225 COLLEGE PARK DRIVE • WEATHERFORD, TX 76086 • 817-594-5471 / 800-287-5471
A high quality forensic science department in higher education cannot exist without established and progressive programs in psychology, criminal justice, biology, chemistry, and anthropology, and a willingness on the part of colleagues to work as an Interdisciplinary Team. Truly, a spirit of cooperation must exist between the participants for the coordination of effort required for the program to be successful.
In our case, after preliminary approval from college administrators, our team at Weatherford College immediately devised two criminalistic labs-FORS 2440--a basic evidence gathering and analysis lab--leading directly to FORS 2450-a forensic psychology lab.
In the process of 'due diligence', the program clearly demanded a lab-driven program. In consultation with university Chairs and Deans, we concluded four labs must drive the forensic science degree at the community college level. We felt our program must be a model and prepare students for university and graduate level academic rigor. At every step in the academic degree plan the bar for forensic science students was raised well above most existing degree plans.
We anticipate many of our graduates to enter medical school to become medical examiners or pathologists, law school, or to work as criminalists in forensic labs. From the start, we concluded our graduates must receive the most comprehensive "hands on" training available.
Behavioral Sciences Chair, Don Jacobs, spent approximately one year researching the creation of a forensic science program along with microbiologist Erin MacKenzie and Criminal Justice Director, Lum Farr. Another six-months passed and the "team" pressed on. Over two years of research and preparation pre-dated attending a forensic science symposium in 2003 "Current Trends in Forensic Sciences" offered by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office. This was the final piece of the puzzle. Almost immediately, we went to work securing letters of support, approval, and the all-important letters of articulation from universities. It is the Articulation Agreements that allow seamless transfer of our students to university curricula.
The next hurdle was to secure approval from the Texas Co-Board for our labs and the forensic science curricula as "unique need" courses. After weeks of research, collaboration, and communication with responder Brenda Berry of the Co-Board, final approval was granted on March 8, 2004.