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Susan Benson

Susan Benson

Class of 2013

Senior Instructional Designer
American Express



For many years I had a goal of completing a Master’s degree in Instructional Design. In my career, I had been a corporate instructor and instructional designer for over 20 years. But everything I knew about instructional design was the result of employer-provided courses and experience. While I was considered a skilled designer, I knew there was more to know and do and I wanted to know it and do it! But family responsibilities, work life, time and finances seem to make that goal unattainable. Then in 2009, I had the good fortune to have a manager who counseled and encouraged me to pursue a degree at Boise State. At that time, he was in the IPT Master’s program. We had many conversations about his classes and what he was learning. I realized that even though it would take me four years to complete the program, the time was right for me to go back to school.

I have learned so much! I can’t say it was easy, but it was definitely worth it. My mind expanded beyond just Instructional Design to include other aspects of the larger field of Human Performance Technology. Boise’s program is well known and well respected. Just about every student in the program is working in some aspect of instructional design. This makes the interactions and contributions of classmates robust and insightful. Every semester was challenging, but the end result was worth it in terms of knowledge and application in “real-life” instructional design projects. The professors were encouraging; they were really interested in knowing what we thought. They asked us questions that required us to reflect and be bold in our opinions, what I would call “stepping out into the darkness” a few steps. They had high expectations of us. We all learned together and I felt I was in a safe environment where it was OK to make a mistake or state an opinion. Working with other students on projects gave me an opportunity to connect with intelligent, creative and fun people. Completing the class projects was a way to work for different companies and experience a little bit of their culture without having to interview for the job! Something great happens when you are on a team that successfully works together to create a solution that can impact performance.

It’s hard to believe those four years have passed. But during those four years, I’ve earned a Graduate Certificate in Workplace Instructional Design and a Master’s degree in Instructional and Performance Technology. It was a great experience. I appreciate the opportunity I have had to be a part of this program. It has made a lasting difference in my life.


Urban, L.**, Christenson, M.**, & Benson, S.** (2015). Learning the ropes of program evaluation A case study. Performance Improvement, 54(1), 7-13.

Urban, L.**, Christenson, M.**, & Benson, S.** (2014, June). Learning the Ropes of Program Evaluation: A Case Study PerformanceXpress Newsletter, June, ’14 issue.

Elliott, K.*, Hoveland, S.*, & Benson, S.* (2012, March). A Needs Assessment on Quality Control and Performance Issues at a Manufacturing Company PerformanceXpress Newsletter, March, ’12 issue.

Budveit, J.*, Benson, S. B.*, Inderbitzen, B.*, & Betty, K.* (2011). Closing a gap in performance for supervisors. PerformanceXpress Newsletter, November ’11 issue.

Lemanski, E.*, Wisniewski, A.*, & Benson, S.* (2011). Reaching the Quality Benchmark-Case Study. PerformanceXpress Newsletter, August ’11 issue.