Silvia Vilches Ph.D.
Extension Specialist & Assistant Professor
Silvia Vilches headshot
Mentoring Statement

Accepting new graduate students: Yes

Accepting new undergraduate students: Yes


201 Spidle Hall

(334) 844-3772




Fun Facts
Born in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina (a ski-town)

Riddle: “Me and my sister have more sisters than any of our others sisters…” (The true joys of a blended family)

Biggest accomplishment: Well, there are a few, but one I’m really proud of was the contribution I made by presenting to City Hall, when I was just starting my career, as an advocate for South Island Women for Economic Survival. I argued for the need for social housing for single parents. There were many arguments against putting social housing in this historic neighborhood (known as ‘not in my backyard’ or NIMBYism). I didn’t speak to the neighborhood issues, but to the need. City councilors heard all the depositions and voted in favor of allowing the rezoning. The 18 unit Caledonia complex continues to house families, and fyi, the property values around the unit just about doubled in two years, and neighbors got rich! This is often the story with neighborhood improvement. Contrary to the notion that social housing is a threat, social housing is professionally managed and often improves an area or stabilizes it.

Ph.D. University of British Columbia, School of Community and Regional Planning, Planning, 2011
M.A. University of Victoria, Faculty of Human and Social Development, Studies in Policy and Practice, 2002
B.A. University of Victoria, Psychology, 1986
Research Interests
• Gender, family, culture and lone parenting
• Capabilities approaches to family poverty
• Access to services for rural families with young children
• Collaborative multi-disciplinary community service models
• Qualitative and applied research approaches
Courses Taught
HDFS 4670 Parenting Education
HDFS 4980 Extension Publication Lab
HDFS 3980 Extension Programs Service Learning
HDFS 8090 Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences
HDFS 8990 Research and Dissertation
HDFS 7990 Research and Thesis
2014-16   Mitacs Elevate Postdoctoral Fellowship, $115,000 over 2 years
2011-13   Postdoctoral Fellowship, Social Science and Humanities Research Council, $80,000 over 2 years
2009-10   Graduate Student Initiative Award, College for Interdisciplinary Studies, UBC, $2,350
2007-10   Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Strategic Training Fellowship, Public Health and Agriculture
        Rural Ecosystem(PHARE) $83,000 over 3 years
2006     Thesis Grant, Human Early Learning Partnership, $5,000
Research Projects
Current – Just in Time Parenting newsletter ( – investigation of parents on-line information-seeking behavior. With Dr. Yae-Bin Kim, U. Nevada-Reno Extension and Dr. Anne Clarkson, U. Wisconsin Extension.

Current – Starting Physical Health Intervention Really Early (SaPHIRE). Auburn University, Internal Seed Grant. Principal Investigator with Dr. Angela Wiley (HDFS) and Dr. Roger Figuero (Cornell University).

Current – Fostering Social Emotional Competence through Tuning into Kids Parenting Education Program. Sponsored by the Alabama Department for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention. Principal Investigator.

2018-2020 - Social Indicators for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention. Sponsored by the Alabama Department for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention. Principal Investigator.

2018-2021 - Responsible Research and Innovation Networked Globally (RRING) EU Horizon 2020: Society with and for Society (SwafS14 – A Linked-up Global World of Responsible Research Innovation). Advisory role.

2018-2019 - Uncovering Promising Rural Practices for Early Childhood Educators Who Work with Families with Children with Developmental Delay and Disabilities. Collaborator, with Dr. Mari Pighini (University of British Columbia).

Selected Publications
Hudson-Breen, R., & Vilches, S. L. (2018, pending). Doing all that matters: A relational career psychology perspective on mother-entrepreneurship career success. In M. Knight & T. Esnard (Eds.), The Motherhood-Entrepreneurship Nexus: Explorations of Experiences, Identities and Practices of Mothers as Entrepreneurs: Demeter.

Vilches, S., Pighini, M., Stewart, M., & Goelman, H. (2017). Documenting the urbanistic policy bias in rural early childhood services: Toward a functional definition of rurality, Canadian Geographer, 61(3) 375-388. * “Editor’s Pick” Human Early Learning Partnership, UBC, August 2017.

Gentles, S. J. & Vilches, S. (2017). Calling for a shared understanding of sampling terminology in qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16(1), e-pub Aug. 18, 2017. DOI: 10.1177/1609406917725678

Vilches, S., & Tate, L. E. (2016). Grants as significant objects in community engagement networks: Kelowna, British Columbia. In Y. Rydin & L. E. Tate (Eds.), Materiality and Planning: Exploring the Influence of Actor Network Theory. Routledge.

Vilches, S. & Gurstein, P. (2016). Re-conceptualizing social planning: A case study of the spatialized impacts of urban poverty for lone parent, female headed families in Vancouver, BC. In Ren Thomas (Ed.) Planning Canada: A Case Study Approach. (Ashgate) Oxford University Press. * Book award: “Planning Excellence Merit, 2017” by the Canadian Institute of Planners.