RWU Criminal Justice Dean Moves To Engineering Building

Forensic Learning Labs are in the works


Emily Dvareckas/The Hawks' Herald

The Dean of the School of Criminal Justice has moved his office from CAS to the School of Engineering.

Dr. Eric Bronson, the Dean of the School of Justice Studies, along with several other faculty and staff members within this school, have relocated their offices to the old School of Engineering building.

“There was open and available space, and it looks like the future of this building is going to be much more interdisciplinary in terms of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM),” Bronson said. “There is also a lot of growth in forensic science and cybersecurity.”

The engineering building is currently under several renovations including new wet labs being built for the forensic science department, as well as a virtual reality lab. Professor Karla-Sue Marriott, the new director of the forensic science program, created the virtual reality lab at Savannah University and is looking to do the same at RWU, but better.

According to Marriott, “Their Virtual Reality lab allowed them to process blood samples and more, and it’s currently the first forensic science virtual reality training for undergraduate students. It would be an interdisciplinary facility, which means it would be used for any discipline who wants to enhance their curriculum.”

Their hope is that the seniors will be able to use the virtual reality equipment next semester since it is more flexible, and you don’t need a designated space.

Virtual reality is expected to improve the forensic science curriculum greatly because with it, students will be able to examine crime scenes as well as measure the blood spatter from gunshot wounds.

Regarding the wet labs, Marriott said, “Currently we don’t have a designated forensic science lab, so they’re in a transitional mode in the old engineering building. By the end of the transition, there should be a forensic science lab where students can do fingerprinting, forensics chemistry, and so on. It would look like a chemistry lab, but it would have forensic experiments going on.”

According to Bronson, the goal is for this to be a flexible space all-around. Various disciplines are using these labs and the furniture will be moveable. The space is going to be revolutionized so that it is ready for students in all kinds of disciplines.

“I’m really looking forward to the future of this renovation and what we’re going to be able to offer to students, and finally see it in action. Students are going to love it,” said Bronson.

Forensic science student Andrew Skempris said “I am kind of upset that I’m a senior and won’t be able to use everything, but I’m hoping that some things will be ready for next semester. It is nice that we are getting our own building and that more is being put into this program. We’ve been working in the basement of Marine and Natural Sciences, so it’s nice that we are actually getting our own lab.”

This will provide students with more hands-on learning opportunities and allow for a better overall experience at Roger Williams and in their program. These renovations will also help with recruitment of future Hawks because this will give them a better demonstration of what this school has to offer.