Curriculum & Teaching Committee Meeting

Thursday, December 11, 2003




Committee Present:? D. Boucher, Chair; R. Liebler, A. Massey; E. Ockerman; T. Snider;

????????????????????????????????? D. Sosar; T. Visgilio, Amanuensis pro tempore

??????? Guests Present:? D. Grimes, CSC; E. Napieralski; J. O?Brien; F. Sauls


The meeting came to order at 1:01PM


  1. Minutes of previous meeting approved.


  1. Forensic Studies Minor:? Principal Points of Discussion


?         This minor is structured so that students majoring in disciplines other than Criminal Justice, Chemistry, Biology, Psychology or Accounting could complete successfully the course of study.


?         The departments that are expected to develop and implement the central core of the minor were given a general notification to supply appropriate electives.


?         The Biology department voiced concerns regarding the staffing for the required Human Genetics course. (It was suggested that these concerns may be resolved by more regular rotation of Biology faculty in the core 27X sequence of courses.? It was also noted that while the Minor would not be diminished in quality without the Human Genetics requirement, the Minor is better served with this requirement in place.)


?         The Workshops that form part of the Minor should remain as electives because they foster program flexibility, encourage a discipline specific focus and are palatable options for non-matriculated students.? Moreover, the Workshops will more than likely take place under the supervision of ad hoc faculty.


?         The Catalog description should include a statement that this Minor does not promise professional forensic competency, it provides instead a foundation in forensic study.? Students seeking professional expertise ought pursue additional forensic education and training.


  1. A motion to approve the Forensics Studies Minor in the format presented,

?????? made by A. Massey and seconded by T. Snider, was approved unanimously with

?????? the stipulation that Faculty Council review the staffing reservations and concerns

?????? voiced by Biology at this meeting and by Accounting at an earlier meeting.


The meeting adjourned at 1:47PM


Attached below:

Chair?s comments about the Proposal and The Proposal as approved

Chair?s Comments


The Forensic Studies Minor proposal, attached, has been approved by the Committee on Curriculum and Teaching (C&T). It now moves on to Faculty Council.


A brief summary is in order:

1. During its many subsequent revisions, the authors of the proposal, Paul Lindenmuth and Fred Sauls, distributed drafts via email and asked for comment. And they got it! Many thanks are extended to those who participated in this virtual discussion. It saved a lot of trees and a lot of meeting time and served as a model of what I hope will become standard operating procedure for C&T and other committees.


2. Those concerns and comments that were not accommodated by the authors included primarily points on whether there might be a better way to structure the minor, whether it will be popular and whether it would do justice to the field of forensic studies. The Committee regarded these comments as rather speculative in nature, seeing as there are no rigid national standards on a major program in this area, let alone a minor program. It seems to serve well enough as an introduction to a field that almost always requires some graduate school work for its career participants. It will no doubt be improved once it gets underway and the director gets some real world experience with students declaring the minor. No one can envision exactly what is best at this time.


3. This minor is very interdisciplinary, flexible and innovative. It therefore could conceivably impact student enrollment in many courses distributed among several departments (some electives still might be developed within their departments). A few issues were raised in the meeting regarding possible staffing concerns for the required courses in the minor and some of the electives as well. In particular, the Biology department was concerned about its ability to staff Core 275. C&T decided not to hold up approval of the proposal based upon these concerns for two reasons:

(a)     Due to the flexibility and innovation, it would be impossible to predict what the exact effects of the student enrollment would be, even if we know the number of students declaring this minor, which we don't know. We were therefore reluctant to scuttle the efforts of the innovators based upon possible scenarios.

(b)   Staffing is not in the purview of C&T. We merely decided that the proposal was sound in an academic sense; that if implemented, would be a welcome addition to the curriculum of the College. Implementing staffing based upon College needs is carried out within departments, among departments and sometimes between departments and the Administration.

Therefore, C&T passes this proposal on to FC noting that there may be staffing repercussions and FC should take care to consider these possibilities. C&T encourages anyone concerned about these issues to address them to FC, which will take up the issue in January.


Thanks for reading this far,

Derrick Boucher, Ph.D., Chair of C&T


Dr. Derrick E. Boucher  (
Associate Professor of Physics
King's College Dept. of Chemistry and Physics
133 N. River St.
Wilkes-Barre PA 18711
(570) 208-5900 ext. 5427
(570) 825-9049 fax
Office: Administration 307


(approved by Curriculum & teaching 12/11/03)

Proposed new program:



Program philosophy

??????????? Forensic studies may be defined as the use of specialized knowledge to assist in the resolution of legal questions.? It is not really a separate intellectual field; it is a way of applying the results of specialized disciplines to legal questions.? In application, it draws from a wide range of knowledge.? A practitioner requires an in-depth knowledge of the discipline in question, along with an understanding of the peculiarities involved in applying it to the legal system.

??????????? A very rough analogy with our secondary education program is appropriate.? In training high school teachers we first require an in depth education in the discipline; we don?t just train ?teachers?.? However, no department can provide the special knowledge necessary for teacher training.? Thus, we have extracted the common features of education in a separate program; the individual majors then build on this.

??????????? Similarly, a forensic practitioner is first and foremost an expert in the discipline.? We have collected the common features of forensic work into the minor.? From the minor the student will draw (1) a broad understanding of how specialized knowledge is applied in the legal system, (2) an understanding of the legal considerations affecting expert testimony, (3) a framework for the acquisition of relevant professional knowledge in the major, and (4) the skills necessary to analyze and apply data forensically.? Major programs can build on this as appropriate.

Because advanced degrees and/or extensive experience are generally required for forensic work, it will NOT generally provide sufficient depth for students to immediately become forensic practitioners.? That is not the intent.? It will provide a foundation on which to build, however.

??????????? It is designed to provide a forensic focus to any major which decides to participate.? The overall forensic perspective comes from the general courses required of all.? The professional expertise and focus come from the forensically oriented courses within the major program.? While majors in disciplines which do not participate can complete the program, the full benefit will only come from a collaboration between the minor and majors.


Student interest

??????????? Some of us have been deflecting student requests for forensics for many years, with a certain degree of embarrassment.? This is NOT a new area of interest.? With the events of September 11, 2001, increased awareness of the need for forensic science has developed.? In addition, television has spotlighted this field in drama and documentary.? Students see how this field applies to their lives.

The cross-disciplinary approach will be exciting to students from various majors.? There is a marriage of theory, laboratory practice and application between such majors as psychology, biology, chemistry, criminal justice . . .

Potential students will see that their interests can be met at King?s ? which is the only reason we exist.? This should prove a strong recruitment tool for all the disciplines participating.? The word of this proposal has leaked out; even absent an announcement we are already fielding inquiries.


Program Structure

??????????? The minor consists of courses covering (a) the basic legal considerations, (b) broad areas of forensic applications, and (c) specialization within the major covering areas of relevance to forensic questions.? Parts (a) and (b) are required of all students.? They are developed through existing courses, requiring few prerequisites.? Some reemphasis may be appropriate (e. g. in CORE 273 or 275) to make the course more forensically oriented.

In consultation with the project team, each participating program will require up to 2 courses in the major.? These will be at a high level, emphasizing professional skills, and requiring substantial prerequisites within the major.? Because these are advanced disciplinary courses, majors may be permitted to take these even if they choose not to complete the minor.? Each program will have to make its own decisions.? We hope for as broad participation as possible.

??????????? Students majoring in nonparticipating disciplines may also complete the minor, as a matter of personal enrichment.

??????????? The CJ workshops, currently marketed principally to an external audience of professional forensic practitioners, will be made available to our students.? Recognized experts will teach them in a 40 hour week made up of five (8 hour) days.? Because of the time constraints and fees of these experts, the workshop structure best meets the needs of our students and the practitioners.

Assessment is built into each workshop and covers the student?s ability to master technical skills, use critical thinking, and use knowledge of the law in performing investigations.? For our students these will be assigned numbers as 1 credit CJ courses, with normal grading procedures.


Resources required / available

The program can be implemented with few new resources.? Existing courses have been used; some will require modification.? However, because courses are under continuous development anyway, this requires redirection of effort and not an increase.? Within participating majors, this may require an expansion or change of the electives offered.? This should not require substantial extra effort; rather a redirection towards areas of increased student interest.

Our goal must be to serve our students? needs and interests ? not to teach what we are comfortable doing.? To a minor extent, this may cause an internal shift of enrollments, particularly in the Core.? We will have to offer more of the desired courses, fewer of the rest.? Little net Core enrollment change is likely.? Because the minor is offered in conjunction with the major, enrollment shifts between majors are improbable.

Covering the broader forensic aspects of the program, Paul Lindenmuth and Fred Sauls have professional experience and expertise in the field.? In the disciplines, many faculty have experience in the legal system as expert witnesses.? It should be professionally enriching (and a good deal of fun) to design and teach these advanced disciplinary courses.

??????????? Because we commit few new resources to the program, in the unlikely event the student interest collapses, we have lost little.


Administrative Structure

??????????? Day to day operation of the program and student advising will be performed by a program director appointed by the VPAA.? (Currently envisioned to be Paul Lindenmuth).? Academic supervision of the program will be by a project team (the director, faculty of the required courses, and others interested) appointed by the VPAA.

Draft Catalog Copy




Paul Lindenmuth, Director


??????????? Forensic studies may be defined as the use of specialized knowledge to assist in the resolution of legal questions.? It is not itself a separate intellectual field; it is a way of applying the results of specialized disciplines to legal questions.? In application, it draws from a wide range of knowledge.? A practitioner requires an in-depth knowledge of the discipline, along with how to apply it to the legal system.

The minor provides an overview of the forensic disciplines and how they aid the investigation of criminal activity.? The principles, methods and skills used in analyzing evidence and applying the results to criminal investigation are examined.

From the minor the student will draw (1) a broad understanding of how specialized knowledge is applied in the legal system, (2) an understanding of the legal considerations affecting expert testimony, (3) a framework for the acquisition of relevant professional knowledge in the major, and (4) the skills necessary to analyze and apply data forensically.? Advanced courses within the major provide the technical knowledge required.? The program will provide a foundation on which the student can further build toward a forensic career.

Students majoring in disciplines without courses approved for the minor may still complete the program.






CJ 131 ? Introduction to Criminal Law (3)

CORE 278 ? Forensic Chemistry (3)

CORE 275 ? Human Genetics (3)

PSY 341 ? Forensic Psychology (3)



ELECTIVE (2 required; consult the department listing for more information)

ACCT 498 ? Forensic Accounting (3)

CHEM 475 ? Advanced Analytical Chemistry (3)

*CIS ? XXX Computer Fraud (3)

*CIS ? XXX Cyber Terrorism and Industrial Espionage 3)

*CIS ? XXX Conspiracy and Computer Crime (3)

*CIS ? XXX Legal Issues and Computer Technology (3)

CJ 355 ? Criminal Investigation (3)

CJ 367 ? Rules of Evidence (3)

CORE 273 - Contemporary Biology

PSYC 391 ? Psychology of Violent Crime

*(Offered under special topics)


Others may be substituted in consultation with the program director.


FORENSIC SCIENCE WORKSHOPS (3 may substitute for one elective)


CJ XXX - Blood Stain Evidence (1credit)

CJ XXX - Forensic Photography (1credit)

CJ XXX - Document and Handwriting Examination (1credit)

CJ XXX - Weapons Identification (1credit)

CJ XXX - Evidence Retrieval and Processing (1credit)

CJ XXX - Financial Crimes (1credit)

CJ XXX - Forensic Anthropology (1credit)

CJ XXX - Forensic Odontology (1credit)

APPENDIX:? Learning Objectives


Introduction to Criminal Law (CJ 131)


The forensic sciences are a hybrid of the sciences and law.? Introduction to Criminal Law establishes how the lawful collection of evidence is a critical part of any criminal investigation.?

1.? Upon completion of the course, students will be able to apply the knowledge

???? of criminal law to commonly accepted defenses used to by attorneys within the

???? criminal justice system.?

2.? The student will be able identify the major elements of criminal offenses and will able

? ???to apply real life situations to determine the likelihood of a successful prosecution.?

3.? The student will understand the importance of lawful searches and seizure with

???? regard to the admissibility of evidence obtained to all criminal cases.



Criminal Investigation (CJ 355)


1.      Upon completion of this course of study, the student will be able to recognize the difference between an incident that is a violation of law and one that is not.? Deciding whether a crime has been committed or whether it has not been committed is crucial to the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system.?

2.      The student will be able to apply their knowledge of both criminal law and the forensic sciences to lawfully process a crime scene.? After completion of this course, the student will be able to properly secure evidence.? This is essential for successful prosecution of a criminal case.?

3.      Students will develop skills in public relations, writing, interpersonal relationships, teamwork, critical thinking and mathematics.? This will be combined with other skills to process a crime scene, continue through the various stages of an investigation,? and prepare the case for trial.? Examples of this would be: (1) the interviewing of victims and witnesses; (2) dealing with the press and other agencies concerned with the criminal incident;?? (3) lawfully processing the crime scene as a team; (4) the student will be involved with the development and organization of case files, that are viewed by attorney?s for the purpose of case preparation and for the investigator?s testimony given at trial; (5) apply various crime scene techniques (i.e. crime scene sketching, lawfully securing and preserving evidence, photographs, and other investigative techniques and how they apply to investigations); (6) write reports, conduct interviews and interrogations, develop probable cause for searches, and use these techniques to successfully complete an investigation and prepare a case file for prosecution;

4.      Ethical and moral issues are an integral part of any course more especially within criminal investigations.? Emphasis is placed on the primary purpose of any investigation, which is to uncover the truth, and students will leave with that understanding.? Students are expected to conduct themselves in a moral and ethical manner while they are conducting a crime scene search, securing evidence, interviewing witnesses and suspects.