FEPAC Call for Comments on Proposed Update to Standard 4.3 Program Director

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Source: Nancy J. Jackson, Accreditation & Outreach Coordinator

Pursuant to the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) Policies and Procedures, Policy 1.4 Scope of Accreditation, FEPAC promotes academic quality through the formal accreditation of forensic science programs in the United States and abroad.

FEPAC accredits forensic science education programs that lead to a bachelor’s or master’s degree in forensic science, or in a natural science with a forensic science concentration. FEPAC will also accredit bachelor’s or master’s degree programs with a digital evidence concentration and a bachelor’s degree program with a crime scene investigations concentration.

Based on a recent review of FEPAC Standards, a discrepancy was noted in FEPAC Standard 4.3 Program Director. With the adoption of the undergraduate Crime Scene Investigation standards, Standard 3.5 Faculty was updated to include an exception for Crime Scene Investigations and Digital Evidence programs where 100% of the full-time faculty have at least an appropriate master’s degree plus five years relevant experience.

In crime scene investigations and digital evidence concentrations, many qualified program directors may come from a background with no experience in an operational forensic science laboratory.

In reviewing the FEPAC Standard 4.3 Program Director, the Commission has proposed a change to the standard as follows:

Standard 4.3 Program Director

The program director shall be a full-time faculty member at the academic institution, appropriately qualified to meet the program’s stated mission, goals, and objectives, and to provide leadership in forensic science education, research, and other scholarly activities so that students are adequately prepared for forensic science practice.

The program director shall meet the following requirements:

  1. A minimum of a Master’s or professional degree appropriate for a forensic science program, and at least three years relevant experience as a forensic science practitioner in an operational forensic science laboratory setting except for Crime Scene Investigations and Digital Evidence programs only, where the program director shall have at least an appropriate master’s degree plus five years relevant experience; OR earned doctorate in an appropriate discipline, and three years experience as an academic forensic scientist that includes appropriate educational, research, and service contributions to forensic science; and,
  2. Documented management experience appropriate to the duties assigned to the position.

FEPAC is soliciting comments on its draft proposed for this standard and welcomes your comments and suggestions.

Please direct your comments prior to September 1, 2021, to Nancy J. Jackson, Accreditation Coordinator and Outreach Coordinator at njackson@aafs.org.