Marya L.

Professor of Communication and Chair of Communication


DeWitt 304

Marya Doerfel's research focuses on community resilience with a particular interest in disruptions that impact inter-organizational relationships and their broader community networks. She considers the way social network relationships among organizations in their local communities impact and are impacted by changes in their environment, other organizations, their constituents, and their relational contexts.


University at Buffalo – The State University of New York
Ph.D., Communication


Marya Doerfel's research and teaching emphasizes social networks and communication; inter-organizational relationships; and community building and transformation. She has conducted National Science Foundation funded research using communication and network assessments inside and among organizations. Her research mostly takes place in the field. Much of her field research takes place in areas in which environmental conditions disrupt interorganizational networks and therefore whole communities. She has conducted research in Croatia, during the country's political transformation; in New Orleans, Louisiana, following the post-Hurricane Katrina devastation of physical and social infrastructures; along the New Jersey coastline where sparsely connected beach communities were devastated by Superstorm Sandy; and most recently, in Houston, Texas, and its surrounding areas that were impacted by the 2017 floods associated with Hurricane Harvey.

Centers, Labs, Working Groups, and Clusters

Funded Projects

National Science Foundation, funding for project "Dynamic use of social network and leadership theories in disaster recovery" ($132,290) 2005

Department of Homeland Security (via ITT Industries), funding for project " Detecting deception in a counter-terrorism paradigm" ($500,000) 2005

Selected Publications

Doerfel, M. L., Harris, J., & Atouba, Y. (2016). Examining the role of funding policy and documentation in nonprofits’ interorganizational networks. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

Doerfel, M. L., & Moore, P. J. (2016). Digitizing Strength of Weak Ties: Understanding Social Network Relationships Through Online Discourse Analysis. Communication Yearbook, 40, 127-150.

Doerfel, M. L., & Haseki, M. (2015; online first 2013). Networks, disrupted: Media use as an organizing mechanism for rebuilding. New Media & Society, 17(3), 432-452. DOI: 10.1177/1461444813505362

Chewning, L. V., & Doerfel, M. L. (2013). "Integrating crisis into the organizational lifecycle through transitional networks." International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 3, 39-52.

Doerfel, M. L., Chewning, L. V., & Lai, C-H. (2013). The evolution of networks and the resilience of interorganizational relationships after disaster. Communication Monographs, 80(4), 553-559. DOI: 10.1080/03637751.2013.828157

Awards & Recognitions

Top-2 Research Paper, Public Relations Division, NCA. Doerfel, M. L., & Haseki, M. Building Interorganizational COMMunity During Disaster: Social Media Use, Social Networks, and Public Relations Management, 2012

Award for Outstanding Teaching, Department of Communication, Rutgers University, 2011

Award for Most Appreciated Professor, MCIS Graduate Student Body, Rutgers University, 2011

Top 5 paper award, Organizational Communication Division, ICA. Doerfel, M. L., & Taylor, M. The evolution of networks that network for change: Organizing in the Croatian Civil Society Movement. Paper presented at the annual meetings of the International C

2010 Advisor Award for the Charles W. Redding Dissertation of the Year, awarded to Lisa V. Chewning (SC&I, 2009) for her dissertation, "Network rebuilding after disaster: A communication theory of transitional space"

Additional Resources

Research Keywords