College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Susan Walker

  • Professor emeritus

Susan Walker

Areas of interest

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


Walker joined the UMN faculty in 2007 and retired in 2023. An associate professor in the Family Social Science parent and family education program, she served as director from 2011-2017. She authored the textbook, Critical Perspectives on Technology and The Family, that Is used in FSOS undergraduate course on family and technology. 

Her research focused on social context influences on parenting and technology in family life, parent learning and technology integration in Minnesota’s Early Childhood and Family Education program, and parenting and family educators’ integration of technology in practice. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she created a virtual Community of Practice for weekly engagement for parenting and early childhood education professionals.  PERFECT* Connections gave professionals in Minnesota and elsewhere to meet, be inspired and gain support for their practice. 

She led the Parentopia Project that created a web-based application to complemented parent learning and engagement in Minnesota’s Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) program. Supported by a National Science Foundation grant, she collaborated with parents and staff in the St. Paul Public Schools to design the platform and enabled research with parents and staff to design technology as a hybrid for face-to-face interactions. 

Walker was also a member of a University Grand Challenges research team that collaborated with the People's Center in Minneapolis to explore texting as an intervention on parenting health awareness of Somali mothers of young children. Reminder for Readiness (R4R) addressed the challenge of racial and ethnic gaps in accessing critical information about young children’s health and development. 

Walker is a consultant to the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs. She has written reports and addressed international conferences on the impact of technology of families and learning, including the International Foundation on Family Development, the Consortium of Institutes on Family, Asian Region, and ProjektPL, in Warsaw, Poland.

She was also integral to the U of M’s College of Education and Human Development partnership assisting the University of Iceland to launch a parenting education program, the first in that country. 

She received her bachelor’s degree from Drexel University, a master’s from Pennsylvania State University and a PhD in Child and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.