Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence

Dr. Wayne Lord

2019 Medal for Excellence in Regional University or Community College

Dr. Wayne D. Lord, the recipient of the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Teaching at a Regional University/Community College, is a professor of biology and forensic science at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. Prior to joining the UCO faculty in 2008, Dr. Lord worked 21 years as an FBI special agent, serving in a variety of investigative and administrative positions in the forensic and behavioral sciences. As an international expert in forensic science, he has been instrumental in the development of UCO’s Forensic Science Institute as one of the top programs in the country, said UCO College of Mathematics and Science Dean Wei Chen.

“Dr. Lord fully integrates his lifelong experience into his teaching,” said Dr. Chen. “He not only teaches his students textbook materials, but also introduces students to real-world scenarios in the fields of forensic science or in biological science. He advocates real-world problem solving through practice.”

Dr. Lord’s students range from biology and forensics students to law enforcement officers, forensic science professionals and attorneys seeking professional development. His courses are just as diverse, spanning from crime scene analysis and forensic interviewing to histology (the study of microscopic tissue structure) and parasitology. He serves as co-founder of UCO’s Center for Wildlife Forensic Science and Conservation.
“I routinely engage students in practical, collaborative scenario-based problem-solving exercises and small-group critical thinking assignments,” Lord said. In some courses, student groups may be given a symptom-based case history and assigned to make a diagnosis and treatment, or they may be assigned to participate in a realistic incident response or crisis-management scenario. As an initial organizer of the Forensic Science Institute’s Cold Case Support Initiative, Lord engages students in transformative case analysis experiences assisting Oklahoma cold case investigators.
Former student Adrienne Martinez recalls the excitement when she first met Dr. Lord. “He was the ‘real deal.’ He lived the life that every forensic science student dreamed of, including leading teams of behavioral analysts, performing homicide investigations and even being consulted on the film ‘The Silence of the Lambs.’” 

Under Lord’s mentorship, Martinez developed and co-taught a forensic interviewing and interrogation class, co-authored a paper on forensic psychology concerning child abductions, and pursued graduate studies in forensic psychology. Now a law student and Title IX officer, Martinez praises Lord for his constant guidance and encouragement. “He is a champion of excellence in teaching, mentorship and student support every day.”