(209d) Start the Revolution ~ Ensuring There Is the Top of the Food Chain: Using Process Safety As The Capstone

Authors: 
Howat, C. S. III, C. S. Howat & Associates



"Look what’s coming down the street!  Start the revolution."  Synthesize, evaluate, modify, keep it safe and everyone goes home.  How many heard that beyond lip-service in their education?  How many practiced it?  The safety revolution is underway and the past isn’t good enough for our undergraduates.  It wasn’t good enough for us.  Join!  Look at our history, modify the future.

Design scenarios have one set of general and specific specifications and one desired capacity and quality.  Even in mulit-use, high value added batch processing with multiple products, one set of specifications lead to one set of capacities, conditions and qualities.  Certainly this is difficult at the undergraduate level.  Most schools didn’t have capstone courses so ABET responded in the 80’s mandating it.  But, this is the 21st century.  Our license to operate is tenuous.  We can’t continue as we did.

How many ways can this solution (design or operation) go wrong?  The top of the food chain looks down and asks that question.  Education is dedicated to developing a fundamentals foundation; and high-level integrative-, critical-, synthesis- and creative-thinking skills.  Curricula are pressured by new-area emergence and industry desires.  Design, the cornerstone experience to skill development, no longer can look to specific industries or applications no matter what we were taught.  The capstone course must become more inclusive, applicable, and responsive.  Risk-focused safety courses apply to any industry and develop high-level thinking skills and integrate fundamentals.

This paper publishes a manifesto, once practiced, describing capstone process safety.  The paper shows how this f fits into the curriculum, generally, and conceptual process design hierarchy, specifically.  Then, it turns the tables overthrowing that discussion into preparing students for industrial practice, asking the question: How many ways can this go wrong credibly?  This paper focuses on the development of the capstone course using process safety as the medium. Topics include the objectives, content, evaluation, ABET and, most importantly, our product – students ready to practice.  . Specific recommendations are given using actual examples of what can be taught.  Listeners are encouraged to integrate their industrial problems, no matter the area of practice, into this course.  The target of the paper is the professor, instructor or lecturer who is interested in teaching widely applicable skills and integrating fundamentals.  More to the point, the target is the student who wants to be the best prepared to practice in any industry.