News & Events

UA Safety Program Supervisor Elected President of State Chapter


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Randy Easterling, safety program supervisor for The University of Alabama’s Safe State Consultation Program, has been elected president of the Alabama Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers, a professional association of occupational safety and health professionals.

Easterling is a certified industrial hygienist in comprehensive practice by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene and a Certified Safety Professional in comprehensive practice by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.

He is a professional member of ASSE, a full member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and a diplomat of the Academy of Industrial Hygiene.

He is a member of the safety committee for the Associated Builders and Contractors, the safety committee and Fall Conference Planning Committee for Manufacture Alabama and a planning committee for the Central Alabama Construction Safety Conference.

The Alabama Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers was established in 1938 and has 374 members. The Alabama chapter consists of the Tuscaloosa/West Alabama Section, the Northeast Alabama Section, the Auburn/Montgomery Section, the Auburn University Student Section and the UAB Student Section.

ASSE is active in providing educational and professional development opportunities to its members. The Alabama chapter has an active scholarship program providing three annual awards to students.

Jerry Pate on The University of Alabama's New College LifeTrack Program

         
Jerry Pate originally attended The University of Alabama when he was an unknown twenty-something who was pretty good at golf. But, after his success on the PGA tour his senior year, he left UA. However, thanks to influential mentors, excellent advisors and a daughter who challenged his competitive spirit, Jerry was able to return to UA through New College LifeTrack and earn his degree nearly twenty years after he first left. 

UA's Culverhouse College of Commerce Offers New Marketing Analytics Online Degree

A leader in business analytics education, the University of Alabama's Culverhouse College of Commerce offers a new, online degree— Master of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Marketing Analytics online. UA began offering the specialized program this spring semester.

Industry demand in the growing field of marketing analytics and requests from distance students inspired leaders at UA and Culverhouse to design a program for individuals seeking to develop data-driven, decision-making skills without sacrificing their daytime commitments or without needing to relocate to the Tuscaloosa area.

"The job market in the area of marketing analytics is exploding with opportunities," said Dr. Arthur Allaway, professor and program coordinator for the MSM with a specialization in Marketing Analytics. "From retailers to packaged-goods manufacturers to sports franchises, the creation of huge databases from opt-in websites and loyalty programs has created a desperate need for analysts who can combine a marketing mind with advanced analytical skills."

Students in this program will take traditional marketing courses such as marketing project management and global market management, and more specialized courses in advanced marketing analysis and data mining. Students will also develop proficiency with software such as SAS/SAS SQL, which is highly sought after by employers. The program is taught by the same on-campus faculty who are leading the nation in this area.

UA's Culverhouse College of Commerce has been a leader in big data and business analytics education offering the first specialization in the field in 2002 and today the College is underway with construction on the first-of-its kind business analytics lab in the nation.

For more information on this program, contact Jan Jones, director of specialty master's programs, UA Culverhouse College of Commerce, at 205-348-7221 or jjones@cba.ua.edu.

Edelbrock Named Dean of UA College of Continuing Studies

Dr. Craig S. Edelbrock has been named dean of the College of Continuing Studies at The University of Alabama.

Edelbrock comes to UA from Penn State University where he has served as chancellor of the School of Graduate Professional Studies, associate dean of the Graduate School and professor of human development and family studies since 2008. His appointment at UA is effective Jan. 14.

"Dr. Edelbrock's record of achievement in developing innovative and effective education and training programs is outstanding," said UA Interim Provost Joe Benson. "We look forward to his leadership and vision for our College of Continuing Studies."

As chancellor of Penn State's School of Graduate Professional Studies, Edelbrock has led and managed Penn State's campus near Philadelphia serving approximately 1,400 degree-seeking students, 2,500 students in continuing education courses and more than 35,000 conference and workshop attendees. He has also directed the operation and expansion of online degree programs, corporate training and continuing education, conference services and community outreach, and developed education and training partnerships with corporations and government agencies.

"I am thrilled to be joining UA during this extraordinary period of growth. I am looking forward to the College continuing its long tradition of innovation in extending UA resources to ever wider populations of students," Edelbrock said.

UA's College of Continuing Studies offers a wide variety of degree and non-degree programs through flexible learning formats, both by distance and on-campus; professional development and training programs; environmental and industrial programs; and numerous conferences, workshops and other programs.

Edelbrock served as associate dean of the graduate school at the University of Georgia from 2005-2008 and as associate department head and professor-in-charge of graduate studies at Penn State from 2001-2005.

His previous positions included director of research and associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Massachusetts and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of numerous reports and academic publications.

Edelbrock holds a doctorate from Oregon State University and a bachelor's degree from Western Washington State College.

10 Things to Know About the College of Continuing Studies 

1. The College of Continuing Studies was founded in 1919 and quickly grew into five extension centers located in Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Gadsden and Huntsville, Alabama. These centers have since evolved into UAB, AUM, USA, UAH and UA Gadsden Center.

2. The college delivers The University of Alabama to a truly diverse student population beginning with reading programs for elementary school students to UA Early College for high school students to training and online degrees for working adults all the way up to seniors in the OLLI Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

3. The College consists of four main divisions: Bama At Work, Bama By Distance, UA SafeState and The Bryant Conference Center.

4. Bama At Work is the College's business-focused division and provides customized employee development training, professional certificates and conferences to companies across the region. Typically more than 11,000 individuals per year take advantage of the diverse offerings through Bama At Work.

5. Over 10% of UA's entire student population is enrolled in a distance degree program through the college with 3560 students enrolled for fall 2014.

6. The College offers 18 undergraduate, 32 graduate and 15 doctoral degrees online to distance students around the world.

7. Through its New College LifeTrack program, the College is able to review a student's prior learning experiences, including those obtained on the job, and award college credit if certain criteria are met.

8. The college launched UA Early College in 2010 and has since provided UA courses to more than 4,000 sophomore, junior and senior high school students in 30 states. In 2013-2014 over 1,400 sophomores, juniors, and senior high school students earned more than 6,500 UA college credit hours.

9. Through its ACCESS program, the College operates one of three support centers in Alabama that provides teachers access to instruction and course content that may not otherwise be available to 8-12th graders in the state.

10. The College is home to UA SafeState and the region's only OSHA Training Institute - Education Center. SafeState offers environmental consulting services, safety and health consultation services, training, and environmental accreditation.

UA Distance Learning Student Joins the Crimson White Staff in Coveted Position

When UA LifeTrack student Anthony Sisco came to the University for orientation, he had no idea he would have the opportunity to get involved in a most unexpected way. Sisco joined the staff of the university's campus newspaper, The Crimson White, an accomplishment that is unique because he doesn't live in Tuscaloosa. Like most UA LifeTrack students, he is a distance learner and lives in Georgia.

"While on campus this summer, I picked up a copy of The Crimson White and was impressed with the quality and layout," said Sisco. "Their opinion page had a cartoon on it, and since that is one of the things I like to do, I submitted a cartoon relevant to Alabama that I had been thinking about for a while."

Shortly after submitting his cartoon, Sisco was contacted by Patrick Crowley, opinion editor for The Crimson White, asking to see more of his work and eventually offering him a job.

"Anthony is an excellent cartoonist," said Crowley. "He can sketch, draw and color cartoons speaking about any situation with a great touch of seriousness and humor."

Sisco is just one of more than 325 students enrolled at The University of Alabama through the New College LifeTrack program, a degree program through which working adults can earn a bachelor's degree from the university.

"It has been a long delayed dream for me to come to the Capstone, and the LifeTrack program has provided me with the perfect opportunity to finish my degree from Alabama, even though I live four hours away" Sisco said.

Sisco says he was elated to be asked to join the Crimson White staff and has since submitted more than twenty cartoons that are scheduled to run weekly. For more information regarding The University of Alabama New College LifeTrack program, please contact Cindy Franks at 205-348-7064 or visit our website http://learnon.ua.edu.

Inaugural Conference Announced to Address Environmental Management Challenges in the Southeast

New federal regulations and heightened community awareness have created challenging environmental compliance and management issues for companies across the Southeast. To address these issues from a real world perspective, the UA SafeState division of The University of Alabama, and its partners, is planning "The Alabama Environmental Conference" on October 20-21 in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Conference planners from the City of Mobile, ZF Chassis Systems, Alabama Gas Corporation, and other companies have designed the conference to create dialog and promote ideas to bring about meaningful, sustainable solutions to real environmental challenges that most companies are facing today. Individuals benefitting from attending the conference are those responsible for environmental issues within their companies, particularly manufacturers, utilities and municipalities.

"There are many conferences that focus on a specific area of the environment, but this is the only conference in the Southeast to address broader issues including energy and resources, waste reduction, compliance, management and sustainability," said John Sikes, acting Executive Director of UA SafeState at The University of Alabama.

Keynote speaker, Mayor Sandy Stimpson, will address how a proactive approach to environmental management can help enhance economic development and prosperity for the region. Additionally, environmental leaders with expertise in the Southeastern United States will lead breakout sessions over one and a half days to help attendees take away practical solutions they can apply right away.

"This is a teaching conference, but it's not theoretical in subject material. Companies of all shapes and sizes are getting hit with new regulations and challenges from all sides and they need help. We chose our breakout sessions carefully to deliver value to the attendees...information they can really use," stated planning committee member Kim Kimbrell, of automotive supplier ZF Chassis Systems, LLC.

For more information about the First Annual Alabama Environmental Conference to be held at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Alabama, on October 20-21, 2014, please contact Jason Brasfield at (205) 348-9101 or visit the conference website at alabamaenvironmentalconference.ua.edu.

The University of Alabama Goes Global to Improve Workplace Safety

Although they have intelligent, hardworking and motivated employees, many countries around the world still lack resources needed to create safer work environments. According to the World Health Organization, Disease Control Priorities Project, developing countries bear more than 80 percent of the global burden of occupational disease and injury.

To help lower the hazards of workplace safety all over the world, UA SafeState, a division of The University of Alabama College of Continuing Studies, offers online safety training (e-learning) in areas such as Electrical Safety and Health and Safety Management. These courses are now beginning to impact workplace safety in underserved areas around the world.

Yusuf Jin, electrical engineer and Kenya native, says there has recently been a high need for electrical safety training in Kenya. "Electrical safety is a real issue here," said Jin, "Unlike in the developed world where you have regulations that are enforced, in developing countries like Kenya we still do not have this as part of a regulation or legal statute."

There have recently been quite a number of incidents reported to the media, the most notable of which being the main international airport for Kenya burning down in August 2013 due to an electrical fire. Nairobi Airport is the largest serving East Africa and was severely impacted for months.

As a way to help prevent these type of problems, Jin recently enrolled in UA SafeState's e-learning course for electrical safety.

"I personally wanted to be part of a solution that will help bring knowledge into the country and assist in reducing these incidences," Jin said, "I found that from all the institutions that offered the electrical safety course(s), The University of Alabama was the only one that provided an e-learning option that was quite affordable."

Jin has completed the electrical safety certificate program "Qualified Electrical Worker" and has returned to complete the "Electrical Safety Auditor" and Train the Trainer for Unqualified Electrical workers ...Machine Operator certificate programs.

"E-learning is a great way for people like me to continue learning with flexible timing," said Jin, "I am now a certified electrical safety auditor and a trainer on electrical safety, all in just 5 months."

These certificate courses meet Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Energy (DOE) and National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA).

For more information about these programs, please contact Tiffany Blount, Coordinator-Public Information at 877-508-7246 or tblount@ccs.ua.edu, or go to www.alabamasafestate.ua.edu. 

The University of Alabama: Moving from classroom theory to workplace performance

As the economy improves and the labor market evolves, so does the need for new skillsets in the workforce. Companies are once again investing in employee development and fine-tuning their management processes and organizational competencies in order to prepare for the changing demands of a global market. The latest research from Destiny Solutions, a leading innovator of lifelong learning business solutions, reflects this growing trend with companies. According to Destiny, 70 percent of employers felt their employees would need continuous learning just to keep up with their jobs. Yet, the survey revealed that only 39 percent of employers have internal programs in place or contract to provide training in-house.

Additionally, company leaders are realizing that a significant amount of their senior leadership and most experienced workers will be retiring in the next several years, taking valuable knowledge and experience with them.

According to Leroy Hurt, Associate Dean of Continuing Studies, "We have learned from organizations that they feel an urgency about transferring knowledge to younger employees and also preparing younger employees to step into positions of greater responsibility. Companies will lean on their Chief Learning Officers to ensure comprehensive talent development programs that succeed in those different dimensions."

To help firms overcome such challenges, The University of Alabama, through its outreach arm, The College of Continuing Studies, (CCS) has been working with businesses large and small to identify training needs and management systems to address their particular problems.

For example, the college partnered with Allstate Financial's Southeast Region headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, to create the multi-phase High Performance Leadership development program to address specific company needs and desires to enhance management skills. High Performance Leadership was delivered on-site at Allstate. The CCS team is being lead by Dr. Robert Prescott, a leading expert in the area of executive leadership.

"Telephone interviews, combined with the latest in leadership research, determined the focus of the program," Prescott said, "We then customized our efforts around better communication, influence, decision making and accountability. These four essentials made an excellent launch pad for participants to focus on how to be better managers."

About 80 Allstate field sales leaders have taken part in two half-day training sessions that included determining their current level of leadership understanding, establishing individual leadership goals and developing individual personal plans and actions for achieving those goals.

Participants also received personal coaching phone sessions covering topics of their choice such as sales, people management and time management.

Chad Solomon, a Birmingham field sales leader for Allstate Southeast, was one of the participants in the CCS High Performance Leadership training and said he is already benefitting from the program. "I've finished my 90-day plan and am working on sticking to it, which includes being a good resource to the folks I manage and being more efficient with my time," Solomon stated. "I am also picking up new ideas in the course and am getting great feedback as a result of the things I am implementing."

As the relationship with Allstate has grown, the CCS team has developed other programs to meet Allstate's needs including preparation and coaching sessions for new agent candidates for the insurance licensure exam.

"The University of Alabama staff is delivering a program tailored to address our business challenges and develop leadership competencies that our leaders are already working to perfect," said Kim Barger, Allstate Southeast human resource manager. "Our company is intentional about continual learning for our employees and leaders alike. The UA program delivered the right mix of developmental learning for our leaders customized just for us."

Like the companies it works with, the College of Continuing Studies has evolved and adapted to meet the needs of its business customers. It's no longer about simply offering training certificates and conferences on the UA campus. Companies are demanding more responsiveness and accountability in almost every line item expenditure, especially employee development.

"Our college has always functioned somewhat like a private sector company. That's one of the reasons we have more flexibility than one might think when considering the University of Alabama," said Rebecca Pow, Interim Dean for the College of Continuing Studies. "It really is a great business model. We can bring the extensive resources of a major university to bear on a client's particular problem, when and where they need us."

Another company that CCS partners with is Lisega, in Kodak, Tennessee. Several "star" employees did not have the bachelor's degrees they needed to advance into higher levels of responsibility within the company. With the help of CCS, Lisega has placed two of its employees in the University's online undergraduate mechanical engineering program. Several other employees are currently completing prerequisite credit and by 2015, over ten employees are expected to be participating in the program.

CCS also identified and allayed two primary concerns companies have about making investments in employee development. They are concerned that the employee might leave the company after receiving training and the amount of time employees will be away from their jobs. While it is possible that an employee might leave, data suggests otherwise. In fact, the turnover rate for employees taking advantage of education benefits is reduced by 50 percent.

"These concerns are certainly understandable, but the University has come a long way in removing these barriers," stated Dean Pow. "By working with students to maximize application of transfer credits or evaluating past work experiences for academic credit, UA works to find ways to help students move through their degree program and save tuition costs. Clearly, those strategies benefit both the student and the employer. Many UA degrees are offered online and we can go to the employer's business site to deliver training, thus reducing the amount of time an employee is away from the job," Pow added.

"Help us solve problems in the workplace" has been the cry from the business community. Moving from classroom research and theory to problem solving in the business world is a goal that UA's College of Continuing Studies is happy to fulfill.