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Setting Student Safety Knowledge to Practice

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Chemical Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Elizabeth M. Hill University of Minnesota - Duluth

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Dr. Hill is focused on active learning teaching methods and research for engineering education. After receiving her Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Hill spent several years working on polymer processing research and advanced materials manufacturing. She has an extensive background in system development for water purification as well as membrane manufacturing. She is an avid hiker and enjoys spending time with her family in the Boundry Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota.

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In a senior-year unit operations laboratory, students study the fundamental principles and practical applications of Chemical Engineering through hands-on experiences. The injection of safety issues at multiple formative and summative evaluation points has been established to promote meaningful hands-on experiences with safety topics. Existing resources from the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE) and the University’s EH&S program are interwoven into classroom discussions at the onset of the semester and revisited through rotating student groups acting as leaders for safety discussions during the first five to ten minutes of each laboratory period.

The culminating formative assignment provides students with the realistic scenario of needing to investigate weaknesses to safety layers of protection. The students define the scope of a risk assessment project, undertake any necessary research to complete it and summarize results in a technical memo. Through preliminary investigation of a topic, the student must judge if the subject is worthy of a full risk assessment. After scope approval is granted, the topic is fully investigated and the student is encouraged to take corrective actions directly or present any agreed upon significant findings to the appropriate unit or person that has the authority to make changes. This open-ended student-designed risk assessment offers more realistic communication experiences; introduces the concept of project shaping; and requires the application of safety knowledge gained to be put into practice. Qualitative student and staff response to this approach is presented.

Hill, E. M. (2016, June), Setting Student Safety Knowledge to Practice Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26169

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