Charles Blaich

Director of the Center of Inquiry and Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium


University of Connecticut, BA, MS, and PhD


Charles (Charlie) Blaich joined the Center of Inquiry in 2002. In his role, Charlie — along with Kathy and Kelly — is responsible for making the Center of Inquiry’s mission come true: to strengthen liberal arts education for all students, regardless of who they are or what privileges they have.  

To accomplish this mission, Charlie works closely with Kathy and Kelly to design, implement, evaluate, and improve everything that the Center of Inquiry does. With Kathy, Charlie visits and collaborates with people at colleges, universities, and higher education organizations across the country to aid their efforts to improve the education of their students.

Charlie’s career has always revolved around education and research. He began teaching in 1981 while he was in graduate school and continued to teach at the college level, at least part time, until 2007. Charlie has taught at a large research university, a regional state university, a community college, and a liberal arts college. He taught in the Psychology Department at Wabash College from 1991 to 2002, when the Center of Inquiry began.

In addition to teaching, Charlie has also conducted various kinds of research. From 1981 to 2002, he studied communication in mallard ducklings, then Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, and finally zebra finches. In 2002, Charlie switched his research efforts to studying student learning and how organizations change or resist change.

Charlie believes the Center of Inquiry’s research and services can help colleges and universities better serve their students and says, “We work by finding people who are trying to make their colleges or universities better and helping them in any way we can. Most of our focus is in helping these people identify the kinds of data that they can use to both focus and advance their improvement efforts. We then work with them to figure out how to use the data in a way that will have the most benefit for their students given the culture, history, and organization of their college or university. At the end of the day, finding a way to make the data work for students is more important and more difficult than finding the data itself. ‘Finding a way’ is what we’re good at. If people working at a college or university are trying to improve the quality of education for their students and they are willing to use evidence to support their efforts, we can help them.”