Remembering Professor Emerita Betty Malen

Betty Malen

Betty Malen, professor emerita, passed away on Thursday, February 23. She was 76. 

A member of the College of Education community for nearly 30 years, Dr. Malen was an admired colleague, professor and mentor who will be remembered for the significant impact she made on the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership; the College of Education; and the University of Maryland.

Dr. Malen joined the College of Education in 1994 as a professor of education policy and leadership, after serving as an assistant and associate professor at the University of Utah and the University of Washington. During her time at UMD, Dr. Malen designed, updated, and taught more than a dozen undergraduate and graduate courses. She was well-known as a rigorous and careful instructor who gave extensive feedback, investing a remarkable amount of time and effort in mentoring and creating research opportunities for doctoral students and early career faculty. She wanted her students and colleagues to reach their full potential, and in keeping with this spirit, she established the Dr. Betty Malen Endowed Professorship for Urban Education Policy and the Dr. Betty Malen Graduate Fellowship in Education Policy and Urban Education.

Dr. Malen was a leader in the field of education policy, and established a stellar record of scholarship. In addition to having a scholarly impact, her work made important contributions to improvements in education policies and reform. She authored or coauthored 32 book chapters and 36 journal articles, delivered over 100 academic presentations and 45 invited talks or keynotes, and received several grants and contracts to support her work. 

Dr. Malen received many awards and accolades for her research, mentorship and service. She was named a University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher in 2016 and received the College of Education Excellence in Mentoring Award that year, as well. Dr. Malen was also recognized with the Jay D. Scribner Mentor Award from the University Council for Educational Administration in 2015 and the College of Education’s Distinguished Outreach Award in 2014. 

“So many of us have fond memories of Dr. Malen’s quick wit, no nonsense feedback and words of encouragement and support. She reminded us all that our worth as people could never be questioned but that our work could (and should) always be better. We will miss seeing her in the halls of the Benjamin Building and will forever be grateful for the many contributions she made in our community. Of all the ways she impacted us, her enduring commitment to mentorship of the next generation of scholars and leaders will be her legacy," wrote Kimberly Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Nihat Polat, professor and chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning, Leadership and Policy, in an email to the college community. 

A digital memorial was created where the faculty, staff, students and alumni can share memories of her and expressions of sympathy. The site will be updated with details about her celebration of life service, as they become available.