A Champion of Students, Carolyn Blattner
Carolyn M. Blattner, M.Ed. is passionate about William Peace University. Since joining WPU in 2016, she has gone above and beyond to improve the lives of Pacers. While much of her impact is made behind-the-scenes, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Blattner was awarded the Bingham Award for Campus Excellence in December 2019 and was promoted to the associate vice president for Academic Affairs earlier this year. We’re taking a look at how she got here and the forces that continue to drive her.
“I love being at a small campus where we support and mentor students. There’s a different feel to the community, and I value that. I went to a small institution myself, and I appreciate being back at a small, caring community like we have.”
Blattner’s new position is a continuation of the work she began as the assistant dean of Academic Affairs, ensuring that the institution is focused on continuous improvement. Several offices are housed within Academic Affairs, including the Office of the Registrar, the Career Design Center and the Center for Student Success. Blattner supports these offices and their staff members as well as faculty across the University. She is also trusted with university-wide responsibilities such as institutional effectiveness and accreditation.
Blattner manages seven direct reports throughout Academic Affairs.
“They’re great individuals keenly focused on how we support students to help them be successful. Getting to work with such a dedicated wonderful group of faculty, staff and colleagues makes it good to go to work every day. It’s a great team, I feel very fortunate,” she says.
Day-to-day, Blattner and her team collect information to help WPU make data-informed decisions to better support students. The goal is always to make academic processes easier and more transparent. In the Office of the Registrar, Blattner is helping to make curriculum requirements and program audits simpler so that students can recognize a clear and straightforward path to graduation. She’s also working with a team to ensure transparency surrounding transfer credits and articulation agreements.
“None of these things happen in a vacuum,” says Blattner. “It’s all collaborations between Admissions, Academic Advising, the Registrar and sometimes IT working together to make it easier and clearer for students.”
A lot of the data Blattner gathers comes directly from student satisfaction surveys, demonstrating her student-centered approach to administration. She says working with and for students is one of the best parts of her job.
“I’m passionate about the students who come to Peace –– being able to support them and their success, making things easier for them and [making sure] that they get the support they need.”
When instruction and student services shifted to virtual delivery this spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Blattner and a team of WPU staffers came together to get students the materials they needed to be successful from remote locations. Throughout a typical semester, WPU’s Lucy Cooper Finch Library checks out Google Chromebooks on a short-term basis for students who need access to portable laptops. Alongside Director of Immersive Learning Christopher Born, Director of the Library Nate Hellmers and Librarian Diane Jensen, Blattner ensured that students who need Chromebooks could take them home and receive them off-campus for the duration of the semester, increasing their opportunities for success in remote classes.
“We knew that there were some students who might not have access to technology or equipment that they needed, so I was one of many people who worked to make this available,” says Blattner. “That’s a perfect example of the kind of place that Peace is. That’s our community –– everyone knew we needed to figure out a way to support students.”
Blattner looks forward to the work ahead of her and will continue to be a fierce advocate for students with a personal connection to WPU’s tight-knit community continuously pushing her forward.
“I love being at a small campus where we support and mentor students. There’s a different feel to the community, and I value that. I went to a small institution myself, and I appreciate being back at a small , caring community like we have.”