Safety Program Expands

Collaboration with Granite State College for online master’s degree

The Safety and Occupational Health Applied Science department at Keene State College has been busy.

Photos contributed by Dr. Wayne Hartz

Photos contributed by Dr. Wayne Hartz

On Thursday, Feb. 22, and Friday, Feb. 23, the department hosted a job fair in the Technology, Design and Safety (TDS) Center at KSC.

The Student Section of the American Society of Safety Professionals also hosted a professional development conference those same days.

The department is also currently working with Granite State College on an online master’s degree program.

KSC is collaborating with Granite State College, the leading public provider for online degree programs in New Hampshire, according to their website, to create an online master’s degree for the safety program.

KSC Professor of Safety and Occupational Health Applied Science Dr. Wayne Hartz said, “Melinda [Treadwell] and the president of Granite State [College] said, ‘Hey, let’s partner up. We’ll bring the technical safety program, you guys help us with how do we do this online.’ It’s the perfect synergy.”

According to both the Dean of Professional and Graduate Studies Dr. Karrie Kalich and Hartz, the safety program at KSC is a strong and successful program, but is limited geographically.

“Who’s going to want to drive on a Saturday morning more than a couple hours? Imagine if we put that online and students could work on it when they want to. It opens doors,” Hartz said.

As for who specifically is interested in this online program, Kalich said it is a combination.

“Right now, it’s a real mix of recent grads and established professionals, which creates a real rich classroom environment because your new grads are bringing their theoretical understanding of the field,” she said. “Then you compliment that with folks who have been in the field for a number of years and can bring a lot of rich, real world experiences into the classroom for students to consider and learn from,” Kalich said.

The online program is expected to officially be available by fall of 2018.

The safety job fair held Feb. 22 and 23 for safety majors hosted about 45 employers.

Kalich said, “Bringing employers on campus to interview students for both summer practicums and internships, as well as primary employment, is an incredibly rich experience for students.”

Students were able to meet with employers from multiple companies and talk with them about the safety and occupational health field.

Kalich also said that the job fair benefits faculty.

“It also really helps to keep our program relevant. Our faculty members in safety stay well-connected to industry and are constantly learning about what’s happening in the field and then bringing those theories back to the classroom which helps bring the theory to life,” Kalich said.

The safety department had to actually turn away multiple employers who wanted to attend because of a lack of space.

There is already discussion about moving the job fair to a larger venue for next year.

“Because we did the job fair in the TDS Center, there were actually employers we had to turn away because we couldn’t accommodate any more tables,” Kalich said.

The professional development conference that took place Thursday, Feb. 22 and Friday, Feb. 23. was another opportunity for safety students to meet with people working in the field and gain more knowledge about that career path.

The conference started with a “kick-off breakfast” that was followed by the keynote speaker, Carl Hyland, who, according to Kalich, “delivered a really passionate and exciting message around what’s happening in the field.”

Students could then choose from a variety of topics delivered by industry partners to hear and learn more about it.

The conference was a major networking opportunity for many safety majors.

KSC safety major Connor Schleicher, who assisted in the planning and implementation of the conference, said, “Holding a student-run professional development conference is important because it highlights the growth and success of the Keene State safety program…it allows both students and professionals to find inspiration and connections.”

Rachel Vitello can be contacted at rvitello@kscequinox.com

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