Keep the Crime Scene Vehicle Lab.

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Recently we were informed that the Crime Scene Science course may be losing its vehicle lab, which will be replaced with a Mechanical Engineering lab.

This would drastically affect the Crime Scene Science course (as well as others) as the vehicle lab is one of the main teaching areas for all students who must do the crime scene examination and crime scene photography modules, amongst other modules on different courses. Not having the vehicle lab will change how modules are delivered, as a large proportion of practical classes are held there due to the equipment and the space available (it even has enough space to run 2 separate classes at once if needed). A lot of the practical work done in there cannot be done elsewhere in the university (including dissertation work/science research projects). Because of this, some of the current modules and dissertation projects on offer will have to be cut from the course (and other courses).

The university website brags of the wide variety of spaces available for the Crime Scene Science course when really there is only the crime scene houses and the vehicle lab. The vehicle lab is what sets Teesside University apart from other universities that offer similar courses, as many universities do not have anything like it. The university has highlighted the lab within their brochure for international students, calling it a ‘substantial multi-vehicle examination lab.’ For many, the vehicle lab was the main selling point when choosing Teesside as their first/firm choice above other universities because of what the course can offer us due to having that lab.

Losing the vehicle lab would mean that the Crime Scene Science course would be one of the only courses within the university whose students will not have somewhere to practice techniques and use the equipment necessary for the course outside of lesson hours. This will heavily impact us because the course itself is more practical than theoretical. We already have limited space and time available to us in the crime scene houses due to the high number of students that need to use those facilities and all the classes that take place there, as well as the limited amount of equipment that can be stored there which makes the vehicle lab an invaluable asset for our course. The vehicle lab provides an adequate amount of both space and equipment for us to use, and a lot of this equipment would be lost completely as there will be no other storage facilities for it and for students to use it in (which would also mean it was a waste of money buying it all).

Not only this, but many staff members (lecturers and lab technicians) take their holidays/leave during the summer when there are no classes on – time for themselves that they have more than earned and will subsequently lose. They would have to give this time up to stay at the university over the summer plan all their classes again, re-organising timetables that have already been submitted, possibly re-arranging the entire course, as well as finding appropriate places for us to do our practical work.

The proposed new lab space for the Crime Scene Science course is a class 2 lab, which means that unlike with the vehicle lab, students will not be allowed to go in there and practice in their own time which will directly affect our grades, and the overall grade rates of the course and student satisfaction.

Currently the satisfaction of the students on the Crime Scene Science course is 100% according to the National Student Survey 2016 and past students have also appreciated the value of our course having the vehicle lab which can be seen on the Teesside University website here;

One previous student mentioned the value of the vehicle lab, as well as talking about how the experiences and knowledge he gained at Teesside University helped him get his current job (volume crime scene investigator) out of 200 applicants.

Another reason to keep the vehicle lab is the fact that is not just used for the Crime Scene Science course. It also is used by computer and digital forensics students, forensic science/biology students, crime and investigation students, anthropology students to name a few. So, it will not just be one course that is affected by it, it will be quite a few.

All in all, the vehicle lab is a fundamental part of the crime scene and forensics courses, and a huge part of the School of Science & Engineering. It is valued by all who use and work in it, and previous students who have used it and future employers will value the knowledge and training achieved within the lab. Having it has helped the University gain an edge over others. We are paying £9,000 a year and this course is an investment in our future. The vehicle lab is a major part of this investment for the reasons stated above and to take that away from us could put our course, and therefore our future, in jeopardy.

Please let us keep it. Thank you.

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