Existing Forensic Science Program Developed into Department

The existing forensic science program at West Virginia University has built a reputation for excellence since it was first created in 1997. With its eighteen thousand square feet of lab facilities and a faculty with more than fifty years combined in field experience, students travel to the university from all across the country to enroll in the program, which is known for its innovative teaching methods, rigorous curriculum and unique internship partnerships with some of the top labs in the nation.

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In the current program, three tracks are available to undergraduates seeking a degree in forensic science. As part of the forensic examiner program, students are prepared for positions as crime scene analysts, fingerprint examiners and various positions in the law enforcement field. In the forensic biology track, participants prepare for positions in forensic labs as DNA analysts. Finally, those who study in the forensic chemistry and toxicology track work towards careers in forensic labs as forensic chemists, arson analysts and trace evidence examiners. For the masters program, only this last track is carried on, as the degree extends the focus forward in three branches, for work with trace evidence, evidence interpretation and pattern evidence.

While this existing program is already heavily valued in the university’s overall set of degrees, the success and credibility has drawn further attention. According to an article recently completed by the State Journal, this has prompted officials at West Virginia University to develop the program into an entire department. This department, entitled the Department of Forensic and Investigative Science, is not only the result of the reputation developed by the success of school’s program, it is also a response to the recognition of the growing popularity of forensic science as a field of pursuit as a whole. In essence, as the career path continues to hold a steady popularity, the officials at WVU thought a move of developing the program into an entire department was a logical next step.

Gerald Lang, of WVU’s Research office and Robert Jones, the dean of Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at WVU, have both worked to develop the program and its transition into a department. For Jones, the decision to deepen the existing program is a direct affirmation of the excellence and nation-wide reputation of the program. Lang has been selected as head of the department, where he will carry on with the work started by himself and Jones.

from Luisa Florez Medical Examiner http://ift.tt/1xAUDoP

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