Erich Sommerfeldt

Associate Professor

Ph.D., University of Oklahoma

2124 Skinner Building
Professional Interests: 

Dr. Sommerfeldt specializes in public relations, with research emphases in activism, civil society and development communication, public diplomacy, social capital, and social network analysis. He is a two-time winner of the Best Article of the Year Award from the Public Relations Division of the National Communication Association. Dr. Sommerfeldt has participated in applied civil society research projects in developing nations around the world, including Haiti, Jordan, Ukraine, China, Indonesia, and Malaysia. His doctoral dissertation, based on field research conducted in Peru, was given the 2010-2011 James E. and Larissa A. Grunig Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Public Relations Division of the International Communication Association. Sommerfeldt is also interested in research and evaluation metrics for international development projects and public affairs, and has consulted on research and evaluation methods for the U.S. Department of State and USAID. He has lectured on evaluation methods in military public affairs to the Department of Defense Information School (DINFOS), the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army Reserve, and NATO.

Dr. Sommerfeldt serves on the editorial boards for Public Relations Review, Public Relations Inquiry, Journal of Applied Communication ResearchInternational Journal of Strategic Communication, and Corporate Communications: An International Journal. His research has been published in the Journal of Public Relations ResearchPublic Relations ReviewJournal of Applied Communication Research, and the International Journal of Strategic Communication, among others. He is the 2018-2020 Secretary for the Public Relations Division of the International Communication Association. 

Curriculum Vitae

Graduate Advising Philosophy

Representative Publications:

Sommerfeldt, E. J., & Buhmann, A. (2019). The status quo of evaluation in public diplomacy: Insights from the U.S. State Department. Journal of Communication Management, 23(3), 198-212doi: 10.1108/JCOM-12-2018-0137

Sommerfeldt, E. J., & Yang, A. (2017). Relationship networks as strategic issues management: An issue stage framework of social movement organization network strategies. Public Relations Review, 43(4), 829-839. doi: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2017.06.012

Sommerfeldt, E. J. (2015). Disasters and information source repertoires: Information seeking and information sufficiency in post-earthquake Haiti. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 43(1), 1–22. doi: 10.1080/00909882.2014.982682

Sommerfeldt, E. J. (2013). The civility of social capital: Public relations in the public sphere, civil society, and democracy. Public Relations Review, 39(4), 280–289. doi: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.12.004