COSAM » COSAM Faculty » Geosciences » Karen McNeal

Karen McNeal
Associate Professor

Research Areas: Geoscience Education, Geocognition, Global Change Education, Discipline Based Education Research, Climate Communication, Active Learning

Office: 2081 Beard Eaves Coliseum

2050 Beard Eaves Coliseum
Auburn, AL 36849

Phone: (334) 844-4806
Fax: (334) 844-4486



Ph.D., Geology, Texas A&M University
M.S., Oceanography, Texas A&M University
B.S., Marine Science, Eckerd College

Professional Employment

Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences, Auburn University
2016 - Present
Adjunct Professor, Department of Marine Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University
2016 - Present
Associate Professor, Department of Marine Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University
2013 - 2016
Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University
2012 - 2013
Assistant Professor, Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University
2007 - 2012
Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University

Research and Teaching Interests

I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Earth System Science, Global Change, Climate Change Literacy and Communication, and Discipline Based Education Research in the STEM Undergraduate Classroom.  Students in my group conduct research in the field of geoscience education/geocognition and typically use mixed methods research (e.g., qualitative and quantitative approaches) to investigate geoscience teaching and learning challenges in formal and informal settings. My work ties together the affective and cognitive domains of learning in the geoscience education/geocognition field. My group uses a suite of tools to investigate including psychomotor tools (e.g., eye-tracking, pupillometry, and skin biosensors), psychometric tools (e.g., concept inventories), and open-ended approaches (e.g., interviews, concept-maps, etc.) to measure people's engagement, conceptual understanding, and perceptions about the Earth.

Selected Publications

  1. Libarkin, J.L., Gold., A.E., Harris., S., McNeal, K.S., Bowles, R. 2018. A new, valid measure of climate change understanding: Associations with risk perception Climatic Change, accepted.
  2. Aksit, O., McNeal, K.S., Libarkin, J.L., Gold, A.U., Harris, S. 2017. The influence of instruction, prior knowledge, and values on climate change risk perception among undergraduates. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. DOI10.1002/tea.21430
  3. Sherman-Morris, K., Clary, R. McNeal, K.S., Ramirez, J., and Brown, M. 2017. An Earth Hazards Camp to Encourage Minority Participation in the Geosciences.  Journal of Geoscience Education, 65, 12–22.
  4. Mitra, R., McNeal, K.S., Bondell, H. 2016. Task evolved pupillary response with compound interdependent tasks: a cognitive load theory perspective. Behavior Research Methods, DOI 10.3758/s13428-016-0833-y.
  5. McNeal, K.S., Spry, J., Mitra, R., Tipton, J. 2014. Measuring Student Engagement, Knowledge, and Perceptions of Climate Change in an Introductory Geology Course. Journal of Geoscience Education, 62: 655-667.

Last updated: 08/20/2018