SUNSET SESSION: The Fellows SIG Debate - Is a Science or Engineering Degree Better for Becoming a CIH?

Donald Weekes, CIH, CSP, FAIHA Moderator
InAIR Environmental, Ltd.
Ottawa, MT 
Thomas Grumbles, CIH, CPPS Co-Presenter
Cypress, TX 
United States of America
Steve Gutmann Co-Presenter
S.H. Gutmann Consulting, LLC
White Bear Lake, MN 
United States of America
Gayla McCluskey Co-Presenter
Global Environmental Health Services, Inc
George Osborne, FAIHA Co-Presenter
Dacula, GA 
United States of America
Neil Zimmerman, PhD, PE, CIH, FAIHA Co-Presenter
Purdue University (retired)
Mt Pleasant, WI 
United States of America
Glenn Barbi, CIH Emeritus Co-Presenter
Hillsdale, NJ 
United States of America
Mon, 5/22: 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM PDT
Education Session 
Sheraton Phoenix Hotel 
Room: Encanto A 
CM Credit Hours:


This is the 6th AIHA Fellows SIG Debate and is intended to present varied views on a controversial or unresolved issue that impacts our profession and its members. This year the debate will present differing views associated with the question: is it better to enter the industrial hygiene field with a science or engineering degree? And does this choice have implications for the growth of the profession in the future? A total of six (6) pre-chosen debaters will be given five (5) minutes to present their views on the question. The debaters will be divided into two (2) groups, and each group will take one side (a science degree is better, or an engineering degree is better) regarding one degree being better than the other. The six (6) debaters will alternate from one side to the other, and one of the debaters from each side will provide a summary of their side's views. After the opposing views from each side have been presented, the debate moderator will open the floor to attendees so that they can ask questions of the debaters and present their own perspective on the questions. The expectation is that attendees will gain insights and an appreciation of the benefits and strengths one degree may provide compared to the other. Attendees will be polled for their opinions before and after the debate. The side which has persuaded the most attendees to change their minds to favor that side's arguments will be the debate winner.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion, the participant will be able to:

• Discuss the strengths/weaknesses science and engineering degrees may present in pursuing an IH career.
• Communicate the efforts underway to recruit science and engineering degree holders into the IH profession.
• Recognize the implications that this effort may have for the future of the profession.
• Facilitate open discussion and interest in this topic. 

Content Level


Interactive Session Experience


Organizational Category


Primary Industry

All Industries


Changing Workplaces, Workforce, and Work Arrangements

Type of Session

Practical application