Dr. K.C. Busch (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of STEM Education at North Carolina State University, specializing in science learning and affiliated with the Leadership in Public Science interdisciplinary cluster. Her long-term career goal is to explore and advance educational experiences that empower individuals to engage in collective action to improve their lives and their communities.
Dr. Busch is a first-generation college graduate. She holds a Ph.D. in science education from Stanford University, an M.A. in science education from the University of Texas in Austin, and a B.S. in ecology from Iowa State University. She taught secondary school science for twelve years in Austin, TX. She also has two years of informal environmental education experience in Africa with the Peace Corps, in Nevada with the National Park Service, in Vermont, and in Iowa.
Drawing on research from the fields of science communication and environmental psychology, Dr. Busch has investigated the language used to teach about climate change in educational settings, and how that framing affects youth perception of the problem and their capacity for creating solutions. She is co-founder of the Climate Change Education Collective funded by The Spencer Foundation.
Her current research is investigating the role of social relationships in learning using social network analysis. Through an NSF-funded CAREER grant, Dr. Busch is reconceptualizing scientific literacy at the community level, exploring how scientific information is used in communities to make decisions about climate change adaptation. She is also working in partnership with nearly 35 informal science centers across the state to develop a Community of Practice that builds capacity to conduct collective evaluation. The IMPACT-NC project is funded through a grant from IMLS.
Gibson, L., Busch, K., Stevenson, K., Cutts, B., DeMattia, E., Aguilar, O., Ardoin, N., Carrier, S., Clark, C., Cooper, C., Feinstein, N., Goodwin, J., Peterson, M., Wheaton, M. (2022). What is community-level environmental literacy and how can we measure it? A report of a convening to conceptualize and operationalize CLEL. Environmental Education Research. Advance online publication.
Busch, K., Kudumu, M., Park, S. (2022). Pedagogical content knowledge for informal science educators: Development of the ISE-PCK framework. Research in Science Education. Advance online publication.
Busch, K., Ayala Chávez, R. (2022). Adolescent framings of climate change, psychological distancing & implications for climate change concern and behavior. Climatic Change, 171(3), 1-19
Busch, K., Osborne, J. (2022). Effective strategies for talking about climate change in the classroom. Association for Science Education (ASE) International Journal, 14, 15-24.
Gutierrez, K., Blanchard, M., Busch, K. (2022). What effective design strategies do rural, underrepresented students value in STEM clubs while learning about climate change? Environmental Education Research. Advance online publication.
Busch, K. (2021). Textbooks of doubt, tested: The effect of a denialist framing on adolescents’ certainty about climate change. Environmental Education Research, 27(11), 1574-1598.
Hartley, J., Stevenson, K., Peterson, M., Busch, K., Carrier, S., DeMattia, E., Jambeck, J., Lawson, D., Strnad, R. (2021). Intergenerational learning: A recommendation for engaging youth to address marine debris challenges. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 170, 112648.
Zummo, L., Donovan, B., Busch, K. (2021). Complex influences of mechanistic knowledge, worldview, and quantitative reasoning on climate change discourse: Evidence for ideologically motivated reasoning among youth. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 58(1), 95-127.
Busch, K., Ardoin, N., Gruehn, D., Stevenson, K. (2019). Exploring a theoretical model of climate change action for youth. International Journal of Science Education, 41(17), 2389-2409.
Donovan, B., Semmens, R., Keck, P., Brimhall, E., Busch, K., et al. (2019). Towards a more humane genetics education: Learning about the social and quantitative complexities of human genetic variation research could reduce racial bias in adolescent and adult populations. Science Education, 103(3), 529-560.
Borko, H., Osborne, J., Fishman, E., Zaccarelli, F., Berson, E., Busch, K., Reigh, E., Tseng, A. (2019). Impacts of a practice-based professional development program on elementary teacher facilitation of, and student engagement in, scientific argumentation. American Educational Research Journal, 56(4), 1067-1112.
Busch, K., Henderson, J., Stevenson, K. (2019). Broadening epistemologies and methodologies in climate change education research. Environmental Education Research, 25(6), 955-971.
Busch, K. (2017). Framing of climate change in U.S. science education. In M. Nisbet (Ed.), The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Change Science. Oxford University Press.
Busch, K. & Román, D. (2017). Fundamental climate literacy & the promise of the NGSS. In D. Shepardson, A. Roychoudhury, and A. Hirsch (Eds.), Teaching and Learning about Climate Change: A Framework for Educators. Routledge Press.
Busch, K. (2016). Speaking of climate change: Comparing science and social discourses. In E. Fretz (Ed.), Climate Change across the Curriculum. Lexington Books.
Román, D. & Busch, K. (2016). Textbooks of doubt: Using systemic functional analysis to explore the framing of climate change in middle-school science textbooks. Environmental Education Research, 22(8), 1158–1180.
Busch, K. (2016). Polar bears or people? Exploring ways in which teachers frame climate change in the classroom. International Journal of Science Education (B), 6(2), 137–165.
Busch, K. & Osborne, J. (2014). Effective strategies for talking about climate change in the classroom. School Science Review, 96(354), 25–32.
Busch, K. & Osborne, J. (2013). Can we get “there” from “here”?: An argument for improved climate science education through state adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. Texas Education Review, 1(1), 196–208.
Busch, K. (2013). Appropriate urban teaching philosophies – A book review of “Sketches in Democracy: Notes from an Urban Classroom.” Democracy & Education, 21(1), Article 10.
Dr. Busch has created two new courses and a certificate for informal science educators. The courses are Learning in Informal Contexts: Theory to Practice and Learning in Informal Contexts: Evaluation. The main focus of the coursework involves collaborative, community-engaged projects working with local partners who offer informal learning programs, such as: the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, NC Museum of History, Museum of Life & Science—Durham, NCSU Libraries, and the NC State Farmers Market.
Dr. Busch has taught:
- EMS 475: Methods of Teaching Science II
- EMS 505: Methods of Teaching Science I
- EMS 521: Advanced Methods of Science Education I
- EMS 531: Introduction to Research in Science Education
- EMS 551/594: Learning in Informal Contexts: Theory to Practice
- EMS 552/594: Learning in Informal Contexts: Evaluation
- EMS 731: Fundamentals of Research in Science Education
- EMS 775: Foundations of Science Education
- EMS 791: Contemporary Research and Critical Issues in STEM Education
- ED 730: Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods in Education
Doctor of Philosophy Science Education Stanford University 2016
Master of Arts Science Education University of Texas at Austin 2012
Bachelor of Science Ecology Iowa State University 1994
Area(s) of Expertise
Science education; Environmental education; Climate change education; Informal science education; Formal science education
Honors and Awards
- NC State Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award, Awarded, 2019–20
- NC State University Outstanding Teaching Award, Awarded, 2019–20
- NC State University Outstanding Global Engagement Award, Nominated, 2017–18, 2018–19