Public Science Courses, Spring 2021

Learning in Informal Contexts

EMS 594-001
Wed 4:30-7:15 pm
K.C. Busch (

Many people associate learning with school; however, the average American spends less than 5% of their lifetime in school. In contrast, the landscape of informal learning opportunities is expansive, including museums, zoos and aquaria, special-interest clubs, and everyday contexts. In addition, media sources such as television and online social media offer interesting contexts for consideration.

In this special topics course, we will examine how theory is translated to practice to support learning in informal contexts. The main focus of the coursework will involve collaborative projects working with community partners who offer informal learning programs. Examples of possible community partners are the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, NC Museum of Art, NC Museum of History, NC Farmer’s Market, and NCSU Libraries.

Who should take this course? EVERYONE!  No experience in education is needed! Undergraduate and graduate students in any college are welcome. Not enrolled at NCSU? You can take the course as a non-degree seeking students.

This course is offered as an in-person, online hybrid. You can sign up for it as a distance course (if you are off-campus) or in-person (if you are on-campus).

Decolonizing Science

NR 595-001
Madhusudan Katti (
Science occupies a high pedestal as our primary source of knowledge, despite rising science denialism. Yet Science remains rooted in Western European traditions aligned with a history of colonial appropriation of land and resources, and erasure of indigenous peoples and knowledge systems. This seminar course, led by an ecologist, will examine the colonial underpinnings of Science and the consequences of how it is practiced and taught, both for our understanding of the universe, and for the wellbeing of people struggling under the continuing legacies of colonial histories that have shaped our profoundly unjust and unequal world.

Environmental Communication

COM 536/COM 798-007
Wednesday 6:00 to 8:45 (online synchronous)
Bill Kinsella (
Open to masters and doctoral students across all disciplines. Grounded in a broad range of readings emphasizing environmental rhetoric and discourse; forms of environmental critique; public particpation,activism and environmental justice; risk, precaution, regulation and envitronmental governance, and more. Opportunities to pursue specific topics and cases studies working both individually and collaboratively.

Creative Media Production for Scientists

BIO 592-072
Mon 3-3:50 pm, Wed 3-4:50 pm
Adrian Smith (
This course is a practical introduction to science communication through online digital media, with a heavy focus on video. Students will survey and discuss research-based best practices for online science media and will produce their own media pieces. Graduate students from all scientific disciplines as well as research-active upper-level undergraduates are welcome to register. No previous video production experience is necessary. Email Dr. Adrian Smith for details & instructor permission to register.

Theory and Practice of Partnerships for Conservation and Community Sustainability

PRT 560
Wednesdays 1:30-4:15pm
Erin Seekamp (
This 3-credit graduate seminar course is intended to expose graduate students interested in conservation and community sustainability to collaborative processes and the role of partnerships in public agencies and private organizations. s a class, we will explore how collections of individuals and organizations influence the management of socio-ecological systems through negotiation and consensus-based processes to solve complex problems that span organizational and sector boundaries. This course is designed to provide students with theoretical knowledge and practical tools to build collaborative capacity and enhance partnership success. Course readings will expose students to collaboration and partnerships in the following contexts: sustainable tourism development; community health and recreation planning; community-based conservation; and, public land planning and management.

Adult Education in Agriculture

AEE 523
Joseph Donaldson (
This course is designed to meet the needs of adult education leaders in the food, agricultural, natural resources, and human sciences. It provides an opportunity to study some of the basic problems and values in working with adult groups and features practices and problems in Agricultural and Extension Education programs and methods of teaching adults. The course learning outcomes include: (a) describing the development of adult education in Agricultural and Extension Education; (b) synthesizing the major theories that have shaped adult education; and (c) recognizing the diverse audiences and providers of adult education for the food, agricultural, natural resources, and human sciences.

Applied Science Communication

AEC 495/592
Wednesdays, 12:50-2:40PM
Michelle Jewel ( and Catherine LePrevost (
It’s a 2 credit class, with the option for students to upgrade to 3 credits and work on projects with a researcher/team/lab within the Department of Applied Ecology. The class will be taught online, synchronous. More info here:

Science Communication & Public Engagement

COM 289
Andrew Binder (
Communicating complex science is hard enough. It gets even harder when you throw in controversial issues, distrustful audiences, and new media. In this course you’ll learn how to understand and adapt to audiences effectively, how to take appropriate roles in public debates, how to make good use of different media, and how to involve the public in scientific research. Whether you’re a future scientist, engineer, natural resource manager, communication professional or just ordinary citizen, you’ll take away a better understanding of how everyone can work together to make good decisions informed by sound science. Note: this course is the required entry course for the new undergraduate minor in Science Communication.