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Faculty & Staff

Kelly Norris Martin

Assistant Professor
3200 Eastman Hall
B.A. in English and Music, John Carroll University, M.S. in Communication, North Carolina State University, Ph.D. in Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media, North Carolina State University

Professor Martin earned her Ph.D. in Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media at North Carolina State University where she developed a schema that graphically maps hierarchical relationships of visual research methods. Her current research focuses on intersections of visual communication and design and advocates for discipline-specific visual communication instruction in higher education. She and Ben Zwickl from RIT's School of Physics were recently awarded an ECR grant from the NSF to examine the transfer of math, physics and communication skills of recent college graduates in the photonics workforce. In addition to her work in visual research methods and visual communication instruction, she has collaborated to develop a theory of visual wellbeing as an alternative to visual pleasure as well as a theory of digital credibility with a focus on public relations blogs and hospital websites.


Assistant professor, 2011-


Visual Communication, Digital Design in Communication, Critical Practice in Social Media, Campaign Management and Planning, Copywriting and Visualization


Photonics and Optics Workforce Education Research (POWER)

Visual Communication course illustration site

Current projects

Martin, K. N., & Gaffney, A. L. H. (Accepted, 2016). Telling and showing: The intersection of visual communication content knowledge and pedagogical strategies in STEM. Visual Communication Quarterly.

Martin, K. N. & Worrell, T.  (Accepted for NCA 2016, best paper panel). Do we see what we see: An examination of visual proficiency. -- We argue that to some extent design theories can and should be investigated empirically. Therefore, we propose testing some of the most basic principles of graphic design: contrast, alignment, repetition and proximity. In addition, there is very little quantifiable research examining how individuals may perceive design content and the impacts of these basic design principles.

Mandell, H., & Martin, K. N. (Accepted, 2016). Honor in the face of shame: The semiotics of the American flag at political-sex-scandal press conferences.

Martin, K. N. (Accepted). Artifact analysis. International Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods.

Martin, K. N. (Accepted).
Qualitative Research Question. International Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods.


Murdoch-Kitt, K. M., Emans, D., Martin, K. N. (2015). Sustainability at the forefront: Educating students through complex challenges in design and communication” Interdisciplinary Environmental Review. 16, Nos. 2/3/4, 285-315.

Zwickl, B. M., Olivera, J., Martin, K. N. and Winans, K., (2015). Preparing students for physics-intensive careers in optics and photonics. Proceedings of the 2015 Physics Education Research Conference, College Park, MD.

Martin, K. N., & Mandell, H. (2014). Iconic Scandal: Faces of Shame and the Face that Launched a Million Opinions. Visual Communication Quarterly. 21(4).

Martin, K. N., Schroeder, J. E. (2014). When Images Cause Trouble. Visual Communication Quarterly, 21(4), 184-185.

Johnson, M. A., & Martin, K. N. (2014). When Navigation Trumps Visual Dynamism: Hospital Website Usability and Credibility. The Journal of Promotion Management. 20(5), 666-687.

Martin, K. N. (2014). Navigating the Scattered and Fragmented: Visual Rhetoric, Visual Studies and Visual Communication (pp. 188-201). In E. Bell, S. Warren, & J. Schroeder, (Eds.), Routledge Companion to Visual Organization.

Martin, K. N. (2013). A Mixed Methods Approach for Analyzing the Imagery of a Novel Science. Visual Methodologies, 2(1).

Martin, K. N., & Gallagher, V. J. (2013). You Make it Amazing: The Rhetoric of Art and Urban Regeneration in the Case of The Public. Journal of Visual Literacy, 32(1).

Martin, K. N. & Murdoch-Kitt, K. M. (2013). A Visual World Demands Design Sense: Advocating for Visual Communication Across the Curriculum. The International Journal of Design Education.

Cos, G., & Martin, K. N. (2013). The Rhetoric of the Hanging Chair: Presence, Absence and Visual Argument in the 2012 Presidential Campaign. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(12) 1688–1703.

Gallagher, V. J., Zagacki, K. & Martin, K. N. (2013). Communicative Spaces and Rhetorical Enactments: How and Why Urban Parks Enhance (or Fail to Enhance) Civic Life. In G. Gumpert, S. Drucker, & M. Mattsaganis (Eds.), The Urban Communication Reader. New York, NY: Hampton Press.

Martin, K. N. (2012 - online). An Introduction to Visual Rhetoric. In E. Bell, S. Warren, & J. Schroeder, (Eds.), Inspire. An Online Companion to the Routledge text.

Gallagher, V. J., Zagacki, K. & Martin, K. N. (2012). Materiality and Urban Communication: The Rhetoric of Communicative Spaces. In J. Packer and S. Wiley (Eds.) Communication Matters: Materialist Approaches to Media, Mobility, and Networks, Routledge.

Gallagher, V. J., Martin, K. N., Ma, M. (2011). Visual Wellbeing: Intersections of Rhetorical Theory and Visual Design, Design Issues. 27 (2), 25-39.

Martin, K. N. & Johnson, M. (2010). Digital Credibility and Digital Dynamism in Public Relations Blogs. Visual Communication Quarterly, 17(3), 162-174.

Dannels, D.P., Gaffney, A. A. & Martin, K. N. (2010). Students’ Talk about the Climate of Feedback Interventions in the Critique, Communication Education, 59 (4), 453-472.

Berube, D.M., and Faber, B., Scheufele, D.A., with Cummings,
C.L., Gardner, G.E., Martin, K.N.,
 & Temple, N.M.
 (February, 2010) White Paper: Communicating Risk in the 21st Century.
 Sponsored by NSF NIRT #0809470 – Applied Nanoscience: Public Perception of Risk
 and the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office.

Dannels, D.P., Gaffney, A. H. & Martin, K.N. (2008). Beyond Content, Deeper than Delivery: What Critique Feedback Reflects about Communication Expectations in Design Education. International Journal of SoTL, 2(2).

Dannels, D.P. & Martin, K. N. (2008). Critiquing Critiques: A Genre Analysis of Feedback Across Novice to Expert Design Studios. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 22, 135-159.