A-to-Z Index

Eric Fife




Dr. Eric Fife has been a professor in the School of Communication Studies since Fall 2001.  He is a JMU alumnus, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and English in 1990.  He received his master’s degree in Interpersonal Communication from the University of Maryland in 1992 and his doctorate in Interpersonal Communication from Purdue University in 1999.  His dissertation was a study of competition in friendships. 

Dr. Fife received tenure in Fall 2007 and more recently received the JMU Communication Studies Distinguished Alumni Award in Spring 2010; he holds both as memorable moments in his career.  Recently (April 2012), Dr. Fife was awarded the Madison Distinguished Teacher Award for the College of Arts and Letters at JMU.

 Dr. Fife teaches SCOM 242 Presentational Speaking, SCOM 320 Interpersonal Communication, SCOM 341 Persuasion, SCOM 331 Communication and Conflict, SCOM 345 Nonverbal Communication, and SCOM 440 Family Communication.

Dr. Fife has been published in various scholarly journals, including the Communication and Theater Association of Minnesota Journal and Mountain Rise Online Journal.  In 2008, The Journal of 1st Year Experience published his collaborative research with a student on alcohol and loneliness in college students.  His favorite ongoing research area involves the use of Facebook and the Expectancy Violation Theory. 

Dr. Fife considers his greatest accomplishment to be his family—his relationship with his wife and his three kids.  He enjoys participating in fantasy football, watching sports, and reading in his leisure time.  His current favorite author is Neal Gayman, who writes children’s books, fantasy, and science fiction.  He considers JMU students to be kind, motivated, and capable, which makes coming to work every day more validating. 


“Given the nature of the major, [students should] do something practical on paper to prepare [them for their careers]: complete an internship if possible; participate in undergraduate research opportunities as well.” 

“Take the time to balance the college experience between academics, family, and friends.”