May the FORCE be with you

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Currently the only interdisciplinary program offered in IUSD, the Northwood Forensics Core Program (FORCE) made its debut during this fall semester. With a growing interdisciplinary job market, the Northwood FORCE program aims to tie science, psychology and literature together under the lens of scientific criminology.

“We’re all after the discovery of truth,” critical theory and literature teacher Philemon Roh said. “There is a connective idea between the three classes: how our varying conceptions of truth manifest themselves in the ways we imagine, construct and maintain social order.”

Even in the first month, connections between the three classes have surfaced. For instance, students may be given scientific evidence from potential crime scenes to determine if trends can be generalized to a group of people or if an individual is an outlier. Then, they will look at criminal behavior through the lens of philosophy and literary studies to analyze moral, ethical and social causes and effects of such behaviors and apply it to criminal justice systems.

“This course covers the area where psychology intersects with law including trial procedures, jury selection, eyewitness selection and crime scene investigation,” forensics psychology teacher Sandy Banks said.

Each semester will conclude with a capstone project in the form of creative media. An e-portfolio will be accumulated throughout the semester and will be shown to a public audience of Northwood administration and community members at the end of the semester.

“The e-portfolio is entirely student-designed, and you can paste in any concept or projects that you think is relevant,” senior Daniel Lin said. “Everything is very self-motivated and individually driven. I love the idea of taking a new, innovative approach to education.

The FORCE curriculum has been in the works since spring 2016, created through numerous planning sessions and support from the NHS administration.

“We were looking for something that would spark student interest—something organic and not forced,” Roh said. “The program was a natural consequence of having interesting relationships with teachers on campus and wanting to work with them. It’s an official way to realize unofficial ambitions.”

Northwood students have already expressed their approval and appreciation of the new FORCE curriculum.

“Signing up was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” senior Maggie Yan said. “It’s intellectually challenging and the class discussions really make our experience interactive and thought provoking.”