William F. Sharkey

William F. Sharkey

Bill Sharkey’s (Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies) research focuses on the use of intentional embarrassment as a social tool. He has studied why and how people deliberately embarrass themselves and others and what the consequences are for doing so. Additionally, Dr. Sharkey has continued research in two other areas of interpersonal communication: (a) the interaction patterns (both vocal and visual behaviors) of blind and sighted conversationalists and (b) cultural differences in the way people communicate with each other.

Professor Sharkey teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses that deal with interpersonal communication. He regularly teaches courses in conflict management, communication in helping relationships, strategic communication, interviewing and interrogation, and family interaction. He was awarded the Board of Regents Medal of Excellence for Teaching in 2006.

Professor Sharkey is also active in the community; he provides workshops and presentations that focus on conflict, listening, and interviewing skills.

Professor Sharkey is past editor (2007-2012) of Communication Reports.


Ph.D. in Interpersonal Communication (Ohio State University, 1990).
M.A. in Communication Theory (Ohio State University, 1987).
B.A. in Speech Communication (Glassboro State University, 1985).
A.A.S. in Interpreters Education (American Sign Language) (Community College of Philadelphia, 1982).


Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses

    • COMG 251: Principles of Effective Public Speaking
    • COMG 290: Interviewing
    • COMG 380: Family Communication
    • COMG 381: Interpersonal Relations
    • COMG 364: Persuasion
    • COMG 390: Interrogation & Interviewing
    • COMG 455: Conflict Management
    • COMG 470: Nonverbal Communication
    • COMG 490: The Helping Relationship

Graduate Courses

    • COMG 601: Theories in Speech Communication
    • COMG 602: Research Methods
    • COMG 681: Relational Communication
    • COMG 696: Patterns of Family Interaction
    • COMG 764: Seminar in Persuasion & Influence: Interviewing and Interrogation
    • COMG 781: Communication in Families: System Dynamics
    • COMG 781: Strategic Interpersonal Communication



Bibliography of Embarrassment Research



Office: George Hall 332
Phone: 808.956.8407
Fax: 808.956.3947
Email: sharkey@hawaii.edu