This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield Hall 218
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
Neenah Company
Donates Study Lab
phone (715) 836-4741
fax (715) 836-2900

MAILED: Dec. 29, 1997

EAU CLAIRE -- A new study lab with up-to-date equipment and the latest popular software will help prepare University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire environmental and public health majors and graduate students for the working world.
The lab is the result of a cooperative agreement between the program and J.J. Keller & Associates, a Neenah-based company that produces safety, regulatory and information publications, products and services. The company donated $8,000 toward the project as well as popular software programs and products worth another estimated $7,500.
"We are trying to provide all the tools students need to help with their courses and to be prepared for the real world," said David Szczepanik, senior marketing communications manager for J.J. Keller.
Environmental and safety issues are becoming more important in all industries, and those responsibilities are being spread among people who in the past did not work with such issues, Szczepanik said.
"It's critical to have students exposed to regulations while still in school so they don't get out in the real world and be naive," he said. "Otherwise, they are going to be in a job, OHSA is going to visit, and they are going to be totally unprepared. That is a scenario we are trying to prevent.
"I can't overemphasize that the bottom line efforts of J.J. Keller are to enhance safety, save lives, minimize injuries and protect the environment. That is really what this is all about."
The donated dollars were used to buy a computer, laser printer, and furniture needed for the study lab, located in room 225 of the Human Sciences and Services Building. In addition, the funds will help support a 20-hour a week study lab coordinator who will be charged with helping students get started working on the new software and to serve as a liaison between the study lab and J.J. Keller & Associates.
The software programs and related publications will help undergraduate and graduate students better understand the concerns of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation regulations, as well as the related compliance requirements.
Five Keller-Soft (TM) floppy-disk and CD-ROM products will be installed on the computer and will become part of a network system. In addition, more than 40 of Keller's guides, manuals, handbooks, newsletters and video-based training products were donated to the lab.
"With these materials, we can make sure our undergraduate and graduate students are tuned into the tools they'll be using in the work world," said Dr. Robert Nelson, coordinator of the ENPH program. "They'll now have the information at their fingertips."
For example, he said, UW-Eau Claire offers a course titled "Codes and Regulations." The donated materials will become an integral part of that course curriculum in the future, he said, noting that it deals with things such as air regulations, hazardous waste materials and the Clean Water Act.
The CD-ROM will enable students to more efficiently study those regulations, Szczepanik said. What in the past took students hours to find by flipping through pages of books of regulations, will now take minutes at the computer, he said. "It just makes sense to use this kind of technology and to use it prior to graduation," he said.
"Almost every class in our program will be able to utilize this study lab," Nelson said of the gift.
J.J. Keller will send consultants to help teach courses, to serve as guest speakers or to help in any other way necessary to ensure that students are getting the best possible education in the environmental and public health areas, Szczepanik said.
That outreach will be key to ensuring that UW-Eau Claire gets all it can out of Keller's gift, Nelson said. "New technology is great but you get so busy and so tied down to your day-to-day responsibilities that it's sometimes hard to find the time to learn something new. The consultants and the study lab coordinator will be a great help in that area."
UW-Eau Claire is the second recipient of such a donation by J.J. Keller. Last May, the company donated a similar lab to Marquette University in Milwaukee. As a result of the gift, UW-Eau Claire and Marquette University will become benchmarks for what happens in other schools, Szczepanik said.
In it's 26th year, UW-Eau Claire's ENPH program is the only program of its kind in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa and one of just 25 accredited programs in the country. More than 426 students have graduated from its undergraduate and graduate programs.
Founded in 1953, J.J. Keller & Associates Inc. employs more than 800 people and has more than 170,000 customers.
The new study lab will be formally dedicated during a Feb. 13 ceremony.


UWEC [Administrative Offices] [News Bureau]

Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 218
(715) 836-4741

Updated: Dec. 29, 1997