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Higher Education in Maryland

May 2008 Press Release




Director of Academic Affairs named at MHEC



(Annapolis, MD) May 6, 2008


She is a first-generation college graduate and doesn’t regret it for a moment. In fact, she revels in her higher education experience. Sue A. Blanshan, Ph.D., brings an extraordinary resume – and personality – to MHEC as its new Director of Academic Affairs.

“As a first generation college graduate, I believe in the transformation higher education can make in someone’s life,” Dr. Blanshan said. “I’ve dedicated my career to higher education. I believe in providing as many opportunities as I can to keep doors open for Maryland’s citizen. I’m very much looking forward to working with Secretary Lyons, Dr. Reid and the MHEC staff. When I met with Dr. Lyons and Dr. Reid, we had a very good conversation about the needs for higher education. Secretary Lyons has a very strong vision of the role of education in the State.”

“Dr. Blanshan is a tremendous addition to the MHEC family,” Higher Education Secretary James E. Lyons, Sr., said. “She has an extraordinary resume and I know she will be an asset to MHEC and the O’Malley/Brown administration. She will hit the ground running to help us ensure that Maryland’s institutions of higher education are second to none.”

Assistant Secretary of Academic and Planning Affairs Dr. George Reid announced Dr. Blanshan’s hiring at a staff meeting yesterday.

“It is a great pleasure to introduce Dr. Sue A. Blanshan as our new Director of Academic Affairs,” Dr. Reid said. “She will be a great new addition to our Academic Affairs department. I am very excited that my staff and I will be working with someone so accomplished.”

Dr. Blanshan earned her Ph.D., and M.A. in Sociology from Ohio State University and her B.A., in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her professional experience in higher education is extensive.

In addition to being an outstanding educator, Dr. Blanshan has given back to charitable endeavors. She comes to MHEC after several months volunteering as a visiting scholar and research director for a collaborative project on housing needs for people living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya and conducted a 12-year longitudinal study and analysis of the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS.

“I conducted research on housing, travel, transportation and nutrition for people with HIV/AIDS and will be attending the HIV/AIDS International Conference this year in Mexico City,” Dr. Blanshan said. “It is a way of giving back to people in need that really motivates me.”

Before her research work in Africa, Dr. Blanshan was Vice President for Academic Affairs at Trinity University in Washington, D.C. From 2002-2003, she was Executive Director of AIDS Alabama in Birmingham, AL, where she served a chief operating officer; leadership for statewide HIV/AIDS support housing, programmatic oversight and fiscal management for $4 million in federal grants.

Dr. Blanshan has also served in leadership positions at Birmingham-Southern College, the University of Hartford and The Ohio State University.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is a 12-member coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and independent colleges and universities and private career schools. It serves as an advocate for more than 325,000 college students in Maryland, for the State and its needs, and for business and industry in Maryland.

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