Amy Hilgendorf

Amy Hilgendorf

Associate Director
Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies
Office 4257
Truth never damages a cause that is just.

– Mahatma Gandhi

I am a community-based researcher and evaluator. I work with community partners to answer research questions important to them and that will help create positive social change. Our teams utilize various social science methods and engage partners throughout the research process. We pride ourselves on making research meaningful and actionable to our community partners. We support other scholars at UW-Madison and beyond who care about community-based and action research.

I completed a PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011. As a former teacher, my research critically examined the interactions of families and schools across lines of race and socioeconomic class. Through a self-designed PhD minor in Engaged Scholarship, I built expertise in community-based and action-oriented research methods. Before coming to the CommNS, I worked as an Evaluator at Kansas State University and an Evaluation Manager at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Faust, V., Christens, B.D., Sparks, S.M.A., & Hilgendorf, A.E. (Accepted). Are networks of organizational collaboration associated with organizational learning and effectiveness? Psychosocial Intervention.

Sparks, S.M.A., Faust, V., Christens, B.D., & Hilgendorf, A.E. (2015). The impact of organizational ecology on racial disparities in infant mortality. Journal of Community Psychology, 43(6), 701-716.

Stein, A., Baldyga, W., Hilgendorf, A., Gilchrist Walker, J., Hewson, D., Rhew, L., & Uskali, A. (2015). Challenges in promoting Joint Use Agreements: Experiences from Community Transformation Grant awardees in North Carolina, Illinois, and Wisconsin, 2011-2014. Preventing Chronic Disease, 12.

Miller, K. E., Hilgendorf, A. E., & Dilworth-Bart, J. E. (2014). Early beginnings: Cultural capital and home-school connections in early childhood. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 15(4), 329-345.

Garcia, J. M., Sellers, D., Hilgendorf, A., & Burnett, D. L. (2014). Evaluation of a health education programme about traumatic brain injury. Health Education Journal, 73(5), 588-599.

Hilgendorf, A. E. (2012). Through a limiting lens: Comparing teacher, student, and parent perspectives of an African American boy’s support for school. School Community Journal, (22)2.

Dilworth-Bart, J. E., Poehlmann, J., Miller, K., & Hilgendorf, A. (2010). Do mothers’ play behaviors moderate the associations between socioeconomic status and 24-month neurocognitive outcomes? Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 49.

Dilworth-Bart, J. E., Poehlmann, J., Hilgendorf, A., Miller, K., & Lambert, L. (2009). Maternal scaffolding and preterm toddlers’ visual-spatial processing and emerging working memory. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 48.

Tryon, E., Stoecker, R., Martin, A., Seblonka, K., Hilgendorf, A., & Nellis, M.  (2008). The challenge of short-term service-learning.  Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning, 14(2), 16-26.

Books, Book Chapters and Published Manuscripts

Lewis, J., Hilgendorf, A., Slaughter, M., Zaleski, K., & Shackerford, L. (2014). Circles of support for African American boys – Henry David Thoreau Elementary School.  Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Lewis, J. L., & Hilgendorf, A. (2011). Social support for academic success of African American boys. Research Digest, Center for Nonprofits, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Fall 2011.

Lewis, J. L., & Hilgendorf, A. (2010). African American boys’ views of family as support for school: A report to the School District of Beloit. Madison, WI: Cooperative Extension Publishing.

Lewis, J. L., & Hilgendorf, A. E. (2009).  “She tells me all the right things”: How African American boys view family as support for school. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Stoecker, R., Tryon, E., & Hilgendorf, A.  (2009). The unheard voices: Community organizations and service learning. Philadelphia: Temple University.

Stoecker, R., Hilgendorf, A. E, & Tryon, E.  (2008).  Information and communication technology in service learning: A case study in appropriate use.  In A. Dailey-Hebert & E. Donnelli (Eds.), Service-eLearning: Educating for Citizenship (pp. 31-43). Charlotte, N. C.: Information Age Publishing.

Current Projects:

Wisconsin Obesity Prevention Initiative (OPI) – A targeted obesity prevention effort in Wisconsin counties involving community capacity-building (collective impact and community organizing), multi-setting intervention strategy development and technical assistance, obesity surveillance and evaluation support.

Wisconsin Obesity Prevention Network (WOPN) Evaluation – Developmental evaluation of the Wisconsin Obesity Prevention Network, a backbone organization seeking to build collective impact for healthy eating and physical activity across the state.

Circles of Support (with UW-Extension) – A school-based peer support program for African American youth in selected Wisconsin school districts. Includes family engagement activities to enhance family-school relationships and support natural mentors to African American students.

Nonprofit Organizations and Birth Outcomes (NOBO) – Mixed methods analysis of the network of organizational relationships surrounding the temporary close of the Black-White infant mortality gap in Dane County.

Mass Incarceration and Racial Injustice in Wisconsin (partnership with WISDOM) – Community-based action research partnership with the WISDOM network to examine the causes of and possible interventions to racial disparities in mass incarceration.


Selected Past Projects:

Transform WI

  • Health Equity Technical Assistance and Evaluation
  • Recreational Use Agreements (RUAs) Evaluation

Evaluation Capacity-Building in Kansas State Research & Extension

Kansas State Research & Extension SNAP-Ed Program Evaluation

Examining Family-School Relationships across Race and Class – Community-based research in Beloit, WI schools.