Parent and Family Education Director
Family Social Science
Room 286 McNH
1985 Buford Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55108
Areas of Interest
Development of parent and family education professionals
Parent engagement and early education
Use of technology in non-formal teaching and adult learning
Evaluation of early childhood family education
My teaching, research, and writing reflect my understanding of how richly people’s lives and their choices are influenced by others near (like family, friends) and far (like the media, culture, politics), and by their own personal histories. I appreciate that as professionals, we need to respect these many influences and offer our guidance within that personal context. My interests are clearly motivated by systems theorists and by Bronfenbrenner’s perspective of human ecology. Those I feel most deserving of my research and, by extension, our support are those vulnerable in our toxic society, such as families with limited resources, young children, adolescent girls and of course, parents.
My specific interests include the intersections between parenting and education settings that support children's development. For example,
- how standard early education settings support the needs of parents, and serve as sites for parenting education
- factors that influence parents choice of early care for their children, including aspects of culture, economics, and family structure
- parents’ use of informal child care, and support to family, friend and neighbor caregivers
- community based models of support for children’s school readiness
- professional/personal sources of parent education (my dissertation research).
I am also exploring the use of technology in parent and family education for professionals and for the general public. Some avenues of my work include:
- the development and evaluation of an online, interactive parenting education delivery program (Just in Time Parenting), and comparing the effectiveness of online versus hard copy methods of learning by new parents
- delivery of formal graduate coursework for parent educators via online courses
- use of media in popular culture, specifically television and film, to teach about family life. My online project, Families Illustrated, provides a database of ideas for teaching parent and family concepts with film and television.
I very much welcome you to join me in these pursuits and to share your passions with me.
Ph.D., Child and Family Studies - University of Wisconsin, Madison
M.S., Nutritional Sciences - Drexel University
Honors & Awards
Teaching & Learning
FSoS 4155: Parent-Child Relationships
FSoS 5900: Special Topics in Family, Youth, and Community
FSoS 5932: Intro to Parent Education
FSoS 5937: Parent-Child Interaction
FSoS 5943: Parent Development and Adult Learning
FSoS 5944: Curriculum Development in Parent Education
FSoS 5946: Assessment and Evaluation in Parent Education
Research & Discovery
Terveen, L, and Walker, S (2012-2016). National Science Foundation. SoCS: Collaborative Research: Novel Algorithms and Interaction Mechanisms to Enhance Social Production.
Outreach & Engagement
Walker, S. (forthcoming) Social dynamics of media use on parenting: A conceptual framework. In Breuss, C. (Ed.). Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media
Walker, S. (forthcoming). Family Life and Information and Communications Technologies (ICT): Implications for Family Life Education. In Walcheski, M. and Reinke, J. (Eds). Handbook of Family Life Education, 3rd Ed.
Dworkin, J., Walker, S, Rudi, J. and Doty, J. (forthcoming). Parents’ use of new media for communication: A consideration of demographic differences. In Breuss, C. (Ed.) Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media.
Walker, S. and Rudi, J. (2014). Parenting across the social ecology facilitated by information and communications technology: Implications for educational design and research. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension. 2, 2, 2-19.
Rudi, J., Dworkin, J., Walker, S. K. and Doty, J. L. (2014). Parents' use of information and communications technologies for family communication: differences by age of children. Information, Communication & Society. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2014.934390
Walker, S., Dworkin, J. and Connell, J. (2011). Communications Technology: Does Quantity Matter?. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal. 40(2), 106-119.
Walker, S. (2011). Review of the book: Christakis, N and Fowler, J. (2009). Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. Journal of Family Theory and Review. 3(3) 220-224.
Walker, S. and Manoogian, M. (2011). Child care. In Rural families and work: Contexts, problems, and solutions., J. Bauer and E. Dolan, Eds. New York: Springer.
Forry, N. and Walker, S. (2011). Child Care in Rural America, In Economic Restructuring and Family Wellbeing in Rural America, K. Smith and A. Tickamyer, Eds. The Pennsylvania State University Press.
Walker, S. and Benson, L. (2011). The Spanking Debate: Stimulating Critical Thinking in the Undergraduate Classroom. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Walker, S., Cline, H. and Cooke, B. (2010). Innovation with Integrity: Preparing Parent Educators Online. Michigan Family Review. 14(1). Available at http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/mfr/
Walker, S. (2010). Changing technologies, changing learners: A challenge to parent and family education. National Council on Family Relations Report, Summer, F14-F16.
See CV for more publications.
Walker, S. (April, 2014). Never doubt the power: Stakeholder impacts from a collaborative evaluation of a primary prevention community-based early childhood and parenting program. Society for Research in Child Development conference. Alexandria, VA. Click to view PDF of research poster.