How can the public be assured of competency in those professing to protect its occupational health and safety (OSH)? Currently, in the U.S. there are 193 higher education OSH programs, 186 with baccalaureate degrees with over 55 different degree titles. This research seeks to define minimum OSH baccalaureate graduate core competencies across all programs by asking: What would employers look for in a portfolio to demonstrate competence in a new OSH graduate? Professional members of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) participated as subject matter experts in an anonymous online survey to provide framing data.
The ASSE Educational Standards Committee and Framing the Profession Task Force engaged in an action research method of facilitated discussion and consensus building, (Modified Nominal Group Technique), distilling 741 portfolio examples to 22 competency themes, and 11 learning outcomes. Recommendations include: establish a standardized set of core competencies of evidence based learning outcomes across all OSH and related programs; look to the Nursing and Education profession's processes of shifting from prescribed courses to a learning outcomes model; shift pedagogy to student-centered, highly engaged, outcomes-based approach; enhance educational content for 21st century knowledge and skills, including: teamwork, internship experience, organizational skills, ethics, critical thinking, scientific method, continuous improvement, systems thinking, sustainable applications, and strategic planning; enhance partnerships between professional safety associations and higher education for collaboration and consensus building; and collaborate with global OSH associations. This presentation summarizes a dissertation, available electronically at the Ohio Link ETD Center at http://ohiolink.edu/etd.