Eric Fife


Professor, Director of the School of Communication Studies
Contact Info

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. 

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. He was promoted to full professor in Fall 2013.

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.

Fife has been published in various scholarly journals, including The Journal of Family Communication, The Journal of Social Media in Society, 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. 

Dr. Fife and his family on vacation

Welcome to the School of Communication Studies at James Madison University!

We are proud to play a central role in general education, with almost every student at the university taking one of our fundamentals of human communication courses during freshman year.

Additionally, we offer a wide range of coursework grouped into a variety of concentrations for our undergraduate majors, including advocacy, conflict, cultural, health, interpersonal, organizational and public relations.

We also offer several minors in health, culture, and conflict analysis and intervention, and we have just taken over administration for the Sport Communication minor.

We are excited to have a new master’s degree program in Communication and Advocacy, with our first group of students graduating in May 2015.

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