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Friday, February 17, 2006
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Ohio forensic chemistry program receives accreditation

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 17, 2006) -- Ohio University's Forensic Chemistry program was recently accredited by the American Academy of Forensic Science. Though many schools boast forensic science programs, Ohio University is one of only 11 to be accredited by the academy.

"About every week there is notice of a new forensic science or forensic chemistry major at other universities," said Peter Harrington, director of Ohio University's Forensic Chemistry program and professor of chemistry and biochemistry. "This area of study is very popular; however, our program trains our undergraduates to be disciplined scientists with quantitative and qualitative reasoning skills. Our students are required to take more science courses and have more career options than students in undergraduate forensic science programs. Their versatility is demonstrated by the great variety of scientific fields in which they are pursuing advanced studies or have earned doctorates."

Being accredited validates the strength of Ohio University's Forensic Chemistry program and proves its legitimacy to students and professionals alike.

"Accreditation assures prospective students that they will receive professional training and have a competitive advantage over non-accredited programs after graduation," Harrington said. "It also ensures that our curriculum remains relevant to our students' major."

Ohio University's program stands out in that it is centered in chemistry while many others are based in their school's criminal justices department. The chemistry program at Ohio University is the largest in Ohio with 320 undergraduate majors, 140 of which are forensic chemistry majors.

To be accredited, a professional assessor and an academic must review a forensics program. Additionally, the forensics department must complete an annual review and evaluations of their program, including employer satisfaction surveys, as well as collaborate and serve the forensic community in Ohio. Ohio University meets this requirement by working with the Food and Drug Administration's Forensic Chemistry Center in Cincinnati.

Ohio University's Forensic Chemistry program was founded in 1976, making this year its 30th anniversary. The program was approved by the Ohio Board of Regents in 1976 and was the first program to grant a B.S. in Forensic Chemistry degree. Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Jimmy Tong founded the program and served as the director for 21 years. He is currently the chairman of the Forensic Chemistry External Advisory Committee.

The American Academy of Forensic Science is a non-profit professional organization that was founded in 1948. The Forensic Education Programs Accreditation Committee was formed in 2001.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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