Forensic Science: Workshops, Symposia and Community Scholars

Project No.
PI Name
Lawrence Kaplan
Williams College
Target Discipline

Abstract 1

Forensic Science: Workshops, Symposia and Community Scholars

Presentation Type

As faculty progress through their careers, they frequently are called upon, or simply desire themselves, to develop new and interesting courses to serve a variety of constituents. Forensic science is a very appealing and exciting field to engage both majors and non-science majors. The workshops provide an opportunity for colleagues to develop the knowledge and skill to teach courses in forensic science with an interactive laboratory program.


To conduct a week-long forensic science workshop for college and university faculty. The workshop has a major experimental component that gives the participants experience with all of the major equipment and techniques used in a crime laboratory. To develop a community of forensic science scholars so that the teaching/learning process will continue for all involved.


The educational process is most effective if the students are stimulated to want to learn the material. Following a crime scenario at which the participants collect evidence, they investigate the evidence collected and the evidence submitted to the crime lab as the police investigate the crime. This creates and exciting environment where the participants want to know - who dun it. The lectures provide the theoretical basis for the experimental procedures.


More than 350 participants have taken the forensic science workshop. Many, upon returning to their home institutions, have developed experiments, lecture modules, courses, programs and even majors in forensic science as a result of what they experienced in the workshop. The impact has extended to tens of thousands of students.

Broader Impacts

The education and training of faculty colleagues in the basic science and technology behind the many aspects of the discipline of forensic science has created a generation of chemistry educators who has taught tens of thousands of undergraduate students and, in effect, transformed this aspect of undergraduate STEM education.
The activities of the workshop and the scholarly activities of the alumni are posted on the Forensic Science Scholars website. Additional activities of the alumni are reported in the professional education literature and at symposia at professional meetings.

Unexpected Challenges

No unexpected challenges


Kanu, A. B., Pajski, M., Hartman, M., Kimaru, I., Marine, S., and Kaplan, L. J., モExploring Perspectives and Identifying Potential Challenges Encountered with Crime Scene Investigations when Developing Chemistry Curricula,ヤ Journal of Chemical Education, 2015, 92(8), 1353-1358.

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