Martha Bidez, Ph.D., created the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Engineering’s master’s program for Advanced Safety Engineering and Management in August 2010 to make the world a safer place. Bidez even designed the program to be offered totally online so it can reach anyone in the world. The ASEM program’s inaugural class graduates 16 students Saturday, including Albertine Doibo of Nigeria. Doibo completed five semesters and 10 courses in 20 months, but her first visit to the UAB campus is this week to receive her degree in person.
“Flying in I could not believe I was really in Birmingham, Ala., and I was surprised that the city is so green and beautiful,” says Doibo. “I also thought about sometimes staying up until midnight to take a class, juggling work and being a mom, and now that I am here at UAB about to receive my ASEM degree, I know it was all worth it.”
Doibo is the corporate Health and Safety Executive Statutory Compliance Coordinator for ADDAX Petroleum Development Nigeria Limited based in Lagos. She is the one who makes sure all safety standards are met in accordance with HSE regulations.
“I am good in the safety aspect and the environmental aspect, but I wanted more for myself,” says Doibo. “The ASEM program gave me the opportunity to make myself better in risk management, critical thinking and safety economics, and that makes me more valuable for my company and for my future.”
“I am so very grateful to the UAB administration for their visionary leadership in allowing this program to be created,” says Bidez, director of the ASEM program and International System Safety Society’s 2011 Educator of the Year. “All of the ASEM graduate students are inspiring, transformational leaders, and it is a rare privilege for me to be associated with both a world-class institution and world-class safety professionals.”
Bidez says UAB’s ASEM program is the only masters of engineering degree with a safety emphasis offered wholly online. It is accessible to any working professional around the world with an accredited undergraduate degree.
The ASEM program has 78 national and international students enrolled. Each student is employed as a safety professional, and they represent more than 20 different industry sectors including military, biotechnology, aerospace, retail and automotive.
“The peer-to-peer learning aspect was a brilliant use of technology; my classmates come from different backgrounds and different industries, so my learning experience was enriched even beyond what was taught in the online lecture,” says Doibo.
“Our students’ cross cultural lines, geographic zones and various work experience that ranges from five to 30 years,” says Bidez. “Before we could even launch the ASEM program we had to create a curriculum that would be educational and challenging for anyone, and I am proud to say we accomplished that lofty goal.”