Leigh Ann Blunt, a nationally recognized professor in the occupational safety and health field and member of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) for 14 years, is ASSP’s 2020 William E. Tarrants Outstanding Safety Educator.
Blunt, Ed.D., CSP, is a safety sciences professor and chair of the School of Geoscience, Physics and Safety at the University of Central Missouri (UCM), where she has been a faculty member since 1999. She has recruited occupational safety students for two decades by meeting with prospective students and their families, attending career fairs and presenting at regional and national conferences. Blunt has helped many safety sciences students find internships, co-ops and full-time jobs. She resides in Warrensburg, MO, with her husband Troy.
“Dr. Blunt’s priorities always include focusing on creating a learning environment that provides students with the best knowledge and support for achieving their career goals,” said Bruce K. Lyon, P.E., CSP, SMS, ARM, CHMM, advisory board chair to UCM’s Safety Sciences program. “Without question, she is a role model for educators and our future safety professionals. I’m continually amazed by her leadership, enthusiasm, wisdom and innovation.”
Under Blunt’s leadership as department chair, the number of declared majors has more than doubled and the safety program has grown from 125 students to 425 students. Her achievements include securing funding for the university to offer an online master’s degree program in occupational safety management; leading efforts to change the master’s degree curriculum to reduce the hours for students with work experience and certifications; and working with faculty to expand ABET accreditation to include bachelor’s and master’s degrees in occupational safety.
Blunt developed a groundbreaking online degree completion program that launched this school year. It enables students to earn a bachelor’s degree in environmental, safety and risk management if they have completed their associate degree – either in arts, science or applied science. This flexibility is unique, eliminating a barrier that kept students from completing their bachelor’s degree. Student enrollment in the first semester reached 20 students, which was the projection for the two-year mark. The program created a regionally accredited pathway to the occupational safety and health field for working professionals.
“UCM prides itself on the quality of its faculty and staff, and among the best is Dr. Blunt,” said Roger J. Best, Ph.D., UCM president. “I have had the privilege of working with her on various committees and task forces and have remained impressed by her insightful and pragmatic suggestions, initiatives and solutions.”
Blunt has helped advance ASSP and its membership in many ways, including time on the Society’s Educational Standards Committee, a two-year term as administrator of the Academics Practice Specialty, and an eight-year commitment as faculty advisor to ASSP’s UCM Student Section.
Each year, ASSP honors an occupational safety and health professional who demonstrates outstanding achievement in safety education. These top instructors help students reach their full potential and become results-producing safety professionals. The award is named after Dr. William E. Tarrants, a pioneer in safety education who was an ASSP Fellow and president (1977-78).
About ASSP – Working together for a safer, stronger future
For more than 100 years, the American Society of Safety Professionals has been at the forefront of helping occupational safety and health professionals protect people and property. The nonprofit society is based in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge. Its global membership of nearly 40,000 professionals covers all industries, developing safety and health management plans that prevent injuries, illnesses and deaths. ASSP advances its members and the safety profession through education, advocacy, standards and a professional community. Its flagship publication, Professional Safety, is a longtime leader in the field. Visit www.assp.org and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.