‘CSI:SU’ – University kicks off forensics offerings with high school teachers playing the roles of investigators
‘CSI:SU’ – University kicks off forensics offerings with high school teachers playing the roles of investigatorsJuly 17, 2003Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
Mock scenes of murder and mayhem and realistic laboratory exercises took over Bowne Hall and the surrounding area of campus July 7-11 as part of a week-long workshop bringing together some of Central New York’s most accomplished forensic scientists and investigators with 43 high school educators.
The high school teachers played the role of crime scene investigators, finding and examining a blood-soaked “body” of evidence – actually a dummy planted in a dumpster with simulated fingerprints, drag marks and blood splatters nearby – under the supervision of SU professors, Department of Public Safety officers, and representatives from the Syracuse Police Department and local forensic investigators. Participants then adjourned to the lab, where they participated in real-life explorations of such topics as forensic chemical analysis, toxicology and DNA sampling.
This fall, each of the teachers will return to their home schools across the state to share their new investigative knowledge with students through SU Project Advance, which offers for-credit college courses to high school students. Forensics, along with Italian and statistics, is among the new subject areas offered by Project Advance this fall.
“This workshop is also the kickoff for SU’s forensics offerings on its main campus,” says chemistry professor and workshop organizer James T. Spencer. A pilot course was offered during the Spring 2003 semester, and forensics will be offered for the first time as a regular undergraduate course this fall. According to Spencer, if there is sufficient interest, forensics courses will be expanded to provide undergraduate chemistry majors with the opportunity to pursue a minor in this growing specialty.