Linda Silka

Research Interests

  • Community-University Partnerships
  • Research Ethics in Community Research
  • Program Evaluation
  • Translating Knowledge into Action
  • Community Environmental Issues
  • Citizen Science
  • Community-Based Participatory Research

Research Projects



  • University of Kansas, Ph.D. (Social Psychology)
  • University of Kansas, M.A. (Psychology)
  • Oklahoma State University, B.S. (Psychology)

Media Expertise

  • How universities can work to build partnerships with communities
  • How research can help Maine solve important problems
  • What we gain as a state by having strong research programs
  • How environmental challenges affect us all and how we can make a difference in solving them
  • Citizen Science: How people can contribute to research


Dr. Linda Silka is a social and community psychologist by training, with much of her work focusing on building community-university research partnerships. She has several decades of experience in leading community-university research partnerships on environmental, economic development, and environmental health issues. Dr. Silka was the former Director of the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and is now Senior Fellow at the University of Maine’s George Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. Prior to moving to the University of Maine, Dr. Silka was a faculty member for three decades at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where she directed the Center for Family, Work, Community, served as the Special Assistant to the Provost for Community Outreach and Partnerships, and was Professor of Regional Economic and Social Development. Recent research partnerships she has facilitated include the NIEHS-funded Southeast Asian Environmental Justice Partnership and the New Ventures Partnership, the HUD-funded Community Outreach Partnership Center and Diverse Healthy Homes Initiative, and the Center for Immigrant and Refugee Community Leadership and Empowerment. Silka has written extensively on the challenges and opportunities of building research partnerships with diverse and has consulted internationally on how to build community-university research partnerships.

Silka is also a member of SSI’s Knowledge-to-Action (K↔A) Collaborative, a group that is studying how to better align university research with community needs. The K↔A Collaborative is investigating ways to overcome the barriers between knowledge and action and build partnerships between Maine’s academic institutions and diverse stakeholders in order to better solve sustainability challenges throughout the state.

In addition to her teaching and research duties, Silka is a Member and Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. She has previously served as the Director of the Center for Family, Work, and Community at the University of Massachusetts. Silka has been published in multiple peer-reviewed publications including the Journal of the New England Board of Higher Education, Australasian Journal of Community Engagement, and Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement.

Silka’s research has been funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Housing and Urban Development, National Science Foundation, National Park Service, and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Selected Publications

Reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

Silka, L. (2014). Maine’s Innovation Prospects: What the Research Can Tell Us. Maine Policy Review, 23(1) 11-21.

Silka, L. (2014). “Silos” in the Democratization of Science. Journal of Deliberative Mechanisms in Science, 2(1), 1-14.

Silka, L. (2014). Becoming Part of the Solution: Engaged Research on Sustainability. In P. Inman & D. Robinson (Eds.), University Engagement and Environmental Sustainability (pp. 110-123). Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.

Silka, L., Teisl, M., & Settelle, J. (2014). Place-Based Approaches to Engagement: Can Universities Be Local and Global? In W. Jacob, S. E. Sutin, J. C. Weidman, & J. L. Yeager (Eds.), Community Engagement in Higher Education: Policy Reforms and Practice. Pittsburgh Studies in Comparative Education Book Series.

Lyon, P., Leahy, J., Lindenfeld, L., Silka, L. (2014). Knowledge to Action: Investigating Implicit Knowledge Production Models Held Among Forest Resource Researchers. Society and Natural Resources, 27(5), 459-474.

McGreavy, B., Silka, L., & Lindenfeld, L. (2014). Interdisciplinarity and Actionable Science: Bringing Together Insights from Sustainability and Community Practice for Improved Boundary Spanning. Journal of Community Practice. 22(1), 189-209.

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

Glover, R., & Silka, L. (2013). Choice, Power, and Perspective. Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement, 6, 38-56.

Hutchins, L, Lindenfeld, L. A., Bell, K. P., Leahy, J. & Silka, L. (2013). Strengthening Knowledge Co-Production Capacity: Predicting Interest in Community-University Partnerships. Sustainability, 5(10), 5744-5770.

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.

Peterman, J., Bermudez, O. I., Parke, W., & Silka, L. (2013). Food Insecurity Among Cambodian Women Two Decades Post-Resettlement. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 15(2), 372-380.

Silka, L., McGreavy, B., Cline, B., & Lindenfeld, L. (Eds.). (2012, Winter/Spring). Sustainability: Special Issue. Maine Policy Review, 21(1), 4-143.

Hall, D. M., Silka, L., & Lindenfeld, L. (2012, Winter/Spring). Advancing Science and Improving Quality of Place: Linking Knowledge with Action in Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative. Maine Policy Review, 21(1), 22-29.

Lindenfeld, L., Hall, D. M., McGreavy, B., Silka, L. & Hart, D. (2012). Creating a Place for Communication Research in Sustainability Science. Environmental Communication: Journal of Nature and Culture, 23-42.

Silka, L., & Toof, R. (Co-Eds.). (2011). International Perspectives on Community-University Partnerships. Metropolitan Universities Journal : An International Forum, 22(2), Full Issue (pp. 3-162)

Silka, L. (2009). Roles of Higher Education in Driving Economic Development: What Can We Learn from Australian Models of the Engaged University? Journal of the New England Board of Higher Education.

Reece, S. M., Silka, L., Langa, B., Renault-Caragianes, P., & Penn, S. (2009). Explanatory Models of Asthma in the Southeast Asian Community. The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 34(3), 184-209.

Martin, F., Greher, G., Heines, J., Kim, H.J., Kuhn, S., Roehr, K., Selleck, N., Silka, L., & Yanco, H. (2009). Joining computing and the arts at a mid-sized university. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 24(6), 87-94.

Silka, L. (2008). Translational Research and Community Engagement: Emerging Opportunities. The Australasian Journal of Community Engagement, 2 (2), 29-34.

Silka, L. (2008). Partnerships Ethics. In P. Ginsberg and D. Mertens (Eds.), Handbook of Social Science Research Ethics (pp. 337-352). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Silka, L., Forrant, R., Bond, B., Coffey, Toof, R., Toomey, D., Turcotte, D., & West, C. (2008). Achieving Continuity in the Face of Change in Community-University Partnerships. Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement, Vol 1 (Inaugural Issue).

Silka, L., Toof, R., Turcotte, D., Villareal, J., Buxbaum, L., & Renault-Caragianes, P. (2008). Community-University Partnerships: Achieving the Promise in the Face of Changing Goals, Changing Funding Patterns, and Competing Priorities. New Solutions, 18(2), 161-175.

Silka, L., Cleghorn, G. D., Grullon, M., & Tellez, T. (2008). Creating Community-Based Participatory Research in a Diverse Community: A Case Study. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 3(2), 5-16.

Books and Monographs:

Geigis, P., Hamin, E., & Silka, L. (Co-Eds.). (2007). Preserving and Enhancing Communities: A Guide for Citizens, Planners and Policymakers. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.

Forrant, R. & Silka, L. (Eds.). (2006). Inside and Out: Universities and Education for Sustainable Development. Amityville, NY: Baywood Press.

Silka, L. (Ed.). (2006). Scholarship in Action: Applied Research and Community Change. Washington DC: U.S. Housing and Urban Development.