Karen Hutchins Bieluch

Research Interests:

  • Community-university research partnerships
  • Use of science and citizen science in decision-making
  • Undergraduate and graduate student training in sustainability and environmental sciences
  • Environmental communication and behavior
  • Place and community identity
  • Interdisciplinary team collaboration



I.PhD, Communication and Sustainability Science, University of Maine
MA, Communication, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
BA, Communication, University of Maine

As a social scientist, Karen Bieluch is interested in how people work together and what actions can improve those relationships. As such, a common theme in her current research is small group collaborations and the human interactions and contextual and organizational factors that influence those interactions. Her research focuses on identifying factors that influence inter- and transdisciplinary research partnerships and the strategies for and outcomes of undergraduate and graduate student education in sustainability and environmental sciences. In addition, she studies the use of science and citizen science in decision-making and community identity in relationship to place, with a focus on interpersonal and environmental communication. Her research attempts to strengthen our understanding of individual and collective behavior in various contexts to improve our ability to address societal issues. She is particularly interested in understanding and strengthening relationships between universities and the communities and individuals their work serves.

Selected Publications:

Bolger, D., Bieluch, K., Krivak-Tetley, F., Maggs-Kölling, G., & Tjitekulu, J. (2018). Designing a Real-World Course for Environmental Studies Students: Entering a Social-Ecological System. Sustainability, 10(7), 2546.

Bieluch, Karen H. “Leadership as Partnership.” Maine Policy Review 27.1 (2018) : 34 -35, https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/mpr/vol27/iss1/11.

Bieluch, K.H., Silka, L., & Lindenfeld, L.A. (Under Review). Stakeholder preferences for process and outcomes in community-university research partnerships: implications for research collaborations. Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement.

Bieluch, K.H., Willis, T.V., Smith, J., & Wilson, K.A. (2017). The complexities of counting fish: Engaging citizen scientists in fish monitoring. Maine Policy Review, 26(2), 9-18.

Bieluch, K.H., Bell, K.P., Teisl, M.F., Lindenfeld, L.A., Leahy, J. and Silka, L., (2017). Transdisciplinary research partnerships in sustainability science: an examination of stakeholder participation preferences. Sustainability Science, 12, 1-18. doi: 10.1007/s11625016-0360-x

Meyer, S. R., Levesque, V. R., Bieluch, K. H., Johnson, M. L., McGreavy, B., Dreyer, S., & Smith, H. (2015). Sustainability science graduate students as boundary spanners. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 1-10.

McGreavy, B., Lindenfeld, L., Bieluch, K. H., Silka, L., Leahy, J., & Zoellick, B. (2015). Communication and sustainability science teams as complex systems. Ecology and Society, 20(1), 2.

Hutchins, K., Enterline, C., & Pierce, J. (2014). River Herring Fisheries: Significant Industries. Maine Townsman: Maine Municipal Association.

McGreavy, B., Hutchins, K., Smith, H., Lindenfeld, L. & Silka, L. (2013). Addressing the complexities of boundary work in sustainability science through communication. Sustainability, 5(10), 4195-4221.

Gardner, S.K., Jansujwicz, J., Hutchins, K., Cline, B., & Levesque, V. (2014). Socialization to Interdisciplinarity: Faculty and Student Perspectives. Higher Education, 67, 255-271.

Silka, L., Glover, R., Hutchins, K., Lindenfeld, L.A., Blackstone, A., Elliot, C., Ladenheim, M., & Sullivan, C. (2013) Moving Beyond the Single Discipline: Building a Scholarship of Engagement that Permeates Higher Education. TAMARA: Journal for Critical Organizational Inquiry, 11(4), 41-52.

Hutchins, K., Lindenfeld, L.A., Bell, K.P., Leahy, J. & Silka, L. (2013). Strengthening Knowledge Co-Production Capacity: Examining Interest in Community-University Partnerships. Sustainability, 5(9), 3744-3770.

Hutchins, K. & Stormer, N. (2013). Articulating Identity in and through Maine’s North Woods. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, 7(1), 24-41.