For Students, Faculty, and Staff: MyU One Stop

Susan Walker


Associate Professor
Director, Parent and Family Education Program

Room 286 McNH
1985 Buford Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55108

Tel: 612-624-1273

Download CV Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Interest

Social context influences on parent learning
Technology integration in non-formal teaching and adult learning
Parenting education and the preparation of parenting and family educators
Family engagement in education


Recent News

Walker's article selected as best paper by FCSRJ

Walker presents at University of Iceland's School of Education

Walker awarded travel grant for collaboration with University of Iceland


Ph.D., Child and Family Studies - University of Wisconsin, Madison
M.S., Nutrition - Pennsylvania State University, University Park
B.S., Foods and Nutrition - Drexel University, Philadelphia

Honors & Awards

2015 OUtstanding Paper, Family and Consumer Science Rsearch Journal, American Association of Family and Consumer Science

2015 Outstanding Article in Education, Family and Consumer Science Research Journal, American Association of Family and Consumer Science

2012 Faculty Adviser of the Year (Graduate and Professional Student Association), University of Minnesota

2012-2016 Guest Professor, University of Iceland, School of Education

2005 Paul M. Poffenberger Teaching, Advising and Mentoring Award, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland, College Park

2004 George F. Kramer Practitioner of the Year Award, College of Health and Human Performance, University of Maryland, College Park

2001 Muriel Sloan Communitarian Award, College of Health and Human Performance, University of Maryland, College Park

2000 State Specialist of the Year Award (Service Less than seven years), Maryland Extension Specialists Association

Teaching & Learning

FSoS 4155: Parent-Child Relationships

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

The primary focus of my research is on social context influences on parenting, specifically on processes and structures that promote parent learning and parent well-being (the parent learning ecology). These social context influences include the communities and networks that parents belong to, the more formal structures in educational programs they may participate in, and wider public policies that affect family life. In the last 10 years, my research has focused on technology as integrated in parents’ lives, and as tools and the Internet as an environment for parent learning and social interaction. The Parenting 2.0 research project collected and analyzed baseline data on parents’ use of technology. This work integrates and informs my work in the professional development of parenting educators and in the design of effective parenting education programs, described below.

The Parentopia project involves the design of a web-based application that complements parent learning and engagement through Minnesota’s Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) program. With co-PI Loren Terveen in Computer Sciences, a 3 year NSF grant enabled research with parents and staff in the St Paul Public Schools to identify technology as a hybrid for face to face interactions to facilitate parents’ social learning interactions within their classes, with their personal networks and across the ECFE program. The platform designed is informed by my re-conceptualizations of parent learning that build on existing theoretical frameworks. The Parentopia platform is now being implemented as a new mobile-friendly platform is being designed during the 2016-2017 academic year. 

Parenting and family educators’ integration of technology in practice is related area of research. My years of instruction and directing online degree programs reinforces the fact that, as it is essential that all education professionals are comfortable and supported in selecting new media to enhance learning, educators who work in community-based settings with parents require particular attention. My research has identified the technology acceptance attitudes and more novel use of technologies to be influenced by personal and workplace conditions, including the quality of training and technical assistance. In the fall of 2016 collaboration with the National Council on Family Relations will conduct a national survey of family life educators’ technology use.

My vision for technology integration in Family and Consumer Sciences (inclusive of parenting and family education) as a collaborative research, educational practice, and professional development activity was recently published. 


Outreach & Engagement

University of Minnesota- University of Iceland Collaborative Online Instruction for Family Educator Preparation (2015-current)

Collaborative Research on Reflective Supervision in Parent Education, Center for Early Education and Development, University of Minnesota

UMN - ECFE Program Evaluation Collaboration  Click to view PDF of research poster: 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.


  1. Walker, S. (2016). Creating The Future We Want: A Framework for Integrated Engagement in Technology Use in Family and Consumer Sciences. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences.

  2. Walker, S. and Kim, H. (2015). Family Educators Use of Technology and Influences on Technology Acceptance Attitudes. Family and Consumer Science Research Journal. 43(4), 328-342.

  3. Walker, S. (2015) Social dynamics of media use on parenting: A conceptual framework. In Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media, Carol Breuss, Ed. New York: Peter Lang. 

  4. Walker, S. (December 2015) 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. Minneapolis: National Council on Family Relations, pp. 117-130. Dworkin, J., Walker, S, Rudi, J. and Doty, J. (2015). Parents’ use of new media for communication: A consideration of demographic differences. In Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media, Carol Breuss, Ed. New York, NY: Peter Lang, pp. 408-425.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Walker, S. (2012). Parent education in the United States In Policy Report On Parent Education, Korean Child Care and Education Institute, Seoul, S. Korea. 

  8. Walker, S. and Manoogian, M. (December 2011). Child care. In Rural families and work:  Contexts, problems, and solutions. J. Bauer and E. Dolan, Eds. New York: Springer. 

  9. Walker, S., Cline, H. and Cooke, B. (2010). Innovation with Integrity: Preparing Parent Educators Online. Michigan Family Review. 14(1). Available at

  10. See CV for more publications.


  1. Walker, S. (2016). Design-based Research for Technology Enhanced Parent Education: Integrating Non-formal Education and Personal Learning Communities, American Education Research Association, Washington, DC.

  2. Walker, S. (2015). The Internet’s role as an interface for parents’ personal communities and networks of learning. Paper presented at the Theory Construction Research Methodology preconference, National Council on Family Relations annual meeting. November 9. Vancouver, BC. 

  3. Hernandez, M and Walker, S. (panel co-chairs). Technology in Family Engagement in Early childhood settings. Symposium. Society of Research on Child Development, Philadelphia, PA, March, 2015.

  4. Walker, S. (2015, March 13). New Ways to Reach Parents: Integrating technology in nonformal education. Presentation to the College of Education, University of Iceland, Reykjavik. 

  5. Walker, S. (2015, January 9). Reaching parents through online technology. University of Wisconsin-Extension.

  6. Walker, S. (2013, November). How does the Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) program address the academic achievement gap? CEHD Saturday scholars, November 3. 

  7. See CV for more presentations.