Bobby Clark is the Director of Environmental Health and Safety at the University of Memphis. With more than 21,000 students, the institution’s 9-person E&HS team oversees safety and compliance activities for 259 buildings and 8 sites across the State of Tennessee. In a recent Q&A, Bobby talked about working alongside top-notch researchers and the importance of campus safety.
How long have you been in the position and how did you end up in campus safety?
I have been the Director of E&HS at the University of Memphis for 3 years. I have been working in E&HS in higher education for almost 18 years.
What’s the most challenging part of your role?
The most challenging part of E&HS is communicating to the campus community our existence and our role. Many departments that interact with E&HS regularly know of our existence and seek us out. However, those that need our service very seldom are unsure whom to contact when they encounter a problem that it is E&HS’s role to resolve. Marketing E&HS to the campus community is challenging, but it is also one of the most fun parts of working in E&HS because it allows us to use our creative abilities in a field (E&HS) that primarily requires technical skills.
What’s the most rewarding part of your role?
The most rewarding part of working in E&HS in higher education is the ability to interact with both top-notch researchers and brilliant students. The energy on a university campus, especially in the fall, is contagious. Being able to be a part of the educational and research experience of so many people is a privilege.
Why is campus safety so important?
There are several reasons. Campus safety may be a student’s first encounter with the safety field in their lives. Since safety plays a vital role in many workplaces, campus safety should be a part of the educational experience of our students. In addition to academics, the pursuit of novel research is one of the primary missions of a university. Campus safety helps ensure that cutting-edge research can be accomplished safely both for those performing the research and those in the campus community that are around the research. Lastly, and most importantly, when those in the campus community feel safe, they can perform better and this applies to students, faculty, and staff. E&HS plays a crucial role in improving the safety culture of the university to help make the university a better place to learn, teach, and work.
How has CampusOptics helped you to improve safety at the University of Memphis?
So far, CampusOptics has helped with compiling most of our safety data into one place. It is pretty easy to draw metrics directly from the software. We can tell how many inspections we are doing, how many issues are being corrected, and much more! Metrics help us demonstrate the effectiveness of our E&HS department to the university and CampusOptics does a great job of showing how we’re doing. Inspections, inventories, and safety data sheets are now much easier thanks to CampusOptics!