Hal Beder

Hal Beder, EdD

Hall of Fame Class of 2009

Hal Beder, EdD, has been a leading scholar in adult education, contributing significant research to academic publications, and impacting the work of practitioners and scholars in adult literacy and social justice. 
Beder’s achievements are strongly based in his significant research on adult literacy. His most recent projects, Learners Engagement on Adult Literacy Education (2006) and Classroom Dynamics of Adult Literacy in Adult Literacy Education (2002) represent groundbreaking data collection based in video within a grounded theory methodology, an innovative methodological approach pioneered by Beder. 

Beder was selected to receive and administer a $2.6 million grant from Harvard University for his research efforts. He was selected to direct the National Labsite for Adult Literacy Education at Rutgers University; a 10-year research project which studied adult literacy education is a real life situation. The Labsite was part of the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy located at Harvard University. He is one of a few international scholars to have developed a long and consistent stream of research findings that are grounded in practice and in the context of the limited funding and fragile operational environments of adult literacy programs. 

The field of adult education, and specifically adult literacy, has been enhanced through his writings and research, which are often required reading in adult education graduate courses and represent innovative and significant contributions to the literature of adult literacy. Beder has authored four books and monographs, edited two books, written 35 book chapters and published 21 refereed journal articles. His national prominence is recognized by his book, Adult Literacy: Implications for Policy and Practice, awarded the Imogene Okes Award for outstanding research by the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. 

In his 33 years at Rutgers University, Beder made many other contributions of scholarly service and support to the Rutgers School of Education, including serving on many dissertation committees in fields other than adult education. In addition, he provided leadership as department chair and as acting associate dean for the School of Education during his years at Rutgers.

More recently, Beder has been an avid contributor and participant in the Master Gardener program.  The Master Gardener program is sponsored by the Cooperative Extension Service. It involves graduating from a 75-hour course and completing 120 hours of internship. As a Master Gardener, Beder teaches adults about gardening and helps gardeners solve problems. He continues to bring the key principles of adult learning into this important venue of informal education.

His support to the field of adult education also includes key leadership and service contributions.  He has chaired the Commission of Professors of Adult Education and served as a commissioner on the American Council on Education’s Commission on Educational Credit and Credentials.  He has been the editor of the international prominent journal Adult Education Quarterly.  Beder is a past president and current president-elect of the New Jersey Association for Lifelong Learning and was appointed to the New Jersey State Council for Adult Literacy Services.