Dr. Cindy Juntunen, Dean, College of Education & Human Development/Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor, Department of Counseling Psychology and Community Services, University of North Dakota
Research Description: Dr. Juntunen’s research in Center for Regional Climate Studies (CRCS) consists of two parts.
First, she is the lead researcher on the human factors component, examining how agricultural producers make decisions about land use. In the first phase of that research, we conducted a series of interviews and focus groups in order to identify the clusters of factors that emerged as salient for North Dakota farmers and ranchers. From this initial study, three major themes relevant to the goals of the CRCS emerged: Stewardship, Ambivalence about Climate Pattern Change, and Market/Economic Factors.
Based on that first phase of research, we are contacting farmers and ranchers across the state to assess the impact of environmental beliefs and stewardship beliefs on land use decision-making. This data collection, using a combination of large-scale surveys and individual interviews, will continue throughout the award period.
In the second research component, Dr. Juntunen works with Dr. Ashley Hutchison to assess the impact of educational interventions, derived from both the CRCS and Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS) research clusters, on self-efficacy and interest in STEM topics among elementary, middle, and high school students in the state. In this effort, we are partnering with the NATURE program to evaluate the impact of Sunday Academy trainings. In addition, we have created partnership with a variety of rural schools in the state to assess the impact of 5th and 8th grade activities.