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Forensic science technology program now fully accredited

Forensic science technology program now fully accredited

The forensic science technology program has recently obtained full accreditation status from the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC), becoming one of only 20 FEPAC-accredited bachelor-level programs within the field nationwide.

Wayne Bensley, program director and associate professor in the Physical and Life Sciences Department, said the accreditation is a monumental achievement for the Bachelor of Science program.

“It has been a goal of those of us associated with the program since its inception in 2008,” Bensley said. “It affirms the belief that we have held all along regarding the high level of strength found in the curriculum, faculty and staff, facilities, and students associated with the forensic science technology program.”

The five-year accreditation was granted as a result of a yearlong process including a lengthy self-study, as well as recommendations put forth by an administrative team and an on-site team, both composed of forensic science academicians and practitioners. The final decision on accreditation was granted by a Board of Commissioners at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting held in February in Las Vegas.

Among the numerous individuals who worked to ensure the accreditation are Bensley, Physical and Life Sciences Department Chair Mark Amman, retired SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor John Buckwalter, Professor Dr. Jerry Fong, all of the Physical and Life Sciences faculty and staff, program graduates and current students, administrators, and outside benefactors such the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Northeast Regional Laboratory and its director, Thomas M. Blackwell.

Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State, said, “Our college is very excited about the accreditation of our forensic science technology program. We are proud of the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff who worked to make this happen. I would like to thank each of them for their contribution and congratulate them all on their success.”

Dr. Robert Curry, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said, “This is a significant accomplishment and a powerful validation of the program’s high quality. I commend our faculty, staff, and students for a recognition well-deserved.”

Amman said the accreditation was “the perfect storm, in the best of terms, of the many intentional actions to have this come to fruition.”

“There is the deeply dedicated faculty and expertise, a curriculum well seated in solid science and superior instrumentation, continued support by administration, state allocation in our building rehabilitation highlighting the program, and a wealth of student interest in the discipline,” Amman said. “We anticipate that this accreditation will not only serve to enhance the continued recruitment of top-notch students, but also serve as a model for other institutions.”

Students within the laboratory-based, on-campus forensic science technology program complete classwork focusing on three areas of physical evidence analysis: biological applications, chemical practicalities, and microscopic-based examinations. Occupational opportunities include law enforcement laboratories, government crime laboratories, and industrial laboratories employing chemical or biological technologists.

Accreditation from an outside panel of experts, Bensley said, allows the college to market the program as being equal to those found in colleges and universities that are much larger than Alfred State.

“We anticipate that the ‘stamp of approval’ will only help in the recruitment of exceptionally strong students to the program,” Bensley said, “and will also help graduates of the program find additional opportunities for employment and entrance into post-graduate programs.”