ASSP names 2024 Outstanding Safety Educator

Leslie Rex Stockel, a widely respected educator in the occupational safety and health field and member of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) for 35 years, is the Society’s 2024 William E. Tarrants Outstanding Safety Educator.

Stockel, Ph.D., CSP, SMS, is an associate professor of professional practice at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK. She also is faculty advisor for the university’s student section of ASSP’s Oklahoma City Chapter, actively recruiting students to pursue degrees in occupational safety and health.

Stockel’s teaching philosophy models a professional career environment, holding students to high standards. She uses her vast network to enhance the learning experience through guest lectures and field trips to industrial operations such as power plants, manufacturing facilities and construction sites. As a result, her students develop critical understanding and competencies that are fundamental to a successful safety and health career.

Nominated for the ASSP honor by her students, Stockel is an esteemed faculty member with student evaluations rating her above both college and university averages. Students have described her as a passionate instructor who clearly knows the material and is dedicated to making her classes fun and informative.

“Dr. Stockel constantly engages with her students and genuinely cares about our ability to understand the topics presented in class,” said Brady Hook, president of ASSP’s student section at the Stillwater campus. “She is a selfless individual who wants her students to succeed, so we know we can always go to her for guidance.”

After a lengthy and successful career in industry, Stockel joined the university faculty in 2016 in the Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology program. She has made significant contributions to its continued growth and development while keeping her courses aligned with industry trends. She guides efforts to plan and execute career events where prospective employers meet with students about summer internships and permanent employment. She also encourages students to collaborate on campus and community service projects.

“Her dedication to enhancing academic growth, mentoring students and championing professional development has been truly invaluable,” said Chulho Yang, Ph.D., P.E., professor and interim head of the university’s Division of Engineering Technology. “Her instructional caliber is underscored by consistently earning impressive course evaluations. She is widely recognized as an outstanding instructor.”

Stockel is a presenter at local, regional and national safety education conferences. Several of her articles have appeared in peer-reviewed publications such as ASSP’s Professional Safety journal. She was co-project initiator when the U.S. Department of Labor selected Oklahoma State as an authorized OSHA Education Center in 2017.

“Dr. Stockel is an asset to our program and the students she teaches,” said Dr. Virginia Charter, Ph.D., P.E., coordinator of the university’s Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology program. “She has made great contributions to the success of our students and their future safety careers.”

Stockel will be honored at ASSP’s Safety 2024 Professional Development Conference and Exposition, held Aug. 7-9 in Denver. The global event will bring together thousands of safety professionals to learn about best practices, industry trends and the latest product innovations in the workplace safety and health field.

Each year, ASSP honors a member who demonstrates outstanding achievement in occupational safety and health education. These top instructors help students reach their full potential and become results-producing safety professionals. ASSP’s Outstanding Safety Educator Award is named after William E. Tarrants, a pioneer in safety education who was an ASSP Fellow and president (1977-78).


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