Leadership Series

Leadership Series


Every forensic science professional is a leader. Our society relies on the credibility and fairness of the criminal justice system. Forensic scientists play an important and fundamental role in the criminal justice community and are key to keeping our communities safe. The National Institute of Justice, through its Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (Award 2016-MU-DX-K110) and in partnership with the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, is therefore proud to provide these leadership modules to introduce leadership concepts to the forensic scientist.  Highly functioning leaders are essential to operational excellence, process and analytical reliability, workforce competency, efficiency, implementation of technologies and best practices, and overall quality in the laboratory.

The FTCOE is funded by the National Institute of Justice and our resources are open to the public at no cost. You may need to create a new account in our new system.


Emotional Intelligence
Presenter: Dr. Terry Anderson

The forensic laboratory is not just a technical organization that produces scientific results. It is also a human organization with relationships and emotions and the joys and frustrations of managing people. Emotional intelligence can help you navigate these aspects of your work, which will only become more important as you advance in your career.

This module introduces some specific approaches to emotional intelligence that have proven successful in many professional organizations. As you read the material, think about people and situations that demonstrate the ideas presented in the module. Keep in mind that emotional intelligence is something that you can develop in yourself. Use this opportunity to learn more about it and how you can develop your interpersonal skills.

Presenter: Jody Wolf

This module covers Generations—the differences among various age cohorts in the work place. These differences may relate to work expectations, loyalty, attitudes toward authority, and much more. Of course, every person is an individual with their own perspective, but taking into account their generational outlook may improve your ability to work with and understand your colleagues.

Leadership & Change
Presenter: Timothy P. Scanlan, Ph.D.

Change can be difficult in any organization. Crime laboratories resist change for many reasons, including a reluctance to bring new ideas or techniques into practice that might lead to mistakes. This module gives perspective on how change can benefit organizations and cautions against making changes just for the sake of change.  The module also gives strategies to use when implementing necessary changes.

Leadership & Power
Presenter: Dean Gialamas

The purpose of this module is to discuss the relationship between leadership and power. You may have power based on your position or because of your expertise or behavior as a role model. It is important to be aware of the sources of power in a situation so that you can use them wisely to promote a positive work environment.

Leadership & Ethics
Presenter: Dean Gialamas

Most forensic scientists follow the highest ethical and professional standards in their work. They understand that failures in forensic science erode public confidence in government and the criminal justice system. This module discusses how to approach ethical problems in the forensic laboratory, including historical and hypothetical examples.

Moral Compass
Presenter: Dr. Terry Anderson

What is the moral center at the heart of forensic science? To be worthy of the trust that is placed in them, forensic scientists must be concerned with their role to serve their communities through the equitable administration of justice. This module discusses the elements of the “moral compass,” which is a way to frame and justify one’s work within the public safety community.

This module provides a comprehensive summary of the book “Moral Compass for Law Enforcement Professionals”, a book designed to serve as a moral compass for law enforcement professionals as they navigate the challenges and demands that face them every day.  The book provides background on the philosophical underpinnings of the moral compass. The book’s approach has been adapted to the practice of forensic science in this module.

Entry Level and Mid Level Supervisor
Presenter: Dr. Terry Anderson

This module first takes a look at the transitional challenges often faced by first-line supervisors in the forensic laboratory as they take on their new roles and responsibilities.  It focuses on the development of new skill sets and interaction with those that they supervise. The module then takes a look at the transitional challenges often faced by Mid-Level Supervisors as they take on their new roles and responsibilities.  It focuses on the development of new skill sets and interaction with those that they supervise. It includes important perspective about maintaining an atmosphere of openness and professionalism in the forensic laboratory.

Leadership Principles and Concepts
Presenter: Jody Wolf

This module provides a foundation for how to understand leadership: what it means, what is expected of a leader, types of leaders and how a leader influences others.  It includes segments from leaders discussing their approaches to leadership.

Founding Fathers on Leadership
Presenter: Jeremy Triplett

In “Founding Fathers on Leadership, Classic Teamwork in Changing Times”, Donald T. Phillips takes a look at the challenges that the American founding fathers faced as they began the process of establishing a new government and the team work they displayed in order to accomplish their goals in very trying times.

Cultural Diversity
Presenter: Jody Wolf

This module focuses on cultural diversity and its importance to leadership, particularly in the forensic science community.  Forensic scientists have a culture all their own. Perhaps, you entered the field because of an interest in crime and justice. Or you like science or a particular branch of science. Chances are that you work with people with an outlook and background much like your own. It is important that we recognize that diversity can contribute to the sound practice of forensic science. People are very diverse by nature. We come from different cultures, traditions, races and have widely varying ways of looking at the world. We can use this diversity to challenge our assumptions and grow as professionals every day.

This module provides insight into the opportunities and barriers that are presented to us by the diversity of the human family.  It stresses the need to understand the view points of the cultures we serve and the people we work with and to take a journey of self-discovery regarding our biases and perception of these cultures.

Personal Leadership
Presenter: Dr. Terry Anderson

This module takes a look at personal leadership and what makes some leaders great and others not so great.  It gives you a perspective of what kind of leader they should strive to be and provides examples of strong leadership traits. Pay special attention to the material about the 5 L’s!

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence webinar series has been provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar series are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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