Blanche E. Staton came to MIT in 1997 from Penn State University, where she directed one of three regional offices dedicated to undergraduate recruitment and admissions. Her career in higher education has also included leadership roles at the University of Pennsylvania as director of minority admissions and associate director of admissions for the Wharton School’s MBA Program; at Temple University as a senior recruiter/counselor at the School of Medicine; and in her own firm as a private educational consultant.
In her role as interim Dean in MIT’s Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE), Blanche advises graduate students, faculty, and administrators on MIT graduate education policy, serves on numerous Institute committees, provides advice and support to graduate students, and creates and sponsors programs to enhance graduate student life and to prepare them for leadership. She has direct oversight of Graduate Personal Support as well as Diversity Initiatives in ODGE. She has especially reached out to women graduate students and underrepresented minorities by creating the Path of Professorship workshop that gives women the tools to be successful on the academic track; instituting the Graduate Women of Excellence biennial program to recognize leadership and service contributions at the Institute, dedication to mentoring, and drive to improve the student experience; creating the Graduate Community Fellows Program in which MIT graduate students develop leadership skills through leading programs, projects, and initiatives of their own; and advocating for and leading MIT’s engagement in MentorNet a dynamic online national mentoring community for women and underrepresented minorities in scientific fields. Blanche helped to launch an initiative for outreach to underrepresented minority students in their first year of graduate school and expanded MIT’s Power Lunch series, designed to promote the academic, professional, and personal development of minority students. Blanche especially treasures her role in mentoring and nurturing some of MIT’s 6,000 graduate students—people who are trying to change the world.
In addition to graduate students, Blanche contributes to many other populations at MIT through her role as a coach for administrators in MIT’s Leader to Leader Program and as an annual presenter in the When Support Gets Personal program, which trains administrators to facilitate counseling for students. Dedicated to inspiring and developing all students, she served as a Baker House Fellow where she was responsible for programming for the undergraduate student residents. She has been selected by MIT’s President to participate as a Boston Fellow in a one-year professional and leadership development program, served as a member of the Medical Management Board at MIT’s Medical Center and on planning committees for major Institute events such as the 150th anniversary and currently the 2016 celebration committee. Outside of MIT she serves her community as a member and officer of the Cambridge Community Center Board of Directors.
Blanche holds an MEd with specialization in counseling and has authored numerous articles on student life and community, including co-authoring the article "Making the Case for Graduate Community" in the Journal for Higher Education Strategists as well as a chapter in the book Forward to Professorship in STEM: Inclusive Faculty Development Strategies that Work (Elsevier 2016). Among other honors, she has been selected as Black Achiever of the Year by Black Opinion Magazine, she has been recognized for her leadership and tireless commitment to students through an MLK Leadership Award and MIT’s Infinite Mile Award in 2004, a Gordon Y Billard Award in 2010, and a Tribute to Outstanding Women award from the Cambridge YMCA in 2013.