New forensics classes in works

Aaron Corpora

For the first time in Kent State’s history, a group of professors in the anthropology department are working to establish at least three new forensics courses for Spring 2016.

The team, lead by assistant anthropology professors Linda Spurlock and Anthony Tosi; distinguished professor of anthropology C. Owen Lovejoy; associate anthropology professor Mary Ann Raghanti; and Richard Meindl, chair of the department of anthropology, are using their collective knowledge in forensics to introduce the new courses.

“This idea has been in the works for a while, but it really gelled when we hired Dr. Tosi,” Spurlock said.

Tosi’s familiarity with DNA and body fluids, as well as more recent genetic technologies, goes hand in hand with Spurlock and Lovejoy’s years of forensics work.

Spurlock has spent her career doing forensic work herself, serving as a forensic artist working on police sketches and sculpture work for Summit and Cuyahoga counties.

Lovejoy and Meindl together have developed innovative techniques in determining age of death by looking at a human’s hip bone.

Lovejoy said that these professors in the anthropology department feel that they have enough expertise between the five of them to turn this program into something great.

Students who want to take forensics courses will need to take a DNA course first.

“Dr. Spurlock’s classes will be the doorway into DNA and future forensics courses,” Tosi said.

It is still being determined whether a completion of Spurlock’s introductory courses will be required when signing up for Tosi’s new DNA course.

The five professors’ goal with these new courses is for students not just in the anthropology department To become well versed in the art of forensics.

“I think other students could benefit as well,” Raghanti said. “Criminal justice students and perhaps psychology students as well.”

Eventually, the goal of these professors is to establish these new classes as an option for a minor for anthropology students. While there is no specific timetable, it is something that all five professors agreed they intend to work toward.

“There are some hoops you have to jump through with the College of Arts and Sciences, but long term, the answer is yes,” Lovejoy said.

“We’re thinking big picture here,” Tosi said. “It’s a very broad base.”


Contact Aaron Corpora at [email protected].