History of FEPAC
The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) was established in 1948 to promote education for and research in the forensic sciences; encourage the study, improve the practice, elevate the standards, and advance the cause of the forensic sciences; promote interdisciplinary communications; and plan, organize, and administer meetings, reports, and other projects for the stimulation and advancement of these and related purposes.
An assessment of forensic sciences published in 1999 by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), entitled, "Forensic Science: Review of Status and Needs", described the educational and training needs of the forensic science community as "immense." Among the recommendations contained in the report was the establishment of the following:
- National standards for education in forensic sciences;
- An independent, community-wide, consensus-building, standard-setting body such as a technical working group for education in forensic sciences;
- An accreditation system for forensic science education programs.
The NIJ established the TWGED in 2001 for the purpose of recommending sample curricular guidelines for educational programs in forensic sciences. The results of TWGED's deliberations were delineated in a research report published in 2003, entitled "Education and Training in Forensic Sciences: A Guide for Forensic Science Laboratories, Educational Institutions, and Students."
Acknowledging the importance of an accreditation system for academic programs built on the foundation of TWGED, the AAFS in 2002 established an ad hoc committee, called Forensic Education Programs Accreditation Committee, to explore issues related to the development of such an accreditation system. In 2004, the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) became an official standing committee of the AAFS and awarded its first accreditation February 2004.