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Ben Silliman


Extension Specialist


512 Brickhaven Drive 230E


Area(s) of Expertise

  • Youth Development, esp. development of life skills
  • Youth Program Quality, esp. “active ingredients” of effective programs
  • Program Evaluation and Organizational Learning

Ben worked with junior and senior high youth while in college at Colorado State University (B.A., English, 1975) and Princeton Seminary (M.Div., 1978), and after graduation. Growing interest in human development led to work in student services at Kansas State University, where he earned an M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction (1981) and a Ph.D. in Human Ecology (1987), and met his wife, Betty. After six years teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in Human Development and Family Life at Louisiana Tech University and collaborating with local Extension professionals on youth programs, he became Extension Family Life Specialist at the University of Wyoming, contributing to the Extension Children, Youth, and Families at Risk initiative and leading the WY CYFAR initiative. In 2001 he became NC Extension Youth Development Specialist where he has contributed to afterschool, informal science, youth-at-risk, and program evaluation efforts. Ben has two children and five grandchildren. He enjoys gardening, outdoor activities, and reading across diverse disciplines.

Programs and Initiatives

Program Evaluation and Evaluation Capacity Building

Selected Publications

  • Silliman, B. (2014). E-Basics online training in program evaluation for youth professionals. Funded by National 4-H Council via Noyce Foundation.
  • Silliman, B. & Schumm, W.R. (2013). Youth program quality survey: Youth assessment of program quality. Marriage and Family Review, 49, 647-670.
  • Silliman, B. & Guin, A. (2012). Tracking evaluation capacity building for youth professionals. Journal of Youth Development, 7(1). Article 120701FA002.
  • Silliman, B. & Shutt, G. (2010). Weaving evaluation into the fabric of youth development. Journal of Youth Development, 5(3). Article 100503FA003
  • Silliman, B. (2009). Youth views of experiences and benefits of public speaking. Journal of Youth Development, 4(2). Article 090402PA001

View More Publications


Ph.D., Human Ecology, Kansas State University (1987)
M.S., Curriculum and Instruction, Kansas State University (1981)
B.A., English, Colorado State University (1975)