The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents


Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Higher Education and Professional Practice


Master Plan Amendment: Hilbert College, B.S.,

Forensic Science/Crime Scene Investigation


February 18, 2005


Action (Consent Agenda)


Master Plan Amendment is needed when an institution offers its first program in a new discipline area


Goal 2






Hilbert College, Hamburg, Erie County, has requested approval of a master plan amendment to offer a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program in Forensic Science/Crime Scene Investigation.  Master plan amendment is required because this would be the College’s first degree program in the area of physical sciences.


The Department has determined that the proposed program, if approved, would meet the standards for registration set forth in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.


Recommendation:  I recommend that the Regents take the following action:


VOTED, that the master plan of Hilbert College be amended, effective March 15, 2005, to offer a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program in Forensic Science/Crime Scene Investigation.  This amendment will be effective until March 31, 2006, unless the program is registered by the Department prior to that date, in which case master plan amendment shall be without term.


Hilbert College

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Forensic Science/Crime Scene Investigation



Academic Review


          A.  Curriculum.  In addition to a college core, the program requires a 39-credit mix of criminal justice and forensic science courses, and liberal arts and science courses.


          Typical forensic science programs focus on physical sciences in laboratory settings where evidence and other materials are analyzed.  Crime scene investigation (CSI), on the other hand, involves the proper identification, collection, and chain-of- custody of evidence from the field to the forensic lab for analysis.  The coursework required for the major is intended to provide the knowledge and skills to bridge these responsibilities.


          B.  Students.  The general admission requirements of Hilbert College will apply to students in this program.  Hilbert anticipates an enrollment of 35 students in the first year and 150 in the fifth year.  The projected enrollment would be 85-90 percent full-time and 10-15 percent part-time.  The program expects to draw students from existing Hilbert programs as well as transfer and first-time college students.



          C.  Faculty.  Hilbert College’s existing Criminal Justice faculty will be able to provide approximately 75 percent of the instructional base for the CSI program.  The Criminal Justice faculty members have extensive backgrounds in crime scene investigation and chemistry.  The College plans to hire one full-time and two part-time CSI faculty members to fully implement the program.



          D.  Resources.  The College has initially reserved two large classrooms that provide ample, secure storage for forensic science investigation equipment.  Hilbert is in the fundraising stage of building a new academic facility which will double classroom space.  This addition will allow provide more CSI space.  The College has budgeted $10,000 to purchase the necessary supplies and equipment to supplement existing CSI holdings and provide renovations for one CSI laboratory.


          McGrath Library of Hilbert College subscribes to at least 50 criminal justice and approximately 45 psychology journal titles.  Also accessible are over 100 book titles and approximately 30 videos supporting the program.  Subscription databases such as ProQuest Direct’s Criminal Justice Periodicals bring that number up to several thousand if not several hundred thousand.  Criminal Justice Abstracts and PsycINFO provide citations to materials students can obtain through the Library’s collection or by its interlibrary loan service. 


E.  Program Registration.  The Department has determined that the proposed program, if approved, will meet the standards for registration in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. 


          F. Need.  Law enforcement and government agencies need qualified professionals with forensic science and crime scene investigation skills to process complex crime scenes.  Hilbert College proposes a baccalaureate degree program in Forensic Science/Crime Scene Investigation (FS/CSI).  If approved it will serve traditional age college students planning to seek employment in entry-level positions as well as practicing investigators.


          G.  Effect on Other Institutions.  A canvass was conducted of the Western Region and one institution responded in support of the proposed program and two others responded indicating the proposed program would have no effect on their institutions.



Planning Review


According to the International Association for Identification, numerous agencies, such as sheriff’s departments, police agencies, public safety offices and university police departments, offer various employment opportunities directly related to crime scene investigation. Locally, the cities of Buffalo and Rochester have held employment screenings for individuals with training in the field of crime scene investigation.


          The FS/CSI program is intended to provide both college students and law enforcement personnel with the most current technological knowledge and practical applications in crime scene investigation. These skills will enable students to obtain entry-level positions in a wide array of employment areas, including evidence technician, crime scene specialist, police crime scene technician, evidence examiner and crime scene photographer. Additionally, the program will furnish veteran officers with career advancement opportunities available through specialized education in crime scene investigation.


          A significant number of Hilbert students enrolled in its Criminal Justice and Economic Crime Investigation programs, which comprise 47 percent of the college student population, are already enrolled in some forensic science investigation courses offered by the College and have requested additional offerings.