Thursday, August 10, 2006
OU professor recognized with ASSE educator award
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
|Charles McGlothlin, assistant professor of Occupational Safety and Health and program director, was recognized by the American Society of Safety Engineers with the Outstanding Safety Educator Award earlier this summer in Seattle, Wash.|
When Charles McGlothlin, assistant professor of Occupational Safety and Health and program director, graduated with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mining engineering from West Virginia University, becoming a respected college professor was the furthest thing from his mind. He went to work for Bethlehem Steel in Pennsylvania. A number of workers were retiring and the new ones had to be trained about the job and new mining regulations. One of the youngest and fresh out of college, McGlothlin was recruited to teach the new employees. Years later, he is being recognized by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) with the Outstanding Safety Educator Award.
“At first I was scared to death,” said McGlothlin of educating the miners. “I didn’t want to be a teacher. But I liked it so much, that later I left mining to go into teaching. I came to appreciate the value of training and education in the workplace.”
McGlothlin filled many training roles as he went up the corporate later. As vice president of operations at KN Energy in Colorado, McGlothlin felt the need to educate others. He left his job to become an assistant professor at Trinidad State Junior College, where he was instrumental in developing an online program and helping the college become accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
After obtaining his doctorate in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University, McGlothlin came to OU in 2002. He helped OU obtain ABET accreditation and start a Master of Science in Safety Management degree program, which was established by the Oakland University Board of Trustees in spring 2006.
McGlothlin was nominated for the award and was evaluated by the ASSE on his quality of teaching, research and publications, ASSE activities, safety related service activities and ASSE student section support. McGlothlin received the ASSE Dr. William E. Tarrants Outstanding Safety Educator Award at the ASSE conference in Seattle, Wash., earlier this summer.
McGlothlin, who did his thesis on experiential learning and how it impacts the college student, believes there is more to college than just lectures in the classroom.
“The classroom is a part of the education, but experiential learning is also important,” said McGlothlin. “The real-world experience ties classes to the world of work.”
As part-president of the ASSE Detroit chapter, McGlothlin has access to many safety resources and often brings in guest speakers, takes students to visit companies and employer sites and gets students involved in internships.
“It’s very important that our students know what they are getting into before they complete the program,” said McGlothlin. “We help them get real experience so they are aware of the responsibilities that safety professionals would have once they are hired out of college.”
McGlothlin gets to know his students and even hosts an annual barbeque for the students. One of them, Renee Hawatmeh, received the ASSE Foundation’s United Parcel Service Diversity Scholarship and credits McGlothlin for her success in the major.
“I never knew anything about occupational safety and health, but Dr. McGlothlin made me really interested in it,” said Hawatmeh.
McGlothlin said he came to OU hoping to help establish a master’s program in safety management and help with the accreditation. Now that both are established, he hopes to help strengthen the program and improve it for students in the future.
“It’s all about continuous improvement. You can have the best program in the country when you are accredited, but you have to show continuous improvement to maintain quality and accreditation,” said McGlothlin. “We plan to work with those in the industry, alumni and students to continue to keep our program strong and competitive.”