Professor Walen has recently taught courses in criminal law, counterterrorism law, the philosophy of rights, and the philosophy of criminal law. He holds a joint appointment in the School of Law, and the Philosophy Department and the Program in Criminal Justice on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus. Prior to joining the faculty at Rutgers, he was a research scholar at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland. He has also taught at the University of Heidelberg (Germany), Aachen University (Germany), the University of Baltimore, Harvard University, and Lafayette College. He was a fellow at the Center for Ethics and the Professions at Harvard University, 1996-97, and more recently was a Laurance S. Rockefeller fellow at the Center for Human Values at Princeton University, 2014-2015.
Professor Walen earned his B.A. summa cum laude at the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1987. He then won a National Melon Fellowship in the Humanities, and earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh in 1993. He earned his J.D. from Harvard in 1998. After law school, he clerked for District Court Judge Nancy Gertner (1998-99), and worked as an associate for the D.C. office of what was then Mayer, Brown and Platt (1999-2000), before entering the academic track in 2000.
His academic work focuses on the philosophical foundations of moral rights. It can be grouped under three headings: (1) purely philosophical work on the nature of moral rights; (2) application of the theory of rights to topics in and connected to criminal law, ranging from the justifications for detention and punishment to the standard of proof for a criminal conviction; and (3) application of the theory of rights to just war theory.