Photo of University Hall

View Profile Page

Faculty/Staff Login:

Blanca Elizabeth Vega

Associate Professor, Educational Leadership

Download vCard


Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Blanca Elizabeth Vega is the daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants. Dr. Vega’s identity as a multi-racial, Spanish speaking, low-income, and first generation college student continues to influence her scholarly and political work today.

Dr. Vega is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator of the MA in Higher Education at Montclair State University. She earned a doctorate (Ed.D.) from the Higher and Postsecondary Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. During that time, she also worked as Director of the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) at Marymount Manhattan College. Overall, she has worked in various higher education settings as an administrator for 16 years prior to becoming a faculty member

Since 2017, Dr. Vega has led the coordination and implementation of Montclair State University’s Master of Arts program in Higher Education. She has taught courses such as Leadership and Supervision in Higher Education; Economics and Finance of Higher Education; Diversity and Equity in Higher Education; and Global Perspectives in Higher Education.

Dr. Vega's scholarship broadly focuses on equity, access, and success in higher education among underserved populations. Her primary area of research situates racism as one of multiple barriers that can impact higher education experiences and success – not just for students, but also for administrators and faculty. Dr. Vega also studies the role of higher eduction in perpetuating immigrant illegality and racialization of Hispanic Serving Institutions.

2023 - HEAL (Higher Education Academic Leadership) Fellow. Montclair State University. Exploring Racial Responsiveness in Faculty Development.

2023 - 1619 Project Education Network. HBCUs Matter: A K-20 Collaborative Project for The Pulitzer Center’s 1619 Project Education Network

2023 - National Association of Campus Activities. HSI Training and Student Leadership: Consciousness and Character

2023 - Channing Briggs Foundation grant from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). Racialized Organizational Conflict Training for Higher Education Professionals

2022 - Spencer Foundation Small Grant. Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) professionals experiences working with undocumented students and related policies

2020 - Research Mentoring Grant, awarded by the National Academy of Education and Spencer Foundation


Vega, B. E. (2024). Racial conflict in a higher education policy vacuum. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 32.

Vega, B.E. (2022) Delegitimizing Racial Conflict: Color Evasive Ideologies and HESA Professionals. The Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity (JCSCORE)

Vega, B.E. (2022). Serving Black Communities at HSIs. About Campus

Vega, B.E., Liera, R., Boveda, M. (2022). Hispanic Serving Institutions as Racialized Organizations: Elevating Intersectional Consciousness to Reframe the "H" in HSIs. AERA Open

Vega, B.E. (2022). Becoming First Generation. Journal of Multicultural Education

Vega, B. E., Nienhusser, H. K., & Saavedra, M. (2022) “When I Would Hurt”: Undocumented Students’ Responses to Obstacles Faced During the College Choice Process. Educational Forum.

Vega, B.E. (2021). What is the Real Belief on Campus? Perceptions of Racial Conflict at an MSI and HWI. Teachers College Record.

Leon, R. A., & Vega, B. E. (2019). Perceptions of State-Regulated Reform: Desire, Dedication, and Uncertainty in Policy Implementation. Higher Education Policy, 1-21.

Vega, B.E. (2019). Lessons from an Administrative Closure. The Curious Case of Black Space at an MSI. Frontiers in Education.


Vega, B.E. (2023). Black Spaces: Resistance and Critical Hope in Higher Education. Prepared for Critical Conversations: Black Scholarship in a White Academy edited volume. Editors: Dr. Alonzo Flowers, Drexel University; Dr. Robert T. Palmer, Howard University; Dr. Sosanya Jones, Howard University

Vega, B.E. (2022). Notes from a Scholar Mami: Establishing Boundaries, Building Community, and Sharing Strategies for Advancing in the Teaching-oriented Institution. Prepared for Bridging the Research-Practice Nexus: Resources, Tools, and Strategies to Navigate Mid-Career in the Academy. Co-Editors: Drs. Vicki L Baker, Aimee LaPointe Terosky

Abeyta, M. E., Acevedo, N., Burgos-López, L. N., Cammarota, J., Labandera, E., McNamee, T. C., ... & Vega, B. E. (2022). Working beyond borders to cultivate knowledge and support for Puerto Rican colleges and universities: Post-traditional student characteristics, STEM outcomes, and financial context in Puerto Rico. Association for the Study of Higher Education.

Vega, B.E. & Rivera Rodas, E. (2020). Centering Central American Students in Higher Education Research: A Proposal for Central American Student Self-Report (CASSR). In C. Salinas, N. Garcia, & J. Cisneros (Eds.), Studying Latinx/a/o Students in Higher Education: A Critical Analysis of Concepts, Theory, and Methodologies. Routledge


Invited Guest on Que Pasa HSI? Hosted by Dr. Gina Ann Garcia

Invitation to appear on The View from Venus a podcast related to the University of Venus blog at Inside Higher Ed:

Invited Guest on Encuentros Politicos hosted by Dr. Edwin Mayorga: “Higher education, futuros under the Biden/Harris Administration”: (March 26, 2021)

Invited Columnist: A look forward: How the 1776 report protects Trump and other racists. January 2021. Latino Rebels.

Invited Columnist: Call me Doctora. December 2020. Latino Rebels.

Invited Guest on Encuentros Politicos hosted by Dr. Edwin Mayorga: “Radio: Racial Complexities of College Admissions, a convo w/ Drs. OiYan Poon and Blanca Vega” (April 14, 2019)

Quoted in Slate: “How Exactly Will SAT Test Takers’ “Adversity Score” Be Calculated?” (May 21, 2019)

Quoted in The New York Times: “Colorblind Notions Aside, Colleges Grapple with Racial Tension” (February 24, 2014)

Parenting and the Pandemic - Wallet Hub:


Dr. Vega specializes in higher education access, equity, and success. Dr. Vega has publications in the areas of higher education finance, undocumented immigrants and policymaking, campus racial climate and culture, Minority Serving Institutions and racialized organizational conflict; and racial ideologies in Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) and predominantly white Institutions (PWI).