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 was a member of SSI’s Knowledge-to-Action (K↔A) Collaborative, a group that studied how to better align university research with community needs. The K↔A Collaborative investigated 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. 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

Button, Charlies E.; Ghezzi, Sara E.; Godfrey, Phoebe; Huminski, Suzanne E.; Minor, Jesse; Silka, Linda. “Transforming Barriers into Opportunities: Teaching Environment and Sustainability Service-Learning Courses During the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic” Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. In Review.

Donnelly, Elaine; Silka, Linda; Toof, Robin. “Community Based Participatory Research during the COVID19 Crisis: Lessons for Partnership Resiliency” Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. Accepted with revisions.

Motzer, Nicole, Aleta R. Weller, K Curran, Simon Donner, Ronald J. Heustis, Cathy Jordan, Margaret Krebs, Lydia Olandar, Kirsten Rowell, Linda Silka, Diana H. Wall, and Abigail York. 2021. “Integrating Programmatic Expertise from across the US and Canada to Model and Guide Leadership Training for Graduate Students in Sustainability” Sustainability 13, no. 16: 8950.

Bieluch, Karen Hutchins; Silka, Linda; and Lindenfeld, Laura A. (2021) “Stakeholder Preferences for Process and Outcomes in Community-University Research Partnerships: Implications for Research Collaborations,” Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship: Vol. 13 : Iss. 2 , Article 19.
Available at:

Hart, D. D., & Silka, L. (2020). Rebuilding the Ivory Tower: A Bottom-Up Experiment in Aligning Research with Societal Needs. Issues in Science and Technology, 79-85.

Saber, D. & Silka, L. (2020). Food Waste as a Classic Problem that Calls for Interdisciplinary Solutions: A Case Study Illustration. Journal of Social Issues, 76(1), 114-122.

Bieluch, K. H., McGreavy, B., Silka, L., Strong, A., & Hart, D. D. (2019). Rethinking Graduate Student Training for Sustainability: Focusing on Collaboration, Empowerment, and Competencies. In K. L. Kremers, A. S. Liepins, and A. M. York (Eds). Developing Change Agents: Innovative Practices for Sustainability Leadership. Minnesota Libraries Publishing.

Silka, L. (2019). Maine Policy Review and the Culture of Engagement, 28(2).

Silka, L. (2019). Maine’s Recurring Issues. Maine Policy Review, 28(1).

Silka, L., McGreavy, B., & Hart, D. (2019). Health, the Environment, and Sustainability: Emergent Communication Lessons across Highly Diverse Public Participation Activities. Lead Chapter in S. Depoe, G. Walker, and K. Hunt (Eds.), Communication and Public Participation in Environmental Decision Making.

Silka, L. (2018) Reflections: MPR and the World: Connections, Conversations, and Outreach. Maine Policy Review, 27(2), 10.

Silka, L. (2018). Adding a Community Focus to the Psychological Investigation of Immigration Issues and Policies. Journal of Social Issues.

Chapman, D. A., Trott, C. D., Silka, L., Lickel, B., & Clayton, S. (2018). Psychological Perspectives on Community Resilience and Climate Change: Insights, Examples, and Directions for Future Research. In S. Clayton & C. Manning (Eds.), Psychology and Climate Change. London: Academic Press.

Silka, L. (2017) Reflections: Cutting-Edge Citizen Science in the Desert and at a Museum. Maine Policy Review, 26 (2). 89 -90.

Silka, L. (2017). Citizen Science Book Resources. Maine Policy Review, 26 (2), 96-98.

Douglas, E. Jacobs, J. Hayhoe, K., Silka, L., et al. (2017). Progress and Challenges in Incorporating Climate Change Information into Transportation Research and Design. Special Issue of Infrastructure Resilience to Climate Change, ASCE Journal of Infrastructure Systems 23 (4).

Silka, L. (2016). Service Learning in the Geosciences: Opportunities for Innovation.  Commissioned article National Academies of Science.

Fefer, J. P., De-Urioste Stone, S., Daigle, J., & Silka, L. (2016). Using the Delphi Technique to Identify Key Elements for Effective and Sustainable Visitor Use Planning Frameworks. Sage Open 6(2).

Amar, F. G., Haggerty, M., Ladenheim, M., Silka, L., Welcomer, S., & Jemison, J. (2016). Leveraging the Research Capacity of the Doctoral University for Honors Education: The “Research Collaboration” Model, Honors in Higher Education, 1, 1-25.

Bieluch, K. H., Bell, K. P., Teisl, M. F., Lindenfeld, L. A., Leahy, J. & Silka, L. (2016). Transdisciplinary Research Partnerships in Sustainability Science: An Examination of Stakeholder Participation Preferences. Sustainability Science, 1-18.

Hart, D. D., Buizer, J. L., Foley, J. A., Gilbert, L. E., Graumlich, L. J., Kapuscinski, A. R., Kramer, J. G., Palmer, M. A., Peart, D. R., & Silka, L. (2016). Mobilizing the Power of Higher Education to Tackle the Grand Challenge of Sustainability: Lessons from Novel Initiatives. Elementa, 4, 1-5.

Isenhour, C., Blackmer, T., Wagner, T., Silka, L., Peckenham, J., Hart, D., & MacRae, J. (2016). Moving Up the Waste Hierarchy in Maine: Learning from “Best Practices” State Level Policy for Waste Reductions and Recovery, Maine Policy Review, 25(1), 15-29.

Smith, H.M., Smith, J. W., Silka, L., Lindenfeld, L., & Gilbert, C. (2016). Media and Policy in a Complex Adaptive System: Insights from Wind Energy Legislation in the United States. Energy Research & Social Science, 19, 53-60.