Welcome, new faculty member

Liesel Sharabi joins the Hugh Downs School as assistant professor of communication

The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University welcomes a new faculty member, Liesel Sharabi. Sharabi is an assistant professor of interpersonal communication in the digital age and begins her service in the fall semester. 

“Professor Sharabi is well-known for her cutting-edge research on the role technology plays in how people communicate in relationships,” said Hugh Downs School Associate Director and Professor Laura Guerrero, who directed the search committee that recruited Sharabi. 

“In addition to publishing in numerous academic journals, she authors a blog called ‘Dating in the Digital Age’ for Psychology Today. Her work has also been featured in popular press outlets such as The Huffington Post and New York Magazine. Her research on relational communication and technology complements the research interests of Hugh Downs School faculty by looking at how technology is changing the communicative landscape in modern dating relationships. We are very excited to have her joining us!” 

Sharabi will be teaching COM 310, Relational Communication, in the fall semester.  The course will focus on major theories and research findings pertaining to communication between friends, family members, and romantic partners.

To allow everyone to get to know her better, we asked her a few questions. 

My educational background: Ph.D., Department of Communication, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, M.A. University of New Mexico Department of Communication & Journalism, B.A. University of New Mexico Department of Communication & Journalism 

My previous job: “Most recently I was an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at West Virginia University in Morgantown.”

Why did you want to come to ASU and the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication (HDSHC): “I wanted to join ASU and the HDSHC because of its tradition of excellence in the area of interpersonal communication and because of the commitment of its faculty and students to fostering a climate of equity and inclusion. The HDSHC has a top interpersonal program with faculty who continue to make tremendous contributions to the field. I hope to extend this work into the digital age with my research and teaching at the intersection of interpersonal relationships and communication technology.”

Why I became an educator: “Because I love to learn, especially from my students. I also love to mentor students and to help them find their paths and launch their careers.”

What led me to my field: “As a child of divorce, I’ve always been fascinated by what makes people compatible and why some relationships succeed where others fail. When I got to college, I took a class on Communication in Close Relationships my senior year, and I knew it was exactly what I wanted to study. I’m also a millennial, which means that I’m part of one of the first generations to really grow up with technology. I see enormous potential in being able to use the technologies we have available now to combat loneliness and help people form more stable, satisfying relationships.” 

My current research focus: “I study the intersection between communication technologies and interpersonal relationships.  I’m especially interested in romantic relationships and the influence that technology is having on attraction, dating, and marriage. I also conduct research on multimodality and the ways that mediated and face-to-face communication become integrated in close relationships.” 

What I want every student to learn: “How versatile a degree in communication is. Being able to communicate clearly and think critically are valuable skills across industries, and interpersonal communication in particular is one of the top qualities that many employers say they’re looking for in a new hire. These are the kinds of skills that you don’t have to worry will become automated in the next five or 10 years.”

What few people know about me: “I’ve never used an online dating site. I think that because I research online dating, some people assume that I must have been obsessed with Tinder at one point; but alas, I have to live vicariously through the stories that my students tell me :)”