From: Jim Kaufman <jim**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Legal Liability for Undergraduate Teaching Labs
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2015 21:29:17 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>

Brian and interested colleagues,


This is one of the important topics that are part of all the courses taught by LSI.  I have served as an expert witness in cases involving faculty and injured students for the past 35 years. 


Attorneys always ask if I’ve ever testified in court. 


My reply is that there’s good news and bad news.  


The bad news is that I have never testified in court.  The good news is that I’ve never testified in court.  Once people understand what one ought to do, both the defendant, the plaintiff and their attorneys understand that it would be appropriate to reach a settlement and not go to trial.


Please call if you would be happy to have a private conversation..


Regard … Jim 


James A. Kaufman, Ph.D.

The Laboratory Safety Institute (LSI)

A Nonprofit Educational Organization for

Safety in Science, Industry, and Education

192 Worcester Street, Natick, MA 01760-2252
508-647-1900  Fax: 508-647-0062 
Cell: 508-574-6264  Res: 781-237-1335
Skype: labsafe; 508-319-1225



Chair, ICASE Committee on Safety in Science Education

International Council for Associations of Science Education


P We thank you for printing this e-mail only if it is necessary




From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Brian Fortney
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 11:43 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Legal Liability for Undergraduate Teaching Labs


Good Morning!


Please reply and send attachments to: brian.fortney**At_Symbol_Here**


(Too, please feel free to help me get my questions to an appropriate listserv, and help me connect with that listserv. Thank you!) I write to this list in the hopes of guidance and advice regarding how to determine legal liability for myself (first year, Tenure-Track Assistant Professor) in regards to understanding the legal liability I need to assume if I am ordered to oversee two undergraduate general Chem/Physics/Bio teaching labs.



Currently, a graduate student has been supervising/coordinating the undergraduate labs, but is set to graduate in another year. At that time (if ordered), I will become sole coordinator of the undergraduate labs, ordering, maintenance of safety equipment, etc. For the past many years, a tenured faculty colleague has had oversight of the labs, and all that they entail. Years ago, oversight used to be carried out by a permanent lab supervisor (non-tenure-track). Effective immediately or at the semester, it appears to be “added” to my job duties. (I was quite shocked.)


I am a new, first year, faculty member at The University of Texas at San Antonio. The teaching labs are situated within the College of Education and Human Development, with no apparent connection (that I can see) to colleagues in the College of Sciences. I must note, however, that I have no reason to doubt my colleague who currently has control and oversight of the lab coordinator/graduate student. I also have met my EH&S colleagues. I will  also ask them the following questions.


Specific questions I seek help/perspectives in answering:

Thank you very much for helping on any and all points. Please respond to brian.fortney**At_Symbol_Here**






Brian Fortney, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Science Education and STEM Education

The University of Texas at San Antonio

College of Education and Human Development

Curriculum and Instruction

Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching

One UTSA Circle

San Antonio, TX. 78249


Ph: 210-458-7442

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