Matthew CalvertProfessor of Civil Society & Community Studieshe/him/his

My research focuses on the intersection of youth and community development and my Extension practice strengthens community approaches to engage young people in systems change. I focus on understanding and demonstrating practical programming practices that build knowledge, and youth-adult relationships that can be leveraged into innovative practices and benefit communities over time by strengthening the diversity of social networks. I partner with community and youth development practitioners in program efforts that generate opportunities for research and learning about how youth development contributes to community development. Extension’s reach allows for a wide range of settings and place-based approaches, from the Growing Connections project focused on neighborhood placemaking in Milwaukee to Youth in Governance programs that engage youth in local government decision making in rural, suburban, and urban Wisconsin.

I have developed curriculum and supported program development and evaluation in nationwide efforts to engage youth in participatory research and action including Engaging Youth, Serving Communities (a USDA Rural Youth Development initiative) and the Youth Advocates for Community Health program, which is co-led by UW–Madison Division of Extension’s Institutes of Positive Youth Development and Health & Well-Being. I also co-created with Wisconsin youth organizations an annual youth-adult conference, Youth as Partners in Civic Leadership, focused on youth engagement in community change. I have partnered with Wisconsin 4-H to evaluate youth-adult partnership practices, youth leadership development programs, and youth program quality. These programs provide an ongoing laboratory for learning about and strengthening program practices in rural, tribal, and urban communities.

Selected Publications

Calvert, M., Nathaniel, K., & Brown, M. (2022). Developing Social Capital as a Conduit to Social Justice. In T. J. Shaffer & N. I. Fields (Eds.), Striving for Grassroots Engagement: Community Education, Social Justice, Cultural Competence, and the Role of Cooperative Extension (109-116). Michigan State University Press.

Calvert, M., Zierl, L., & Small, S. (2017). Pierce-St. Croix County CARES Coalition: Addressing Child and Family Social and Emotional Well-Being. In S. Chazdon, M. Emery, et al (Eds.), A Field Guide to Ripple Effects Mapping (57-64). University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing.

Calvert, M., de Montmollin, J., & Winnett, T. (2015). Youth Representation on County Government Committees: Youth in Governance in Kenosha County, Wisconsin. Journal of Extension, 53(6), 6RIB4.

Andresen, W., Dallapiazza, M., & Calvert, M. (2013). Engaging Young People as a Community Development Strategy in the Wisconsin Northwoods. New Directions for Youth Development, 2013(138), 125-140.

For a full list of publications, see Calvert’s CV.

See Also

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  • Civil Society & Community Studies

Degree Program

  • BS Community & Organizational Development
  • PhD Human Ecology: Civil Society & Community Research



  • PhD, Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • MA, Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • BA, International Relations, Stanford University


Office: 4152 Nancy Nicholas Hall

Phone: 608-890-1023