Skip to Content

Krannert’s New Dean of Undergraduate Education Builds on Momentum

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Kelly Blanchard

As she settles in as Krannert’s new associate dean of undergraduate programs, economics professor Kelly Blanchard is looking forward to continuing the work of her predecessor, Charlene Sullivan, who retired in 2022 following 44 years on the faculty.

“Post-COVID, I think there are opportunities for us to take lessons learned and improve on some things that we've started doing because of the pandemic, improve on things we were already doing, and make changes based on what we've learned,” Blanchard says. “I’m excited about taking on the new role.”

Blanchard, who earned her PhD from Purdue in 1996 and joined the faculty in 2001, has been widely recognized for her time in the classroom, including being inducted in 2017 to the Purdue Teaching Academy. Blanchard was also honored by the business school educational website Poets & Quants, which named her among its “Top 50 Undergraduate Professors” of 2018. 

“I think my teaching experience gives me a different perspective on where students might need extra support,” she says. “I’ve also had two daughters graduate from Purdue, so that helps connect me as a parent.”

One priority for Blanchard will be making Krannert’s undergraduate program more focused on innovation and experiential learning. “That can mean providing training for our instructors to make sure that they're using up-to-date technologies, or it can mean giving students more opportunities to share their experiences with internships, study abroad, and course projects,” she says.

An example is Blanchard’s use of Hotseat, a real-time discussion application developed by Information Technology at Purdue to gather instant, in-class feedback on students’ understanding of course material. She says it makes her courses more organized, easy to follow and relevant to the decisions that students will be making in their careers.

“I enjoy trying to figure out how individual students learn,” Blanchard says. “I know what worked best for me as a student, but I’m always interested in experimenting with new approaches and new technologies, especially ones that can improve the learning environment in large lecture courses.”

Another area of focus will be expanding undergraduate research. “We have research opportunities for students who are in our upper division courses and getting close to the end of their time at Purdue, but I'd like to see more opportunities for students to get involved earlier,” she says.

Blanchard will also direct efforts to expand the offerings and programming of the Larsen Leaders Academy and the Brock-Wilson Center for Women in Management, both of which were launched under Sullivan’s tenure.

“We want our students to have a transformative experience at Krannert,” Blanchard says. “From new majors to research centers to leadership initiatives, we’re innovating our undergraduate curriculum to evolve with industry and better prepare students for careers.”