Zifei Chen

Zifei "Fay" Chen

Assistant Professor

Program Coordinator
Full-Time Faculty


Dr. Zifei “Fay” Chen is an assistant professor in the Communication Studies Department and the coordinator of the Public Relations Minor program. Specialized in public relations and strategic communication, Dr. Chen’s research agenda centers on examining the factors and mechanisms that drive stakeholders’ attitudes and behaviors toward organizations in the digital environment.

Dr. Chen has produced over 30 publications in the forms of refereed journal articles, book chapters, and books. Her work has been published in leading refereed journals including Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, New Media and Society, and Journal of Product and Brand Management. She is co-author of the book Strategic Communication for Startups and Entrepreneurs in China (Routledge Taylor & Francis). Professionally, Chen previously worked at Ketchum, Fiserv, and provided pro bono consultancy for nonprofit organizations. She currently serves as conference director and advisory committee member for the International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC) and is on the editorial boards for Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, and Public Relations Journal.


  • Public relations
  • Strategic communication
  • Social media strategies

Research Areas

  • Corporate social responsibility and advocacy
  • Startup and entrepreneurial communication
  • Social media and digital communication
  • Prosocial communication


  • Program coordinator, Public Relations Minor
  • Founding faculty advisor, Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) University of San Francisco Chapter


  • University of Miami, PhD in Communication, 2017
  • University of Georgia, MA in Journalism and Mass Communication, 2013
  • Zhejiang University, BA in English with Honors Minor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 2011

Awards & Distinctions

  • Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Woman of the Year, 2022
  • International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC) Boston University Award for the Top Paper about Public Relations and the Social and Emerging Media, 2022
  • University of San Francisco Innovation in Teaching with Technology Award, 2020
  • International Communication Association (ICA) Conference Public Relations Division Top Faculty Paper Award, 2020
  • Public Relations Society of America Educators Academy Super Saturday Conference Top Faculty Research Paper Award, 2019

Selected Publications