|William J. Rothwell, Ph.D., SPHR, is Professor of Workplace Learning and Performance on the University Park campus of The Pennsylvania State University. He is also President of his own private consulting company, Rothwell and Associates, Inc, a full-service consulting firm that offers services in Succession Planning and Management. As a consultant, he has worked with over 35 multinational corporations.
As an academic, Dr. Rothwell heads up the #1-ranked graduate program in
Workplace Learning and Performance in the USA, which is positioned in Penn
State’s Workforce Education and Development program in the Department of
Learning and Performance Systems. He teaches graduate courses in employee
training, human resource management, and organization development. In 2005, he
earned Penn State University’s Graduate Teaching Award. The Graduate Teaching
Award is Penn State’s highest honor for a teacher, indicating excellence, and
only one award per year is given to a professor in a university with 23 campuses
and a total enrollment of 80,000 residential students.
Before arriving at Penn State, he was previously Assistant Vice President and
Management Development Director for The Franklin Life Insurance Co., a
wholly-owned subsidiary of American Brands, number 48 on the Fortune 500 list.
Before that, he was Training Director for the Illinois Office of the Auditor
General. He was a full-time practitioner in Human Resources from 1979 through
1992 before arriving at Penn State University in 1993, where he has been since.
Dr. Rothwell received his Ph.D. in Employee Training from the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, his M.B.A. from the University of Illinois at
Springfield, his M.A. and all courses for the Ph.D. in English from the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his B.A. from Illinois State
University. He is also life certified as a Senior Professional in Human
Resources (SPHR), a certification awarded by the Human Resource Certification
His key research interests center around HR management generally and quite
specifically, as is common in U.S. schools, on succession planning and on the
competencies necessary for corporate trainers.
Dr. Rothwell has published more than 58 books on Workplace Learning and
Performance, Human Performance Improvement, Organization Development, Training
and Human Resource Management. He is also a book series editor, along with 2
well-known consultants (Roland Sullivan and Kris Quade), for the Wiley/Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer
book series on Organization Change And Development, a book series editor with
Rita Richey and Tim Spannaus of the Wiley/Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer book series on
Using Technology for Training and Learning, a book series editor for the AMACOM
Adult Learning Series, and a book series editor for Human Resource Classics in
Translation from Beijing University Press. He is also North American Editor for
Blackwell’s UK-based academic, refereed International Journal of Training and