Donna Kain

Associate Professor
Bate 2110


Donna Kain, Associate Professor, joined the ECU faculty in the fall of 2004. She teaches courses in rhetoric, technical communication, writing for business and industry, discourse analysis, visual discourse, theory and practice of new media, risk communication, editing, and project management. Her research focuses on risk communication and natural hazards including severe weather, climate change, and sea level rise; information technology applications for the classroom; and the uses of genres in professional settings. Dr. Kain is also Assistant Director of the Center for Natural Hazards. Related positions have included editor of Technical Communication Quarterly, the journal of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (2013-2018); Director of Outreach and Communication for the ECU Renci Engagement Center; senior staff analyst for Compuware Corporation, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and technical writer/editor for Engineering Animation Inc., Ames, Iowa. Dr. Kain served as Secretary and then Vice Chair of the faculty from 2015 to 2018.


  • B.A. University of Central Florida
  • M.A. Northeast Missouri State University
  • Ph.D. Iowa State University

Research Interests

  • Rhetoric and Public Policy
  • New Media
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Mixed-Methods Research
  • Communicating Complex Data
  • Organizational Communication
  • Genre and Activity

Courses Taught

  • ENGL 8780: Seminar in Professional Communication
  • ENGL 7766: Seminar: Theory and Practice of New Media
  • ENGL 7721: Editing and Management
  • ENGL 7605: Discourse Analysis
  • ENGL 6721: Copyediting for Professional Communicators
  • ENGL 4885: Digital Writing
  • WOST 4200/6100: Feminist Theory
  • ENGL 3880: Writing for Business & Industry
  • ENGL 3870: Introduction to Editing and Abstracting

Selected Publications and Presentations

  • Kain, D. J. (2017). Communicating Values, Benefits, and Impacts. GEOValue: From data to decisions. In J. Kruse, J., Crompvoets, & F. Pearlman (Eds.), GEOValue: The Socioeconomic Value of Geospatial Information. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis. (Forthcoming)
  • Kain, D. J. (2016). Approaching Genre through Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). Presentation. The Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing (CASDW), Calgary, Canada. May 30.
  • Kain, D. J. (2016). Communicating the results of socio-economic assessments. Presentation. Data to decisions: Valuing the social benefits of geospatial information. Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques, OCDE, Paris, France. March 9-11.
  • Kain, D. J. & Wardle, E. (2016). Activity Theory: An Introduction for the Writing Classroom. In D. Downs & E. Wardle (Eds.), Writing about Writing: A College Reader, Third Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Covi, Michelle, Donna Kain. (2015). Sea-Level Rise Risk Communication: Public Understanding, Risk Perception and Attitudes about Information. Environmental Communication.
  • Kain, Donna J and Michelle Covi. (2013). Visualizing Complexity and Uncertainty about Climate Change and Sea Level Rise. Communication Design Quarterly. 1.3: 46-35.
  • Kain, Donna J., Catherine F. Smith, and Menno T. De Jong. (2010). Information Usability Testing as Audience and Context Analysis for Risk Communication. In Usability of Complex Information Systems: Evaluation of User Interaction. Eds. Michael Albers and Brian Still. New York: CRC Press (Taylor and Francis).
  • Smith, Catherine F., Donna J. Kain. (2010). Making Sense of Hurricanes: Public Discourse and Perceived Risk of Extreme Weather. Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines 4.2: 180-196.