Safety as the Foundation for Excellence (SAFE) Academy

The UVA School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) and the Department of Chemical Engineering are partnering to create a collaborative learning environment for leaders in the manufacturing, oil, gas and related fields. The SAFE Academy will support middle and senior-level managers – such as division or plant managers, executives and process unit leaders – in growing personally, navigating workplace dynamics, solving problems and delivering results safely. 

The SAFE Academy will be held June 24-28, 2024 on UVA Grounds in Charlottesville, VA. 

Strong safety systems and organizational culture starts at the top. The leadership set the ‘tone at the top’ to establish appropriate expectations when it comes to process safety

Ronald Unnerstall

Topics and Schedule 

Each morning, participants will explore leadership topics targeted to mid and senior managers. Afternoon sessions dive into process safety and risk mitigation strategies. Smooth operations in manufacturing, oil, gas and chemical companies requires not only core knowledge of process safety principles but also strong leadership techniques to help realize goals at all levels of the organization.


  1. Leveraging Fundamental Motivations for Safety
  2. Process Safety – Why Complex Systems Fail in Complex Ways
  3. A Critical Foundation: Psychological Safety in Teams 
  4. Risk-Based Decision Making in Practice
  5. Managing Change 
  6. Systematic Management
  7. Creating Norms for Safety
  8. Safety Culture
  9. Capstone Presentations and Closing 


Sessions will be facilitated by highly qualified UVA professors and industry experts Ron Unnerstall and Abigail Scholer.


The registration cost is $4000, and the program offers 35 spots. 

Pricing includes registration, morning and afternoon snacks and refreshments. There is a break daily from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, and participants can enjoy lunch locally offsite. 

Registration and payment must be received by June 17, 2024. 

Register for the Program

If your organization would like to sign up as a cohort, we can offer a number of customizations including selection of dates, times, location and a discounted group rate. Please email Alexa Jeffress at to request a customized quote.


There are many great local hotels in the Charlottesville area. There will be parking available onsite at the program site for those who have cars. 

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO) is the closest airport to the University. The Richmond International Airport (RIC) is about a 1.5 hour drive from the University.

Learn More

To learn more about the SAFE Academy, please contact Alexa Jeffress, Director of Professional Programs,

Woman smiling in front of whiteboard

Noncredit Programs

Our noncredit classes and programs offer fast, skill-based learning at an affordable cost.