University of Wisconsin - Stout

Our response to the PRC Consultant Report is as follows:

Recommendations to the Program Director

  1. Continue to infuse appreciation for diversity throughout the program’s curriculum and assess the level of diversity content in courses during the upcoming curriculum review process.
  2. Consider adding a required certification exam to the program.  The recommendation indicates the certifications to consider are ASP or LM.
  3. Improve the recruitment of new students.  The current system of recruitment needs to be re-examined and revised in order to stem future declines in enrollment.
  4. Investigate ABET accreditation.  The program should continue to monitor changes in ABET accreditation requirements to determine the appropriateness for this program.
  5. Assess and minimize overlap between Risk Management in Loss Control I and Loss Control II.

Response from the Program Director

Diversity content in curriculum

In collaboration with the M.S. in Risk Control Advisory Committee, the entire curriculum in Risk Control will be reviewed.  The primary purpose of the curriculum review is to determine if the program is providing students with the competencies needed to be effective in professional careers in risk control.  During the curriculum review, reviewers will be instructed to identify opportunities where diversity content could be considered for integration.

Professional certification

The “ASP,” Associated Safety Professional, is not a certification.  The ASP is a temporary designation.  It denotes that an individual has met academic requirement for the “CSP” (Certified Professional Exam) and has passed the Safety Fundamentals Examination.  Based on my professional judgment I can speculate what is being recommended is to consider adding the certification exam for the “CSP.”  In order to qualify for the examination one must meet a minimum of five different criteria.  One criterion is meeting safety work experience requirement of four years.  Out of the thirty-seven students currently enrolled in the M.S. in Risk Control Program, only two or three will meet this criterion, and one of them already has the certification (25 years of safety experience).  Based on the above discussion, this is not considered a feasible recommendation.

If the recommendation would be to have graduates sit for the ASP, this is also not practical.  They would still have to accumulate the needed work experience to take the Comprehensive Practice Examination to be awarded the CSP.

If anyone has a desire to be certified as a safety professional, the recommended process would be to first qualify to sit for the exam.  That would involve meeting all of the criteria, taking the Safety Fundamental Examination for the ASP, and as soon as possible (not four or more years later) taking the Comprehensive Practice Examination for the CSP.

The second part of this recommendation suggests the program consider adding a certification examination for the LM.  There is no such certification or designation in the safety, health, and environmental profession.  However, I can speculate what is being recommended here is to consider requiring students to sit for the ALCM – Associate in Loss Control Management.  If this is the case, this designation would be much more practical than the CSP.  However, the ALCM designation has been discontinued.

In my opinion, it is not practical to require students to sit for the ASP/CSP, and not possible to sit for the ALCM.  The program faculty appreciates the spirit in which this recommendation is being made; to ensure as much as possible that program graduates develop competencies needed to be effective in the risk control profession.  With this in mind, a new “Assessment in Major” process has been developed for the M.S. in Risk Control Program (implemented fall semester 2000).  The new assessment plan has three phases, the third phase of the assessment process is an objective examination based on the self-assessment examination developed by the Board of Certified Safety Professional (gatekeepers for the CSP), Insurance Institute of America (past gatekeepers for the discontinued ALCM) and America Board of Industrial Hygiene (gatekeepers for the CIH – Certified Industrial Hygienist) (another certification in the risk control field).  The results of our assessment process will provide some indication on how students might perform on certification/designation examinations.

Improve recruitment

In collaboration with the M.S. in Risk Control Program Advisory Committee, Risk Control core faculty, the Graduate College, and the College of Technology, Engineering & Management, strategies will be developed for recruiting students to pursue the M.S. in Risk Control.  These strategies will be in place in the 2002-03 academic year.

Since this report, efforts to promote the Risk Control program include participation in a variety of professional development activities for faculty and students.  Research Day activities, sponsored by professional associations and UW-Stout provide students and faculty promotional opportunities.  Professional association involvement also allows for the development and maintenance of relationships with stakeholders.  The web site for the Risk Control program has also been updated.  Print materials, including promotional posters and brochures will be updated as well.

Investigate ABET accreditation

The M.S. in Risk Control Program Director will continue to monitor the feasibility of ABET accreditation.  This will be accomplished through active involvement with the newly developed Academic Practice Specialty of the American Society of Safety Engineers.  One of the primary goals of the Academic Practice Specialty is to have an active role in influencing the current accreditation standard-setting process.

Course overlap

The M.S. in Risk Control Program does not have a Risk Management in Loss Control I and II course sequence.  The program has a Risk Management in Loss Control course and a Risk Control Management course.  These are two different courses and do not have to be taken in sequential order.  However, these two courses will be reviewed when the entire curriculum in risk control is reviewed.  It will be assessed for unnecessary overlap.

Recommendations to the Department Chair

  1. Conduct a PRC follow-up survey of students in two years to determine if improvements are being made in the area of diversity awareness, including classroom climate and give a status report indicating findings.
  2. Make every effort to maximize the number of qualified women and minorities in the applicant pool for the current faculty position.
  3. Continue to develop a state-of-the-art dedicated risk control laboratory.

Response from the Department Chair

Follow-up survey

A follow-up study will be conducted in two years.  Students enrolled in the program will be surveyed; the staff and department will review the university conducted graduate follow-up data as well to assess the issues raised in this recommendation.

Qualified women and minorities in the applicant pool

The search and screen process for the current faculty position has been completed to the point of requesting approval to extend an offer to the preferred candidate.  Efforts were made within the committee to afford as much flexibility in the interpretation of the minimum requirements to maximize the number of qualified women and minorities in the applicant pool.  Ethnicity of the applicants is not known, other than for the final four candidates, all of which were Caucasian males.

The committee used the Chronicle of Higher Education to solicit applications; this yielded more female and minority candidates than the trade journals alone in previous searches.

State-of-the-art laboratory

The chair will continue to support the risk control faculty in garnering both internal and external funding for the laboratory.  This area did receive laboratory modification funding for the 2001-02 academic year that is being used to upgrade the physical surroundings of the classrooms, including furnishings and carpet.  The next lab mod request will be for equipment in the risk control lab.  The department will continue to work closely with the industrial donor that provides annual updates of materials currently used in the lab.

Recommendation to the Dean

Continue to develop a state-of-the-art dedicated risk control laboratory. A more up-to-date laboratory with work stations that give students direct experience with the control of risk stemming from a variety of key industrial processes would greatly enhance the quality of the program.

Response from the Dean

Efforts to improve laboratory facilities for all undergraduate and graduate programs housed in the college are a continuous challenge.  Much success to update and develop new laboratories is accomplished through the university lab-modification plan; however the funding available through lab-modification is inadequate.  As a result, extramural funding through agencies such as NIOSH and business/industrial donations has been obtained and used for the current Risk Control laboratory.

The Dean’s office is fully aware of the need to upgrade and develop a dedicated risk control laboratory with work stations and applications for electrical safety, pneumatic energy systems, machine guarding, fire safety, floor slip resistance and other important safety issues.  A capital campaign for the college is underway.  In the meantime, requests through the university lab-modification initiative and other business donations will be requested for the Risk Control laboratories.