Rebecca Cors

Evaluator and Researcher, Science and Nature Learning

Rebecca Cors is an evaluator and scientist at WCER who studies science and nature learning.  She is fascinated with how people learn and develop in ways that enable them to thrive.  Rebecca’s career began in environmental education and outreach at places like the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and a university in China, where she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  She went on to work as an academic editor and researcher at ETH Zurich and to do PhD research in Geneva, Switzerland about out-of-classroom science education. 

In 2017, she joined the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative, where she continues to support education programs through research and evaluation.  She has published and presented research about out-of-school learning, science and nature education, and about collaborations to promote natural resources management. 


Work with Rebecca to

  • Formulate (NSF or other) grant proposal text for evaluation of your program and estimate a budget
  • Evaluate your program, using approaches such as logic models, literature reviews, culturally relevant evaluation, stakeholder engagement, surveys, interviews, rubrics, and observations
  • Serve as an external evaluator on your federal grant
  • Conduct research: science and nature learning; out-of-classroom education; natural resources management
  • Develop and track measures for factors such as program particiipant interest, self-efficay, sense of wonder, career aspirations, skill and knowledge development, and their views on program usefulness, equity, inclusiveness, diversity. 
  • Co-design an education/ outreach plan for your research proposal (Broader Impacts) 
  • Co-develop an evaluation strategy that enables you to continuously improve your own program (technical assistance) 
  • Contact Rebecca by email


Rebecca's experience and ISE resources


Example research and evaluation projects

Research about education effectiveness and natural resources management

Evaluate university programs

Evaluate informal science learning programs

Write and advise on proposals (Contact Rebecca by email)

  • Broader Impacts
  • AISL and other NSF proposals

External evaluation on NSF grants

  • Aqualab promotes learning science through digital games
  • EMMET, NorthCentrral Technical College, Wausau, Wisconsin
  • Kansas State University NRT (NSF Research Trainee) program
  • UW-Madison Public Service Fellows Program

Equity, Diversity, Inclusiveness in Evaluation

  • Kansas State University NRT (NSF Research Trainee) program
  • UW-Madison MRSEC's Science at the Food Pantry program

Sharing project result


Learning Circles

-  Evaluation planning through logic modelling, Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative

-  Book club reading about anti-racism, Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative 

-  Culturally Responsive and Equtable Evaluation (CREE) community of practice, UW-Madison

-  Madison Meetup German Conversation Group


Research Papers, Conference Papers, Book Sections


Shamir, M., & Sanderson, M. R., & Cors, R., & Derby, M. (2021, July), How small, interdisciplinary programs are contributing to diversity and inclusiveness in STEM university departments in the US. Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.  

Tredinnick, R., Cors, R., Madsen, J., Gagnon, D., Bravo-Gallart, S., Sprecher, B., & Ponto, K.  2020.  Exploring the universe from Antarctica - an informal STEM polar research exhibit.  Journal of STEM Outreach, Volume 3.

Cors, R., Müller, A., Robin, N. (2018). Development of an instrument for measuring pupils’ familiarity with science education settings. Proceedings from the 2017 European Science Education Research Association Conference.  Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland.  August 21-25, 2017.

Niebert, K, Petchey, S., Cors, R., Brown, R. (2018).  K2P 1: Formative Assessment – How can I know more about what my students know?. In MOOC Teaching Science at University.

Cors, R., Müller, A., Robin, N., Kunz, P. (2017). Toward a more comprehensive framework for investigating novelty at out-of-school learning places for science and technology. Progress in Science Education. CERN Publishing, Geneva, Switzerland.  Available online:

Cors, R. (2016). Informal science learning: An investigation of how novelty and motivation affect interest development at a mobile laboratory (Dissertation, no.5019). University of Geneva. Available online

Cors, R., & Robin, N. (October 2016). Evaluating informal science education: Identifying and measuring meaningful indicators of program effectiveness for a mobile laboratory program. Journal of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences. (Special Issue: EAPRIL 2016).  Available online:

Cors, R., Müller, A., Robin, N. (2015). Advancing informal MINT learning: Preparation and novelty at a mobile laboratory. New Perspectives in Science Education, 53-58.

Cors, R., Matsubae, K., Street, A. (2013). P is for process and parity: How MFAs, transdisciplinarity, complex adaptive systems thinking and education reform are keys to better managing phosphorus.  K. A. Wyant, J. R. Corman, and J. Elser (Eds.), In: Phosphorus, Food, and Our Future. Oxford Press.

Ulrich, A.E. & Cors, R. (2011). Global TraPs: An international effort to promote sustainable use of phosphorus. In: Ecoregion Perspectives. Sustainable Agriculture in the Baltic Sea Region in times of peak phosphorus and global change. Baltic 21 Series No. 4/2011.26-28.

Cors, R. (2004). Improving U.S. State Agency Environmental Management through Organizational Learning, Action Research, and International Exchange. Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Land Resources. Program Thesis, University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Cors, R. (2003). What Is a Learning Organization? Reflections on the Literature and Practitioner Perspectives.  EPD 699: Organizational Learning for Environmental Management.  Engineering Professional Development Department, UW-Madison, Madison, WI.

Cors, R., Courter, S., Eagan, P. (2003). Promoting Environmental Protection Through Collaborative, Learning-Based Approaches. American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Proceedings.

Eagan, P., & Cors, R. (2003). An Organizational Change Strategy to Improve Environmental Protection. International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment in conjunction with the IEEE Electronics and Recycling. Summit Proceedings, Boston, MA.

Cors, R. & Eagan, P. (Winter 2003). Industry and Ecology, a Partnership that Works. Wisconsin Academy Review, Madison, Wisconsin.


Lectures and Training Workshops

"Evaluating Informal Science Education (ISE) Programs," a guest lecture for MEC 803 Course: Informal Science Education for Scientists and Engineers, UW-Madison.  September 18, 2020.

“Mobile Laboratory Think Tank: Interpreting results of a study about optimizing a mobile science education laboratory,” Mobile Laboratory Conference, Columbus, Ohio, July 12-15, 2016.

“Promoting pupil interest in science & technology: A study about novelty at a mobile laboratory,” 9th Swiss Forum for teaching science, PH Freiburg, Switzerland January 2016

“Engaging under-represented groups in Global TraPs,” a research effort about sustainable phosphorus use led by ETH Zurich and the International Fertilizer Development Center. Zurich, Switzerland. August 2011.

“Academic writing for non-native English speakers: sheer madness or a walk in the park?” A writing workshop for the Natural Social Science Interface group, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. March 2011.

„Warum schützen meine Nachbarn die Umwelt nicht?“ (Why don’t my neighbors live sustainably?), facilitated discussion about behavior change campaigns, Liechtenstein Verein Welt und Heimat, March 2010.

“Focus Group Research Methods,” Guest Lecturer, Sociology Department, Western Washington University Sociology Department, Bellingham, Washington, U.S.  Fall 2008, Winter 2009.

“Encouraging Pro-Environmental Behaviors and Lifestyles,” Society for Human Ecology International Conference Session Coordinator: Community Based Social Marketing, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, U.S. September 2008. 

“China and Global Population Issues,” Sociology Department, Western Washington University Sociology Department, Bellingham, Washington. Spring 2008.

“Peace Corps Service in China,” Fairhaven College, Bellingham, Washington, U.S. Fall 2007.

“The Great Turning,” Facilitated a public meeting discussion of this book by David Korten for the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, Green Sanctuary Program, Washington, U.S. Fall 2007.

“Effective Technical Presentations,” University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Engineering, Design and Analysis of Manufacturing Systems course. Spring 2003, Spring 2004.

“A Conversation about Organizational Learning,” University of Wisconsin-Madison. Fall 2003.

“Appreciative Inquiry: Building on Success Stories.” Facilitated an Appreciative Inquiry Session with Mary Buchel, for the American Society for Training and Development Exposition, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., 2003.


Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information
Phone: (608) 265-8788
Office: 551F Ed Sciences

Current Projects

Cors Fee For Services Projects