Summary

A new practitioner lecture series has been incorporated to the MSc/PgD Forensic Science, Professional and Career Skills FS986 class and the MChem/BSc Forensic and Analytical Chemistry CH560 class.

Context

Centre for Forensic Science

Contact Details

Lynsey Shaw

https://www.strath.ac.uk/staff/shawlynseymrs/

Themes

Internationalisation

Rationale 

Students are given a series of talks from external forensic practitioners, while at the same time being encouraged to consider their own personal/professional development.

Each guest speaker is invited to give a 2-hour presentation on their specialist topic (examples of which include firearms examination, forensic pathology, molecular genetics, drugs analysis, toxicology, fires and explosives, cybercrime, legal systems, etc.). After each, MSc forensic science students are encouraged to reflect on their learning experience by completion of written coursework.

In order to fit with Strathclyde’s internationalisation agenda and our endeavour to create graduates with a ‘global outlook’, this includes not only forensic practitioners from Scotland as has previously been the case; but invites speakers from all over the UK and Europe to demonstrate the breadth of employment and further study opportunities for our graduates. 

Successes

Along with the PGT MSc/PgD Forensic Science students, undergraduate final year students from the MChem Forensic and Analytical Chemistry course are also invited to attend. This lecture series broadens the exposure of students to representatives from industry through an external lecture series and also the diversity of the background of invited speakers.

After the success of this year’s trial lecture series, we have converted this into a longer-term practitioner lecture series integrated into the MSc curriculum.

Additionally, the university has now employed four of these forensic practitioners, from a variety of specialist areas, to deliver these lectures over a number of years demonstrating a longer term commitment and contribution to teaching and course development.

Challenges

These lectures are attended by a large number of our undergraduate and postgraduate students across various cohorts and therefore timetabling and room booking needs to be considered significantly in advance of the lectures.

Lessons Learnt

Students reflect on their learning experience by completion of written coursework after each lecture. Making this a compulsory pass/fail exercise has not only increased attendance but also increased participation within each lecture.

The ongoing relationship with practitioners has not only provided increased potential for course development but also, in certain cases, provided mentoring opportunities for current members of staff within the CFS.  

Scalability

The only restriction on this lecture series is room size and therefore there is the potential to expand this to a wider audience and include an even more varied group of guest speakers in the future. 

Suggestions for Transferability

The introduction of a practitioner guest lecture series would easily transfer, as all students across the university would benefit from receiving lectures from those with extensive practical experience within their area of study. 

Links

A list of some of our guest lecturers can be found on the Strathclyde website:

http://www.strath.ac.uk/courses/postgraduatetaught/forensicscience/