Session S82 (Thursday, 9:30am, Wartik 106)

P968: Forensic science education: Designing an effective curriculum

Mitchell Holland, Dan Sykes (Pennsylvania State University, USA)

The goal of a typical undergraduate program in the sciences is to teach, train, and prepare students to enter their field of interest.  Undergraduates learning to be forensic scientists need to understand the nature of evidence, how it can be collected and preserved at the crime scene, how it is processed in the laboratory, and how the results of their analyses are delivered to the legal system.  In order to build a strong bridge between the crime scene, the laboratory and the legal system, students must have extensive training in these aspects of the investigative process.  Without this cross-disciplinary approach, the effectiveness of the curriculum is significantly lessened.  Forensic programs should, 1) teach foundational scientific principles, 2) expand a student’s knowledge-base through focused, advanced lecture and laboratory coursework, and 3) allow students to sharpen their skills through hands-on instruction and include a capstone experience, journal club, testimony and ethics training.


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