Blaich Receives National Award from CIC

November 5, 2010

Charles Blaich, director of inquires for the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College, received the Council of Independent Colleges' Award for Academic Leadership at a national conference for chief academic and financial officers.


The prestigious award is given by the CIC to a nationally recognized educator for leadership in assisting private college chief academic officers in their work.


Specifically, Blaich was honored for the work he’s done to lead the groundbreaking Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education. The Wabash National Study is a longitudinal study that is investigating the critical factors that affect the outcomes of liberal arts education to help colleges improve student learning and enhance the educational impact of their programs.


The Wabash National Study focuses on such outcomes as critical thinking, the need for cognition, interest in and attitudes about diversity, leadership, moral reasoning, and spiritual well-being. More than two-dozen CIC colleges and universities have participated in the study since its inception in 2006. 


Blaich was the driving force in the creation of the study and its methodology. He and his colleagues at the Center of Inquiry have refined the study, and launched a second Wabash National Study in the fall of 2010. The new study includes 30 colleges and universities and runs through 2013.


“Since the founding of the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts in 2000, Charlie Blaich has been a leading voice in the national discussion of assessment of teaching and learning,” said Wabash President Patrick White. “Guiding the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education and the Teagle Assessment Scholars, Dr. Blaich and the Center of Inquiry have helped colleges and universities all over the country explore the questions that lead to solid and significant improvements in teaching and learning.”


An associate professor in psychology, Blaich was awarded the Daniel F. Evans Endowed Chair for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and McLain-McTurnan-Arnold Excellence in Teaching Award.


Blaich received his undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees from Connecticut. He joined the Wabash psychology department in 1991.


“Through careful research and analysis and generous mentoring of hundreds of teachers and scholars, Charlie has placed the name of Wabash College and the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at the vanguard in a national movement to ask the right questions about student learning,” added President White. “ In this work he is an exemplar of the highest ambitions of Wabash College, and we are all very proud of this award he so richly deserves and of his widespread contributions to higher education.”


His recent published research includes “How Effective are the NSSE Benchmarks in Predicting Important Educational Outcomes?” with Ernest T. Pascarella and Tricia A. Seifert in Change Magazine (2010); “Liberal Arts Colleges and Good Practices in Undergraduate Education: Additional Evidence,” with Tricia A. Seifert, Mark H. Salisbury, and Ernest T. Pascarella in Journal of College Student Development; and “The Effects of Work on Leadership Development Among First-year College Students,” with Mark H. Salisbury, Ernest T. Pascarella, and Ryan D. Padgett, forthcoming in Journal of College Student Development.


In 2009, Blaich delivered a well-received address at the CIC/CLA Consortium summer meeting on educational practices that predict student learning outcomes.


Blaich received the award on Saturday, November 6 at the opening plenary session of the CIC’s 2010 Institute for Chief Academic and Chief Financial Officers in Williamsburg, Virginia.


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