Featured Colleague – Laura Blasi


By Stephanie McMillen

Laura Blasi, director of institutional assessment, supports the work of faculty and staff to strengthen student learning outcomes assessment.

In this role, she also evaluates results from national surveys such as the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), and helps faculty members effectively use the new Student Assessment of Instruction (SAI) tool, which is administered internally in every course, every term. Laura is also the go-to person for employees who need help designing and implementing surveys focused on learning outcomes using Qualtrics.

“The best part of this work,” Laura shared, “is getting to know faculty and staff individually, seeing how much they care for the students, and supporting their efforts to improve teaching and learning.”

Laura joined Valencia in February of 2012, with five years of experience directing the academic program review process at Saint Leo University in St. Leo, Florida. There, she supported their Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) reaffirmation process and was responsible for reporting at the state and national levels as part of their institutional research office.

Laura has also taught research and evaluation methods at the graduate-level during the past 10 years, with five years as a full-time faculty member at the University of Central Florida (UCF).

Most recently, Laura was instrumental in helping to coordinate Valencia’s first Community College Conference on Learning Assessment, which attracted practitioners from across the country.

“Laura, who has a witty sense of humor, served for a year on the conference committee along with Kurt Ewen, Wendi Dew, and Celine Kavalec-Miller,” said Becky Gallup, director of conferencing and college events. “She was instrumental in the conference’s design and development by contributing to the selection of tracks, speakers, and session content and by co-presenting two sessions.”

Reflecting on her work over the past several months with those who helped plan the Learning Assessment conference, Laura said, “While the collaboration was fun and rewarding, I also came to realize that it was the participation of colleagues across the college that made this event a success.”

As Laura begins her second year at the college, she is looking forward to Assessment Day 2013, which will be held in early May. At this event, “faculty and professional staff members will gather to review their assessment results, discuss their findings, and create plans for improvement to use in the next academic year,” Laura explained.

Laura’s prior work includes program development with the Association for American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and program evaluation for the U.S. Department of Education and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Laura earned her doctorate degree in education from the University of Virginia, her master’s degree in English from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and her undergraduate degree in English from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Know of someone doing great work at the college? Send their name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu so they can be one of our featured colleagues!


  • Lisa Macon said:

    Yay, assessment! We are very lucky to have Laura.

    PMTue, 26 Feb 2013 20:42:40 +0000Tue, 26 Feb 2013 20:42:40 +0000pm13,8:42 pm

  • Andrew Ray said:

    Laura –
    You have proven to be an excellent addition to the Valencia family, and it's been a pleasure working with you on improving the assessment process. Well done!

    PMTue, 26 Feb 2013 20:46:00 +0000Tue, 26 Feb 2013 20:46:00 +0000pm13,8:46 pm

  • JennylyC said:

    So happy to see this feature! Laura, you are an wonderful addition to the Valencia family! Good Luck on Assessment Day! I know it will be great – because you are involved in it 🙂

    PMTue, 26 Feb 2013 20:57:41 +0000Tue, 26 Feb 2013 20:57:41 +0000pm13,8:57 pm

  • Carol Traynor said:

    English major and data guru. What an awesome combination!

    PMTue, 26 Feb 2013 21:49:40 +0000Tue, 26 Feb 2013 21:49:40 +0000pm13,9:49 pm

  • CathyPenfoldNavarro said:

    Laura, It is wonderful to work with you! You are exceptionally skilled at helping faculty and administrators develop and implement new assessment skills. Your work with the SLS team allowed us to mine such rich, authentic data on student learning — and we are able to do our work at the college so much more effectively because of this project. Thanks for your leadership.

    AMWed, 27 Feb 2013 09:20:47 +0000Wed, 27 Feb 2013 09:20:47 +0000am13,9:20 am

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