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Tom Whitfield, director, and Scott Bourdon, assistant director of Environmental Health and Instructional Safety, receive congratulations from President Milton A. Gordon for winning a CSU Quality Improvement 2009 Team of the Year Award. Photo by Kelly Lacefield

CSU Honors Quality Improvement

Environmental Health and Instructional Safety Officers Recognized

April 28, 2009

By Pamela McLaren

How do you ensure quality when it comes to safety?

The Environmental Health and Instructional Safety Team

Members of the Environmental Health and Instructional Safety Office and their responsibilities include:

Tom Whitfield, director
overall responsibility for campus safety programs, fire and life safety

Scott Bourdon, associate director
environmental monitoring, pesticide safety, biosafety and campus food inspections

Curtis Plotkin, environmental compliance manager
regulatory compliance

Colleen Wilkins, health and safety officer
injury and illness prevention, safety inspections and emergency preparedness

Sue Fisher, radiation safety officer
radiation, teaching and research safety

Leo Lopez, chemical hygiene officer
lab safety, hazardous materials and waste management

For more information, visit the Environmental Health and Instructional Safety website at

Representatives of four Cal State campuses determined that the best way is to find out directly from those you serve — through a systemwide survey asking campus members what they think about the information, consultation and training provided by the Office of Environmental Health and Instructional Safety.

Representatives from such offices at Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Marcos developed the 60-question survey that seeks feedback on how well campus members feel they are served in the areas of injury and illness prevention, ergonomics and fire and life safety, as well as reporting, understanding and communicating about hazardous materials.

The Environmental Health and Safety task force efforts paid off. Not only does the CSU now have a comprehensive questionnaire that provides an avenue for assessing these program efforts, those on the task force are being honored with a CSU Quality Improvement 2009 Team of the Year Award.

While the four-campus team will be recognized during an upcoming CSU Board of Trustees meeting, Cal State Fullerton’s representatives — Director Tom Whitfield and Assistant Director Scott Bourdon — were presented with plaques last week.

"Tom and Scott were instrumental in developing a customer satisfaction survey for environmental health and safety departments across the CSU and this award is a fitting tribute to the leadership, dedication and service-orientation they demonstrated during this effort,” said Naomi Goodwin, assistant vice president of administration and finance who nominated the team for the honor. “In addition to volunteering to be part of the five-person CSU task force responsible for systemwide survey development, Tom and Scott utilized the newly developed survey instrument to gather faculty, staff and student feedback regarding EH&IS programs and worked proactively with other
EH&IS team members to analyze survey results and develop a quality improvement framework from the EH&IS department based on these results."

“Prior to this effort, the systemwide safety offices had never asked our customers if we are courteous, are we helpful, have we adequately informed, educated and trained our clients about the issues important for them to be safe in their jobs,” said Whitfield.

The process began in fall 2007. Through refinement and review, the survey was finalized last May, then administered on the campuses of Chico, Fresno, Fullerton, Los Angeles, Pomona, Sacramento, San Bernardino and San Marcos.

“Our goal was to encourage participation in systemwide safety programs and to raise the importance of an ongoing dialog between members of our teams and those whom we serve,” Whitfield continued. “We feel that the more that employees understand the services we can provide, the safer our campus will be.”

“We now have a new task force that will build on the assessment and survey results to determine best practices and encourage enhanced collaboration between campuses.”

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