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WVU Eberly College appoints Suzanne Bell as chair of Forensic and Investigative Science Department

suzanne bellSuzanne Bell, professor of forensic chemistry, has been appointed chair for the Department of Forensic and Investigative Science, effective July 1.

In this role, Bell will provide the leadership necessary to guide the department to increased research activity and competitiveness, and greater national prominence. She succeeds Gerald Lang, who has led the department for the past three years.

“Suzanne Bell is an accomplished scholar and educator in the field of forensic chemistry,” said R. Gregory Dunaway, dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. “She has been an integral part of the department’s development over the years.  I have every confidence that she will be an outstanding leader and strong advocate for the department, its faculty and its students.”

Bell is the recipient of numerous grants and contracts, with her current work supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology

She worked for three years with the New Mexico State Police Crime Laboratory as a forensic chemist, drug analyst, arson analyst and crime scene investigator. She then worked for nine years at Los Alamos National Laboratory before working as a professor at Eastern Washington University. In 2003, she joined the faculty of the WVU C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry. She teaches crime scene and blood spatter courses in addition to forensic chemistry and other chemistry courses.

Bell earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and criminal justice from Northern Arizona University, a master’s degree in forensic science from the University of New Haven and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from New Mexico State University.

She is on the Forensic Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC), the editorial board of the Journal of Forensic Sciences, and is a member of scientific working groups and scientific area committees in seized drugs and gunshot residue.

The Department of Forensic and Investigative Science is recognized among the best programs in the nation, offering FEPAC-accredited degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. With the recent addition of a new research-based Ph.D. program, it’s the only department in the country to offer a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy in forensic science. 

The Department also offers a complete range of academic and outreach programs including a minor and partnership with the College of Law to provide instruction in the L.L.M. in Forensic Justice. 

Lang, who was tapped in 2014 to lead the Department, brought more than 25 years of progressive academic leadership experience (formerly as dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and then as provost and vice president for academic affairs at WVU) to the position of chair. It was under his oversight as provost that the Forensic and Investigative Science program initially began.

Besides his major role in creating and expanding the program, he developed and launched new youth education programs in forensic science and oversaw the evolution of the Forensic Science Academy for Professionals, which provides continuing education and training needs to forensic professionals in the field. 

“Over the past several years, Gerald Lang has provided excellent leadership that has contributed to the department becoming the preeminent forensic program in the nation,” Dunaway said. 

“Alongside the faculty and staff, Professor Lang has built an incredible forensic sciences program that we are all very proud of.  I am grateful for all that he has done on behalf of the department, Eberly, and WVU.”