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MU Home » Academics » School of Public Affairs » Department of Environmental and Occupational Management


Dr. Deborah Branson
Chair, Department of Environmental and Occupational Management
Director, Environmental and Occupational Management Program
Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Management
B.S., M.S., University of Oklahoma; M.A., Salve Regina University; M.S., Naval War College; M.A., University of Rhode Island; Ph.D., George Mason University. Office: H-260; Phone: (910) 630-7136; E-Mail:

Dr Branson is the daughter of a professor who was the son of a professor. Teaching at a University was her long range goal. Along the way she earned a BS and an MS from the University of Oklahoma. Her master's was in Environmental Science through the college of Civil Engineering. Her degree was earned as EPA and environmental regulations were just beginning to be formulated. During her 23 years in the U.S. Navy flying various helicopters throughout SouthEast Asia she observed the changes in environmental regulations. As safety officer for a Naval Air station with a 35000 person workforce, she was responsible for rewriting all OSHA guidance. While stationed in the Pentagon, she began her work on her PhD through George Mason University in Environmental Science and Public Policy while serving as the Secretary of the Navy representative for International Environmental and Aviation coordination. During her last tour at the Naval War College in Newport, RI she taught a course on Environmental Issues associated with Base Closure and earned a Master's of Science Education from the University of Rhode Island. Her PhD topic was concerned with public involvement in the environmental assessment process and she continues a research interest in the field. Students have presented in conferences under her tutelage in this topic as well as on Mercury poisoning and clandestine laboratories. She also holds degrees in Strategic Studies and International Relations.


Dr. Kurt Smith
Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Management
B.S., Oregon State University; M.P.A., Ph.D., North Carolina State University
Office: H-263; Phone: (910) 630-7139; E-Mail:

Kurt Smith is an assistant professor in the ENM program, and holds an undergraduate degree from Oregon State University, and both a master's degree and doctorate from North Carolina State University. His areas of expertise are in both forestry and in water resources. He has over twenty years of experience in state and local government, working on open space preservation, watershed planning and stormwater management. He has also done some consultant work for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Mrs. Wendy Vonnegut, Esq.
Associate Professor of Legal Studies
B.A., University of North Carolina-Wilmington; J.D., Mercer University.
Phone: (910) 630-7491; E-Mail:

Wendy Vonnegut, J.D is the Director of Legal Studies which is approved by the American Bar Association. She received her Juris Doctrine from the Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University, Macon, Ga. and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Mrs .Vonnegut spent a summer at the University of Vermont School of Law on scholarship to study Environmental Litigation. She spent 12 years in the private sector as an attorney, before entering the world of Academia.


Mr. Randy Franklin
Adjunct Faculty, Environmental and Occupational Management Program
M.B.A., Columbia Southern University
Office: H-239; E-Mail:

Randy Franklin is an adjunct instructor, and holds a both a bachelor of science and an MBA from Columbia Southern University and is currently a doctoral candidate with Grand Canyon University. His areas of expertise are in environmental assessment, environmental management hazardous materials, hazardous wastes and occupational safety and health. He has over twenty-six years of experience in U.S. Military and federal government. He is currently the Environmental Project Manager for the Environmental Division of the Directorate of Public Works at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Randy likes this program because it is the only one of its kind in this area and it has potential for growth as it continues to be made available to the local service members and families.

  Mr. Barry Hull
Adjunct Faculty, Environmental and Occupational Management Program
M.S., Findlay University
Office: H-239; E-Mail: