverse," I mean diverse in all senses, but especially cultural diversity. I've taught at a dozen colleges in a half-dozen states, but UH Hilo has the most cultural diversity of any school I've ever taught at. This is one of the greatest strengths of UH Hilo. I try to actively draw upon the rich cultural diversity that marks UH Hilo as being so special on the national scene.

I enjoy courses that explore and foster interpersonal-quality intercultural communication. What is "interpersonal-quality" intercultural communication? It's communication among people of different cultures that recognizes the intrinsic worth of other humans, that goes beyond snap stereotypes and judgments, that treats people as persons and not as "things." I also enjoy courses in which we come to see communication not as a problem to be solved but as an experience to be savored. My courses have a strong experiential dimension. I want my students to have a positive human experience with one another in the classroom that they won't easily forget. Concepts and theories matter, "but it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that zing." I want people to be affected as communicators by my courses, to go through a constructive transformation.

In short, my courses bring diverse students together, and a communication climate gets created in which people can grow as communicators, and as persons. To get more specific, students in my classes tend to:

  • Develop their awareness of others, self, and surroundings
  • Develop their reflective thinking skills
  • Develop their positive regard for diverse others
  • Develop their capacity for empathic listening
  • Develop their authenticity as human beings
  • Develop their ability to communicate their positive regard, empathy, and authenticity in ways that others can see and hear
  • Develop their abilities to engage in creative human dialogue.

In the area of scholarship, I was honored to serve for three years as president of the Pacific and Asian Communication Association. In the past half-dozen years I've been pleased to present papers at national and international conventions and conferences in Chicago, USA; Seoul, Korea; Sapporo, Japan; Tokyo, Japan; and Xiamen, China. It's the human interactions that I most remember from these opportunities, the connections, the laughter, the satisfaction, reaching across cultural zones and honoring common humanity. In that same period my articles have appeared in International and Intercultural Communication Annual ("The Wisdom Circle Process: Community, Story, and Spirit"), Southern Communication Journal ("Karl Jaspers: Existential Philosopher of Dialogical Communication"), and Human Communication ("The Question of Media Violence in the USA"), and a brief essay ("American Communication Theory = Human Communication Theory?") appears in Intercultural Encounters, 6 th Edition (Mc Croskey & Klopf, 2006, Allyn & Bacon Publishers).

If you come to UH Hilo and major in Communication, we'll probably have a class or so with each other. You will, hopefully, bring genuine curiosity (the desire to understand, to learn), personal vitality (enthusiasm, energy, responsiveness), and openness to possibility. I'll bring 100% of myself and my experience to the classroom. Let's see how far we can go together.

Dr G.