image of Chris Barr

Chris Barr, member of a team that won ASEE’s Joseph J. Martin Award

The award, named in honor of a former Michigan ChE professor, is given for the best paper in the ChE division at ASEE.

Dr. Chris Barr, ChE Instructional Lab Supervisor, and his colleagues, won the 2021 Joseph J. Martin Award from the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) which is given for the best paper presented in the ChE division at the previous year’s ASEE Annual Meeting. Their winning paper on process safety in student labs is entitled “Using Incident Reporting to Integrate Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment into the Unit Operations Lab.*” The team will be presented the Martin Award during the 2021 virtual national ASEE conference, July 26 through July 29, 2021.

Chris Barr
Dr. Christopher Barr

After reviewing current process safety education resources used in chemical engineering unit operation labs at six universities in 2017, Barr and his colleagues found that many undergraduate chemical engineering labs lacked sufficient process safety training. To improve undergraduate students’ safety knowledge, the group developed and implemented a semester-long assignment for labs that focused on hazard identification and risk assessment.

Assessments showed significant improvement in students’ self-reported knowledge of consequence, frequency, process safety and environmental safety after the instruction. The reported change was greatest for those students who had never completed an industrial internship.  

This integration of training into the lab courses had a positive effect on the overall safety culture of the labs and provided valuable information on safety concerns and process improvements needed within the labs as well.

Dr. Barr began his career in the department in 2015. He received his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Toledo in 2013 and his BS in chemical engineering from Tri-State University in 2006. Since joining the department, he has been working to improve the safety training for both the undergraduate and graduate students as well as the general undergraduate laboratory experience. Barr has implemented electronic lab notebooks in the undergraduate laboratories, manages a safety demonstration laboratory for graduate student safety training,and has both expanded the labs and worked with faculty to develop new experiments.

This award is named after Joseph J. Martin, who was on the faculty of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan from 1947 until his death in 1982. He was a world-renown scholar and leader in engineering education and was widely recognized for his research in the subjects of thermodynamics and radiation chemical processing.

Sarah A Wilson, Samira M. Azarin, Christopher Barr, Janie Brennan, Tracy L. Carter, and Amy J Karlsson.  Using Incident Reporting to Integrate Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment into the Unit Operations Lab.  2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line , 2020, June.  ASEE Conferences, 2020. Internet.  02 Jul, 2021.

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