FSI Director Named FEPAC Commissioner

FSI Director Named FEPAC Commissioner

The Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) recently announced the appointment of Dwight Adams, Ph.D., director of the University of Central Oklahoma’s W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute (FSI), as one of its commissioners. (Provided/University Communications)

The University of Central Oklahoma’s Dwight Adams, Ph.D., director of the W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute, has been appointed as a commissioner for the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

Commissioners are chosen based off of the quality, professionalism and excellence found in their higher education forensic programs. The six-year appointments are determined by leading forensic science practitioners and education programs across the country.

“The committee looks for professionals with a wide range of experience and already part of the accreditation process,” said Adams.

Since FSI’s accreditation in March 2016, Adams has gone out on assessments and inspections at other universities. Now, as a commissioner, he will receive assessments and review them, and help create the next level of assessment standards.

“[UCO FSI] has a level of excellence that not many other universities have,” said Adams.

Adams became the first FSI director in 2006, after retiring from 23 years of service in the FBI, where he was an agent and director of the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. In 2003, he received the highest award given in the federal government, the Presidential Rank Award as Distinguished Executive.

While at the FBI, Adams was a member of the research team that developed some of the first DNA techniques in 1988. He was the first FBI agent to testify as a DNA expert in local, state and federal courts, and has testified over 130 times for the prosecution and defense.

As a DNA expert, Adams served on the national DNA Advisory Board and was a member of the Attorney General’s National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence. He also oversaw the creation of the National DNA Database, which links 175 crime laboratories and has helped solve or aid over 80,000 cases nationwide.

Adams said he didn’t have a life long passion for forensics, but ended up there eventually. “It was a simple matter of going to school for nine years, having a Ph.D. in biology and wanting a job,” said Adams.

Since becoming the FSI director, Adams has found a passion for working with students and teaching them about forensics and its intricacies.

“I really enjoy being able to work with students,” said Adams. “I have a passion for telling the next generation about this work and its challenges.”

Within the FSI, Adams said one of the things they try to get across to students is the challenge of providing the best possible product. He said they emphasize finding the truth, no matter which side it comes from in a case.

The FSI received FEPAC accreditation for its undergraduate degrees in forensic chemistry, digital forensics and forensic molecular biology. According to Adams, the FSI is the only program in North America that is accredited in all of the undergraduate programs possible.

UCO’s Forensic Science Institute offers four undergraduate degrees and two graduate degrees within various fields of forensics. Forensic science training, education and research are available to students and professionals.

Adams’ term as a commissioner will begin at the next meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in February 2018.

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