Health and Safety
Quality, Centrality and Importance of Research

RRTF Report
Dissenting Report

  1. Professors Hamilton, Gorski, and Smith list significant funding activities. They collaborate on several projects. Professor Klein has obtained internal funding. Most of the funding is from inside the State of Tennessee. Some funding is from the EPA (interdisciplinary research with Engineering).

  2. The group seems overloaded. They are understandably, and probably justifiably overwhelmed with their teaching, research and administrative responsibilities. The absence of a permanent department head has shifted many responsibilities to active faculty members.

  3. By examining the resumes for tenured/tenure-track faculty, the numbers of publications in general, and recent publications in particular, appear small. The publication record for the full-time faculty over 1999~03 period is as follows: 31 peer-reviewed publications, 9 peer-reviewed proceedings, and 45 peer-reviewed presentations. Even when contributions from all doctoral faculty (interpreted as to include adjunct faculty members) are included, the record becomes 43 peer-reviewed publications, 16 peer-reviewed proceedings, and 82 peer-reviewed presentations over the same period.

  4. The department offers the only MS program in the state of Tennessee in Public Health. The MS program in Safety could play a major role in homeland security, and may be linked to UT's Center for Homeland Security. High demand for their graduates may develop in the near future.

  5. The department admits about 10 Ph.D. students per year, which is reasonable given the size of the full-time faculty. On the other hand, faculty with minimal or no current scholarship continue to direct PhD students. While responsibility for this may lie in a number of quarters, certainly the faculty themselves should be better stewards of this privilege.

  6. The ethnic diversity of the Ph.D. program is impressive. The program leadership in attracting, mentoring, and graduating "quality" minority students has been demonstrated. For example, the department graduated 24 Black students since 1971, and has 69% female student population between 1997 and 2003.

  7. About 10~15% of their M.S. students choose the thesis option. This indeed impacts the overall research productivity when measured using standard metrics, such as papers, federally funded projects, and national leadership in research. This would seem to imply that research is not a significant part of these programs, which indeed are more focused on professional preparation. The statewide reach and visibility of these programs, as well as the diversity of their students, is noteworthy. The MPH particularly is of value to the University and state, but will remain a non-research degree.
Feb. 13, 2004

Dissenting Report to the Review and Redirection Task Force Resolution on the Health and Safety Program

Feb. 17, 2004

Louis Gross, Chair of the Faculty Senate Budget Committee
Beauvais Lyons, Faculty Senate President

We have developed this dissenting report to express our disagreement with the motion approved by the Review and Redirection Task Force regarding the Health and Safety programs. Our concerns stem from the process of approval of this resolution as well as the specific content of the resolution.

Process of Approval:
This resolution was first presented to the Review and Redirection Task Force at the February 12th meeting. Unlike many other resolutions presented to our Task Force, it was not circulated in advance. After general discussion of the resolution, it was agreed that members of the Task Force would have further input into the final text by email. Our opportunity to inform the final resolution was limited, as Lou Gross did not have access to email while he was away at a conference and Beauvais Lyons' email address had been "accidentally" excluded from the Task Force distribution list. We believe the final recommendations of the Task Force could have been different had the alternative resolution been circulated in advance of the February 12th meeting and had communications following the meeting allowed for more input.

We are concerned there was a lack of complete information upon which to make a decision. For Review and Redirection to succeed in the future, the Task Force should be able to review more information than we had been supplied through the evidence presented at the hearing and the information gathered for the Task Force before this. We do not believe that the recommendation of the Task Force is congruent with the evidence we were presented by the Health and Safety faculty.
The Resolution:
We concur with some aspects of the resolution, especially the recognition that Health and Safety programs are important to the mission of the university. Based on the reports of the RRTF sub-committees, which affirm a number of strengths in the current Health and Safety programs, we agree that the Health and Safety faculty should play a central role in developing a proposal for the future of their programs.

However, we object to the following components of the resolution:
  1. The Task Force received significant reasons why the Interim Dean should not be involving in forming the committee to review the future of the Health and Safety programs. The fact that the Health and Safety faculty perceive him as being unfavorable to their concerns could undermine the work of this committee. Any review of the programs should be directed by someone outside the College who does not report to the Interim Dean. This is consistent with the Task Force's recommendation that outside experts be brought in to assist.

  2. The tone of the resolution may be interpreted as blaming the faculty in Health and Safety for certain inadequacies in their various degree programs. The fact that there are too many programs for the faculty involved is directly related to the consistent removal of faculty lines from the programs in recent years. The College should take some responsibility for the current state of these programs.

  3. There is no mention whatsoever of the search for an Epidemiologist and the fact (as far as we can tell - there being no evidence presented to contradict it) that the Search Committee does not include individuals with any research or teaching experience in epidemiology, while the current faculty in the unit who do have some expertise in this area are excluded. As this search has bearing on the health programs in the College, we believe the resolution should address this concern.

Louis Gross
Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Mathematics
Director, The Institute for Environmental Modeling
University of Tennessee - Knoxville
President, Society for Mathematical Biology ( (ATLSS Project Home Page) (Quantitative Life Sciences Education)

Beauvais Lyons, Ellen McClung Berry Professor of Art
President of the UTK Faculty Senate
and Director of the Hokes Archives
School of Art, 1715 Volunteer Blvd.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-2410
voice: 865-974-3202, fax: 854-974-3198
email: School of Art web:
UTK Printmaking:
Hokes Archives web:
UTK Faculty Senate:

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