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Susan Wilson

Contributing Associate Professor and Faculty Internship Advisor

Headshot of Susan Wilson

Contact Information

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301


Regardless of the sector, human capital is the core of success for any organization. Effective management starts with a consideration of how personal interactions affect managerial performance, staff morale and organizational cohesion. Building a cooperative relationship fosters learning, growth and delivers critical elements such as trust and respect. The right interpersonal environment allows for the effective realization of desired results and organizational movement in new directions. Highly effective leaders understand the relationship between HR and the other components of business.

Students of management will benefit from a perspective in HR, regardless of their professional trajectory. To be successful in class, they need a holistic understanding of business strategies, and a willingness to try different scenarios, ask questions and participate. The most enjoyable classes are seeded by real-world cases, complemented by discussions on theory and approached with the fresh perspective of an inquisitive mind.


Susan Wilson credits her success to a philosophy of taking a systems-wide perspective on management and strategy execution.

As the administrator for Oregon state government’s Human Resource Services Division, Susan managed the development of statewide HR policy, advised the governor’s office on statewide HR issues and facilitated the negotiation and implementation of all state collective bargaining contracts. While manager of the State Training and Development Section, she implemented the curriculum for state management training and managed the state training managers’ forum. During her time as administrative services director for the Oregon Department of Justice, she managed the agency’s interdisciplinary administrative operations.

Susan has been invited to address the International Public Management Association’s national conference. She has also spoken before the Oregon chapter on topics such as “Succession planning in a union environment” and “Public sector HR and strategic planning”

Susan is a Toll Fellow in the Council of State Governments leadership program. She was the Atkinson School’s 2007 Pi Alpha Alpha Honoree for excellence in public affairs and administration.

When she’s not teaching, Susan enjoys spending time with her two young grandsons in the green home she built with her husband in a new sustainable community. She also likes the adventure and learning offered by travel.


  • M.B.A., Willamette University
  • B.S., Oregon State University
  • S.P.H.R. (Senior Professional in Human Resource Management)

Areas of Instruction

Human Resources, Workforce Planning

Selected Professional Activities

Past President - Public Management Association.

Past Chair - Research and Administration Committee, Western Legislative Conference

Past Chair - Local School Advisory Committee (Salem-Keizer)

Member - National Association of State Personnel Executives

Member - Society for Human Resource Management

Member - CEOs for Salem

Willamette University

Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

Portland Center

200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland Oregon 97201 U.S.A.