College of Education and Human Development

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Betsy Maloney Leaf

  • Pronouns: she, her, hers

  • Assistant Professor in Arts Education

  • Office Hours

    By appointment.

Betsy Maloney Leaf

Areas of interest

Dance pedagogy, arts education and policy, culturally relevant pedagogy, social justice in education.


PhD, Curriculum & Instruction
MFA, Dance Performance & Choreography
BA, Dance and English


Betsy Maloney Leaf, PhD, MFA, is the co-License Program Lead in the Arts in Education program. She works with the interarts (visual art, dance, theatre arts) initial license program and teaches undergraduate courses in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. 

Maloney Leaf's research examines the intersection between arts education, culturally relevant pedagogy, and educational policy. She has presented her research at several regional and national conferences, including American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Educational Studies Association (AESA), National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), and American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). Her work has been published in the Research in Dance Education, Youth Theatre Journal, Review of Research in EducationJournal of Dance Education, the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education & Advancement, and Arts Education Policy Review. 

Currently, Maloney Leaf serves on the editorial board for Dance Education in Practice and is a member of the National Dance Education Organization's Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) work group. 

Maloney earned her PhD in curriculum & instruction from the University of Minnesota, her MFA in dance performance and choreography from the University of Colorado, and her BA in dance and English from Gustavus Adolphus College. She holds a Minnesota K-12 teaching license in dance and theatre. 


Leaf, B., Traynham, M. Schull, N., Bequette, J., & Hansen, T. (2023). “There was something missing”: Using the critical response protocol as antiracist practice in arts education. Studies in Art Education, 64(2), 181-197. DOI: 

Leaf, B., & Ngo, B. (2020). "You are not invisible": A qualitative study examining ritual, pedagogical relationships, and student visibility in kathak dance. Research in Dance Education,

Leaf, B., & Ngo, B. (2019). "Fear of What We Don't Know": A Qualitative Study Examining How Youth Grapple with Diversity in a Professional Theatre Program. Youth Theatre Journal

Ngo, B., Lewis, C., & Leaf, B. (2017). Fostering Sociopolitical Consciousness with Minoritized Youth: Insights from Community-Based Arts Programs. Review of Research in Education, 41, 358-380.

Leaf, B., & Ngo, B., (2017). The Importance of "Downtime" for Democratic Dance Pedagogy: Insights from a Program Serving Asian American Youth. Journal of Dance Education, 17(2), 65-72.


Leaf, B. & St. Clair, I. (2020). Partnerships Through Policy: Connecting Preservice Teachers to Community Resources, National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) virtual conference.

Leaf, B., & Ngo, B. (2019). Art moves: Filmmaking as Arts Activism in a Middle School Media Arts Residency. American Educational Studies Association (AESA) conference.

Leaf, B. (2019). Promoting Student Visibility: An Autoethnographic Study of a High School Dance Program. National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) conference. 

Leaf, B., & Bgo, B. (2019). "Dance With Your Body": Combatting Inequality through Embodiment in a Racially Diverse Youth Dance Organization. American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference. 

Maloney, B., & Ngo, B. (2019). "You Could Put Yourself in There": Media Arts as Embodied Learning. American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference. 

Chandara, D., Leaf, B., & Ngo, B. (2019). Latinx Students Working Toward Radical Healing: Reflections on the Possibilities of a Media Arts Residency. American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference. 

Ngo, B., Leaf, B., & Chandara, D. (2019). Immigrant Educators as Curriculum Text: The Praxis of Ethnic Community-Based Arts Programs. American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference.