(808) 932-7210


(808) 932-7214

Kanakaʻole Hall, room 210

Hi! I'm Dr. Gordon (most students call me "Dr G"). I teach Interpersonal Communication, Seminar in Human Dialogue, Seminar in Listening, Leadership and Communication, and Communication and Love.

Until recently I also regularly taught Media Studies courses like Intro to Mass Communication, Mass Media Analysis, Impact of the Mass Media, Modern American Cinema, and others. But I'm on a "fast" from being an academic media analyst and critic, since many things out there in media-land are so blatantly sensationalistic, materialistic, and divisive. So I now try to use my life-energies more positively and be of best 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 in recent years I've turned my focus once again toward coursework in this exciting area of our communication discipline.

I also enjoy 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, and I try to actively draw upon the rich cultural diversity that marks UH Hilo as being so special on the national scene.

So 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 an "experience" to be savored. My courses have a strong experiential dimension. I aim for my students to have positive human engagement 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, and ideally go through a constructive transformation, a moving-closer to becoming the best version of themselves as persons, learners, and communicators.

To be more specific, students in my classes tend to:

  • Develop their awareness of others, self, and surroundings
  • Develop their reflective thinking and creative 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, hear, and feel
  • Develop their abilities to engage in "shared inquiry" (i.e., generative dialogue).

As for academic service, I was honored to serve for three years as president of the Pacific and Asian Communication Association, and for eight years as chair of our UH-Hilo Department of Communication. As a scholar, I've been pleased to present papers at national and international conventions and conferences in San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, New Orleans, Honolulu, Seoul (Korea), Sapporo (Japan), Tokyo (Japan), Hamamatsu (Japan), Xiamen (China), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Baguio (the Philippines), and in other exotic locations. It's the personal interactions that I most remember from these events: the connections, the laughter, the satisfaction, reaching across geographical and cultural zones and respecting our common humanity. My scholarship has been published in the Journal of Communication and Religion, Journal of Multicultural Discourses, Journal of Business Communication, China Media Research, Small Group Behavior, Psychological Reports, International and Intercultural Communication Annual, Communication Quarterly, Southern Communication Journal, Human Communication, Hawai'i Journal of the Humanities, and elsewhere. I've penned Op-Eds for the Baltimore-Sun Newspaper and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and written four books: The Way of Dialogue; Tuning-In; Actualizing; and, Communicating with the West (with Professor Satoshi Ishii).

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 sincere curiosity (the desire to understand, to learn), personal vitality (enthusiasm, energy, responsiveness), and openness to possibility. I'll bring 100% of my passion, my knowledge and wisdom, and my long experience of facilitating learning in the university classroom.

Let's see how far we can go, together.

Dr G