Welcome back to Scholars and Researchers in this new year! As you settle into your endeavors in 2018, I want to highlight an important new university-wide initiative to embrace a renewed 'culture of safety' among our students, faculty and staff.
The initiative was unveiled at President Staben's January leadership breakfast, which was attended by more than 100 U of I leaders across the state. President Staben has commissioned an Institutional Safety Culture Steering Committee and has charged Brian Foisy, our Vice President of Finance and Administration, and myself to help foster this culture of safety at all levels of the university.
As leaders at the most research-intensive university in Idaho, we are passionate and committed to cultivating, stimulating and advancing our shared responsibility of safety throughout the Vandal family.
As the university's Chief Research Officer, I am accountable for ensuring that all research, scholarship and creative activities are conducted in a compliant and safe manner. But safety is more than just a component of responsible conduct of research. An enhanced culture of safety is critical to scholarly excellence and the achievement of our university's goals.
A culture of safety reinforces our strategic goals by allowing us to conduct high quality research that makes a positive impact; it upholds our credibility as we influence change; and it binds our scholarly community through a common set of beliefs and practices. It instills a culture of safety in our students, the next generation of researchers.
A roadmap for our university-wide effort to strengthen a culture of safety is provided in a publication developed by the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities' (APLU) Council on Research, titled "A Guide to Implementing a Safety Culture in our Universities." I encourage you to peruse this publication and 20 key recommendations as a guide to help enhance the culture of safety on our campus.
The university has also launched a new website called I-Safety, which offers many tools and training resources revolving around safety and includes a link where you can report safety concerns.
I am proud to be a part of this initiative, and I encourage our entire Vandal family to embrace and become part of this renewed commitment to a culture of safety. Visit the I-Safety website and read the APLU recommendations. Then discuss with your colleagues ways to implement this culture of safety in your environment, whether it be the lab, classroom or field — and even more broadly in all aspects of your life.
We know that safety is always an ongoing process, and it requires a continuous and committed willingness to learn, embrace and share.
Go Vandals! ... And be safe.
Janet E. Nelson
Office of Research and Economic Development
Read more research news and features on the Office of Research and Economic Development website.