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Colby J Silvert

Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist

Plant Science & Landscape Architecture 2133 Plant Sciences Building 4291 Fieldhouse Drive College Park, MD 20742-4452


  • Extension education
  • Evaluation and program planning
  • Planned change approaches
  • International agricultural development
  • Adult learning theory
  • Specialty crop and small-scale farming systems
  • Natural resource conservation




Colby Silvert is an Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. His applied research and extension program examines how evaluation and planned change approaches can contribute to improving agrifood systems, conserving natural resources, and positively shifting social dynamics. Dr. Silvert partners with extension and agricultural educators, farmers, value chain actors, community leaders, and research institutes in Maryland and throughout the world to tackle issues that include building capacities in evaluation and program planning, commercialization of specialty crop and smallholder farming systems, inclusive and gender transformative change approaches, and urban and residential landscape conservation. 

He brings a broad background in both technical and social sciences to the University of Maryland with a BS in Horticulture and MS and PhD degrees in Extension Education. Dr. Silvert was a Fulbright research scholar in Brazil where he examined family coffee farmers' access to fair trade certified markets. He was also based in Sierra Leone for two years as the Extension Coordinator for multimillion-dollar USAID-funded aquaculture projects, which included economic, gender, and nutrition strategy development. He has worked with the private sector in winegrape, coffee, and small-scale fruit and vegetable production. As a "methodologist," Dr. Silvert has designed evaluations and training resources for extension and research projects on adoption of smart irrigation, urban pollinator conservation, Diffusion of Innovations, and framing and testing of extension messages. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese and is enthusiastic about engaging with extension clientele and partners of diverse backgrounds.

Visit Dr. Silvert's Google Scholar and Research Gate profiles to learn more about his work and read his papers.

  • Doctor of Philosophy (2023): Agricultural Education and Communication, University of Florida; specialization in Extension Education. Dissertation: Towards Gender Transformative Change in Commercializing Smallholder Farming Systems

  • Master of Science (2020): Agricultural Education and Communication, University of Florida; specialization in Extension Education. Thesis: Building Self-Reliance: An Evaluation Framework for Smallholder Farmers’ Transition to Commercialization

  • Bachelor of Science (2014): Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; concentration in Horticultural Specialty Crops Production 

Awards and Honors
  • 2023 American Society for Horticultural Science Extension Division Outstanding Education Materials Award – primarily visual category

  • 2022 - 2023 Graduate Research Fellowship: CGIAR International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

  • Outstanding JIAEE Article Second Runner-up: Silvert, C. J., Ochieng, W., Perez, J. O., Asanzi, A. (2022). Dissecting the roles of social capital in farmer-to-farmer extension: A review. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education

  • 2018 University of Illinois College of ACES Paul A. Funk Team Award for Excellence (USAID-funded INGENAES Team)

  • 2017 Certificate recognition by USAID (Sierra Leone Country Director) for implementing partners training “Monitoring and Evaluation: Collaborating, Learning and Adapting”

  • 2015 Fulbright Research Grant: Nine month funded scholarship for project affiliated with the Federal University of Viçosa in Brazil

Professional Work

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Current Research: 




Selected Publications: