Erich Sommerfeldt is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at The University of Maryland. His research has focused on civil society and development communication, public diplomacy, activism, social capital, and social network analysis. He has participated in applied civil society research projects in dozens of developing nations around the world. Sommerfeldt has consulted extensively 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. He was a visiting professor at the BI Norwegian Business School in 2018. He is a two-time winner of the Best Article of the Year Award from the Public Relations Division of the National Communication Association, and his doctoral dissertation, based on field research conducted in Peru, was given the 2010-2011 Grunig Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Public Relations Division of the International Communication Association. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.
State Department Profile
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, Office of Policy, Planning, and Resources
Office of Research, Policy, Planning, and Resources
Erich Sommerfeldt serves as an advisor with the Research and Evaluation Unit of the Office of Research, Policy, Planning, and Resources (R/PRR). R/PRR provides long-term strategic planning and performance measurement capability for public diplomacy and public affairs programs. In one of his responsibilities, Erich is helping to craft new public diplomacy doctrine to be taught at the Foreign Service Institute. He is also supporting new surveys that measure the relationship between networking behaviors and support for democracy worldwide.