Mary Edwards
Spring 2010
Distance Education Leadership & Management
Program Overview
Accreditation and Oversight
Marketplace Context
Program Features
Success Factors
The recent growth in popular television shows
like CSI, NCSI highlights the work of forensic
scientists and popularized the field:
“Interest in forensic science has increased
dramatically in the past 10 years.” – From the
below referenced Technical Working Group on
Education and Training in Forensic Science
Forensic Science Education programs are at the
Undergraduate and Graduate (primarily
Masters) level
University of Florida offers Masters Degrees
and Certificate Programs in general Forensic
Science and specific concentrations
Students refer to themselves as “investiGators”
An interdisciplinary program based out of the
Colleges of Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine
Library Support: Provided by the Health
Science Center Library
Program Website:
Certificates (12 credit hour)
Master of Science
Environmental Forensics
Forensic Death Investigation
Forensic Toxicology
Clinical Toxicology
Drug Chemistry
Forensic DNA & Serology
MS in Forensic Toxicology
MS in Drug Chemistry
MS in Forensic DNA & Serology
MS in Forensic Science
Has demonstrated continual growth
including a 50% enrollment increase over
last year
Currently 928 students enrolled
Students are working professionals in a
variety of settings including crime &
industry labs and schools
Many students are currently deployed
active duty military personnel
Global Forensic Science Education =
Partnerships with the University of
Edinburgh and the University of Canberra
Demonstrates an interest in incorporating
technology to enhance teaching and social
networking to enhance the community of
Won the 2006 (Association for Distance
Education) ADEC Excellence Award
Success factors include:
 A specific niche market experiencing
 A visionary leader
 Continual expansion
 Global partnerships
 Solid curricula
 A strong sense of student community
From the Technical Working Group on
Education and Training in Forensic Science (of
which Dr. Ian Tebbett was a member)
“To ensure that these programs adequately prepare
practitioners for their careers in operational
laboratories, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
has supported West Virginia University’s
establishment of the Technical Working Group for
Education and Training in Forensic Science for the
purpose of recommending best practices for
educational curriculums in forensic science. “
What the report says about graduate degree
“Graduate programs can move students from
theoretical concepts to discipline-specific knowledge.
Exemplary curriculums can include such topics as
crime scenes, physical evidence, law/ science interface,
ethics, and quality assurance to complement the
student’s advanced coursework…By emphasizing
written and oral communication and report writing,
graduate programs can prepare students for future
courtroom testimony. “
Forensic Science education is growing and
there are an increasing number of face-to-face
programs that provide undergraduate and
graduate degrees (taskforce report)
The UF program leads the market for online
Forensic Science Education
Makes use of a third party tools including
google analytics, google ads and a marketing
A positive employment outlook results in
growth of educational programs.
From the Occupational Outlook Handbook:
Jobs for forensic science technicians are expected to
increase by 20 percent, which is much faster than
average. Employment growth in State and local
government should be driven by the increasing
application of forensic science techniques, such as
DNA analysis, to examine, solve, and prevent
Program co-directors:
Ian Tebett and Eileen Oliver
Ian Tebbett is a visionary leader and under his
leadership the program has:
Added degrees and concentrations
Experienced continued phenomenal enrollment
He is an advocate for global partnerships and
models this ideal in his programs
His forensic programs are self-funded and
profit generating
Dr. Tebbett is involved with distance education
leadership initiatives on campus and beyond
Examples of campus involvement:
Campus wide distance education taskforces
 Self-funded program approval committee
He constantly seeks technological solutions to
improve the learning experience of his
students, but is mindful of pedagogical value
and doesn’t adopt “cool tools” for their novelty
Pedagogical Problem –
Recreating a crime scene and introducing
elements of interactivity
Technology Solutions –
Second Life and virtual worlds were trialed but
were rejected because of graphic quality
Working with a developer to create an
interactive 360 degree camera view mobile
Faculty come primarily from 2 UF Colleges:
Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine
UF faculty are campus based and also teach in
other programs
Other program faculty come from the
University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and
University of Canberra University (Australia)
Leveraging expertise by the use of excellent
adjunct faculty
Global Goals
Student Community Engagement (high
levels of student-student interactions)
All programs require a few core courses and
electives in the area of concentration
It is expected that students have prior
knowledge and use of equipment from
undergraduate lab courses
Many of the students are working in lab
settings (state or federal crime labs, private
forensic labs, corporate and industry labs) and
use the lab access to build upon the theoretical
knowledge in coursework
Literature Survey in Forensic Science (or Forensic
Toxicology, DNA Serology, etc. based on area of
concentration – requires a literature search and
Principles of Forensic Science
Special Topics (includes a face-to-face component
with oral and written comprehensive exams) –
usually taken in the final semester
Students can substitute other experiences (like
workshops for the literature class) but Special
Topics is required for graduation
Global Goals:
“The goal is to make quality educational
materials in forensic science available
internationally and in multiple
languages in an effort to develop an
international network of organizations
involved in training and education in
crime detection and prevention” (Dr. Ian
Tebbett, Program Director)
Partnerships with a variety of international
institutions and organizations to develop and
deliver their programs :
 the University of Edinburgh in Scotland
 University of Canberra
 Canberra Institute of Technology
 Australian Federal Police
 Silpakorn University in Bangkok
 Feevale University in Brazil
Anecdotal evidence (from student quotes,
comments, and forum participation) indicates a
strong sense of community and connectedness
with peers regardless of the distance
Many students continue to participate in
program communication after leaving the
program via the program announcement
discussion boards
Students get together at conferences and
meetings whenever possible (from periodioc
observation of the discussion boards)
See the following slides and screen
captures for examples of the community
and participation of forensic science
 Elearning announcement section
 Forensic Science Blog
 Facebook group
Current and
past students
their overall
comment on
the sense of
within the
The Forensic
Science Blog
web 2.0
of RSS news
web design,
and the
Social networking tools like Facebook are utilized to increase student
engagement and provide a social outlet for prospective, current, and past
students. Anecdotal evidence from the program director (Ian Tebbett)
suggests that the facebook group has served a secondary function as an
effective (and surprising) marketing tool
Program growth and feedback from students is
evidence of success
Strong and Innovative leadership
Relevant curriculum
The UF Forensic Science Program is
responding to a market place need in 2 ways:
By offering graduate level forensic science education
 By offering high quality distance education geared
toward working professionals
American Academy of Forensic Sciences –
 Society of Forensic Toxicologists –
 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of
Labor Statistics -

University of Florida Forensic Science Distance Education