Do you like crime shows? Have you considered going into the justice system? Are you interested in the inner workings of a serial killers’ tactics?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then Vanguard University has a course for you!
Dr. Carlos Vasquez, an adjunct psychology professor at Vanguard University, teaches the course called Forensic Psychology. Dr. Vasquez holds a doctorate in Psychology, a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a Master’s in Criminal Justice from USC.
The course, Forensic Psychology, is an upper-division study of a special topic in psychology at Vanguard University. It is offered primarily to psychology students, but any student who has taken Intro to Psychology can take Forensic Psychology.
Dr. Vasquez describes the course in this way:
“Introduction to Forensic Psychology covers the many areas of the justice system such as criminal behavior, serial killers, the court system, investigation techniques, the prison system-just to name a few.”
The class is primarily filled with Psychology majors but, depending on the field a student wants to go into, Forensic Psychology could be the course just right for them.
In regards to non-Psychology majors joining the class, Dr. Vasquez states that “I would encourage students that have an interest or would like to know more about this area. I have found that it’s not always for everyone but if you enjoy crime shows, law enforcement, the justice system then this class is for you!”
Students from all areas of study are welcome to join the class and should be prepared to learn all the various facets of Forensic Psychology.
Outside of the classroom, Dr. Vasquez is involved in many different extracurricular activities in the realm of psychology which he draws from to teach. He peer reviews for Perspectives on Terrorism Journal. He has also completed the program on “The Threat of Global Jihad” and “Group Identity Terrorism” at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security.
Dr. Vasquez is the author of the book called “Apocalyptic Psychology: ISIS’ Strategies.” This book gives insight into ISIS’ manipulation tactics which are used to lure possible recruits to join the group.
He also hosts several podcasts, including “Psychology Tidbits,” “Circle of Insight,” and “Forensic Psychology” on Apple and Spotify.
Dr. Vasquez’s experience and expertise in psychology really enhances Forensic Psychology as a whole and offers students the opportunity to learn about how this subject matter applies to real life.
One of the most relished aspects of the class is the guest speakers that share their experiences in different fields relating to Forensic Psychology. Dr. Vasquez’s connections to those in the field allow him to bring a variety of interesting individuals to class.
He explains that “my podcast on Forensic Psychology (which is on Apple and Spotify and gets about 90,000 downloads a month) affords me the opportunity to interview some fascinating people whether it’s CIA or FBI or former inmates or experts in certain areas. These guests many times become speakers for the class so it has many benefits for everyone.”
The speakers are a huge part of the class, as they can show students how forensic psychology is essential for certain careers and pathways after college. The speakers’ experiences also highlight the key areas in society that forensic psychology is essential for, such as law enforcement.
Each semester the guest speakers are different. Dr. Vasquez says that “For instance, this semester we have a homicide detective that specialized in serial killers, a CIA operative (a spy), former Correctional officer, and more.”
Veronica Gollihar, a Junior Sociology Major, takes Dr. Vasquez’s class in Forensic Psychology and offers an inside look into what the class is actually like.
She describes that in Forensic Psychology “we learn about a lot of different things ranging from what it takes to be a police officer and different assessments they are given, the legal system, criminals, and all sorts of things. It truly touches a lot of bases, and it is a lot of important information.”
With a wide variety of speakers from the field, Gollihar feels that the students in this class get special perspectives of this subject that are rare to come by.
Gohillar recalls this one speaker in particular that they had named Mike Ciesynski, a former homicide detective and police officer. She says that she “found him particularly interesting because he had encountered a few serial killers including the Seattle Jungle Killer and he had also told us he did not think anyone should work in the profession for longer than 25-30 years because after a while you just get so desensitized.”
Gollihar emphasizes how Dr. Vasquez’s personal background and experiences with Forensic Psychology enhance the learning experience and make the class exceptionally interesting.
She says that “An average class usually includes a slide show presentation, a few videos to go along with the class, and a lot of great insight, personal stories, and knowledge from the professor.”
Whether your dream is to go into an area of criminal justice, or you are simply fascinated by crime and serial killers, Forensic Psychology covers it all. A wide variety of students can join and learn all about it.
As Dr. Vasquez comments about this class: “students enjoy the stories of criminal behavior and its application to the real world. […] They enjoy the situational awareness tips but most of all are the guest speakers.”