Purpose and Objectives
AIHA prides itself on representing the academic community – the lifeblood of preparing students for what is hopefully a rewarding and prosperous career. To this end, the AIHA Board supports the idea of creating a new Academic Advisory Group that will serve to inform and recommend strategies which strengthen the profession.
On a foundational level, the state of the IH profession rests upon cutting edge research, training, and ultimately practice – all elements of a self-improving system. Simplistically, the members of the system are AIHA – practitioners and academics. These academics should engage with AIHA, so they are in position to learn from the practitioners (who comprise the vast majority of AIHA members) about their needs. That way the academics can do the research needed and prepare their students, most of whom will become practitioners.
Specifically, it is envisioned that the Academic Advisory Group will address such matters as:
- How AIHA can better integrate itself with the NIOSH National Occupational Research Agenda (an important source of funding for research and training) and NIOSH’s strategic plan (an important source of information to establish and influence practice)
- Enhancements to the evaluation process of academics so that training high level practitioners is a valued outcome; in reality, too often only the research that’s conducted and the research funds that are brought in are considered
- The changing nature of work, and workforce, characteristics and how the academic community can better prepare students to address these challenges. Academic researchers need to be adequately funded to pursue research aligned with these trends (e.g., practical tools and methods for assessing and managing exposure risks)
- Brainstorming ways to boost student recruitment into IH/OH programs
- Critical evaluation of how current curricula can be improved upon to retain more IH students through graduation; this includes integrating NIOSH areas of practice and other topics “from the field” that are of value and interest to the next generation of IH professionals (e.g., defining new exposure assessment strategies)
- Reviewing academic courses to help institutions create a “pathway” towards both an academic degree as well as specific IH coursework criteria that enable one to be eligible to sit for the CIH exam (thereby easing the barrier to entry to the CIH)
- Developing new “next generation” educational content targeted at (and more appealing to) undergraduate classes
- Generating standards for outcome-based syllabi
Academic Advisory Group Composition
The group is to be comprised of 8 to 10 members representing a cross-section of occupational health / industrial hygiene academic programs. Each member serves a three-year term. Terms are staggered so that as members rotate off, they are replaced with new members. The committee will also have an AIHA Board Liaison appointed by the AIHA President; this individual does not serve as Chair or Vice Chair. The AIHA President selects a Vice Chair from among those committee members entering their second year of service. The Vice Chair becomes the Chair in his/her third year of service. Terms commence and end at AIHce.
Academic Advisory Group Selection Process
The process of selecting new members begins with an open call for applications to the AIHA membership. Applications are reviewed, and selections made by the AIHA Board. Selections are made to ensure that the committee maintains as broad a diversity of representation as is reasonably possible.
Committee members must be current and active members of AIHA and are selected to provide a balanced representation of academia based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:
Types of degree programs (e.g., undergraduate, graduate)
- Geographic diversity
- Gender, ethnic and other diversity considerations
- Prior volunteer engagement with AIHA
Academic Advisory Group Responsibilities
Members are expected to:
- Attend in-person meetings as identified and agreed to by the members (typically one held during AIHce), as well as participate in periodic conference calls throughout the year
- Conduct activities in accordance with relevant AIHA policies, procedures, and priorities
- Periodically review the AIHA strategic plan to determine whether this group is effectively supporting AIHA’s mission
- Provide documentation from all stages of implementation of the strategy
General Time Commitment
- Bi-monthly conference calls (each lasting 1 to 1 ½ hours)
- One in-person meeting (TBD)
- Email correspondence as needed
- Accountable to the AIHA Board of Directors
- Agree to uphold and abide by the AIHA Bylaws, Conflict of Interest and Code of Conduct policies
Online applications will be accepted until 5 PM ET on January 31, 2020.