OU environmental health and safety program ranked among top in United States

Oakland University’s environmental health and safety bachelor’s degree (EHS) program was ranked one of the top 25 in the United States for 2019 by Value Colleges.

The website ranks colleges for their worth, factoring in quality, affordability and return on investment. OU’s program ranked No. 13 on the list, making it one of two Michigan schools in the top 25, the other being Grand Valley State University at No. 3.

Other schools on the list are: Ohio University at No. 7, The University of Texas at Tyler at No. 6, The John Hopkins University at No. 5, Utah State University at No. 4, University of North Alabama at No. 2 and University of Houston-Clear Lake at No. 1.

OU offers its EHS degree entirely online. The Value Colleges (VC) report said the program “meets the needs of busy professionals and adult learners who require flexibility.”

When ranking schools, VC used the U.S. News & World Report to determine the reputations of EHS programs, according to VC media manager Rhonda Corey. The site applied in-state costs reported to the National Center for Education Statistics (from IPEDS data), and return on investment stemmed from the alumni salaries on College Scorecard.

VC lists OU’s degree cost as 2/5, meaning it boasts affordability to students. Dr. Florence J. Dallo, OU public and environmental wellness chair, said the program is special and prepares  students to protect other workers.

“OU’s environmental health and safety degree is a unique, affordable and high-caliber program that educates and trains students in meaningful work to promote, protect and improve the health of Americans,” she said. “The EHS program at OU protects its environment by advocating for its students and faculty, so that they can learn and work in a supportive atmosphere where transparency is key and excellence is the goal.”

OU’s EHS page said the bachelor’s program will get students ready to “apply knowledge of mathematics and science to analyze and interpret data,” “identify and evaluate environmental and workplace hazardous conditions and practices,” “formulate hazard control designs, methods, procedures and programs” and “pursue graduate study in safety and health.”

The VC website said occupational safety and health (OSH) engineers are “needed more than ever.” Corey said the field has grown 9-10 percent because of expanding employment industries.

“OSH is key to industries like construction, energy and infrastructure, for obvious reasons, but it also has a place in areas like food production and processing, pharmaceuticals and chemical engineering,” she said. “All of those industrial sectors are in constant growth and require a continual increase in the need for experts to keep workers safe and productive.”

The OU program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Dallo said the VC ranking places the program at a place of competitiveness.

“[The ranking] means that it is visible and recognized as being able to compete with other programs in the nation,” Dallo said. “It also means that current students, alumni and employers are highly satisfied with the program and would recommend it to individuals interested in this field.”

Corey said OU’s ranking shows that the EHS degree is valuable to students and alumni.

“Oakland University ranked in the top 15 because it finds a solid balance between a reasonable tuition cost and a strong alumni salary,” she said. “That gets down to how VC measures value: a good education from a trusted institution with measurable results.”