Around 50 forensics education and training experts from across the country as well as Canada will be in Morgantown Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 6-7) as West Virginia Universitys unique forensic identification program hosts its second education and training conference at Lakeview Resort. The conference falls on the heels of a Senate Aviation Subcommittee field hearing held Monday (Nov. 5) at WVU in which the biometrics aspect of the program was spotlighted.

“We continue to map out a strategy and a solid foundation for the education and training of students seeking degrees in this emerging academic discipline,”said Michael T. Yura, director of WVU s forensic identification degree program. Dr. Yura said the conference is an extension of the groups first meeting on the WVU campus in July.

WVU and National Institute of Justice (NIJ) officials put together the Technical Working Group on Forensic Science Education and Training which includes leading forensic specialists from large metropolitan crime labs, such as Los Angeles and New York, the FBI and other federal agencies, and well known educators and trainers from major universities and training institutions nationwide.

“The purpose of this working group is to develop a guide to help institutions and practitioners implement academic programs necessary to promote useful, comprehensive, and applicable knowledge for those seeking active careers in a forensic laboratory,”Yura said. Discipline areas that will be covered include areas such as forensic chemistry, forensic biology, crime scene processing and latent fingerprints, he added. The findings will be published as recommendations for all academic forensic science educational and training programs in the United States.

“WVU is not only proud to host this conference,”Yura said,”but to have input on developing a solid foundation for all forensic science programs in the country.”

Funds to support this weeks working group were appropriated by Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-WV, through the NIJ s Crime Lab Improvement Program. NIJ is the research and development agency of the Department of Justice. NIJ is one of five components within the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs.