Glassman to teach forensic anthropology

Nick Teresky, Contributing Writer

Even though he is currently serving as Eastern’s president, David Glassman will be taking another role as an anthropology professor next semester.

The class Glassman will be teaching is ANT 3960F, Intro to Forensic Anthropology. The class will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday evenings in room 3103 of Blair Hall.

This specialized course will analyze the field of forensic anthropology, which is the study of skeletal human remains, chiefly the ones found at a crime scene.

Some of the key aspects of forensic anthropology are figuring out how old the remains are, identifying the person who the remains belonged to, determining how they died, finding out the circumstances of the their death and also being able to testify about forensic discoveries in court, Glassman said.

He said he fell in love with the field early in his undergraduate studies.

“I first took a class in cultural anthropology and then I took another class in biological anthropology and it just really, really resonated with me,” Glassman said. “I just started taking a couple of more anthropology classes and before I knew it, I had switched my major from accounting to anthropology.”

Once he got his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, Glassman did some anthropological work in Mexico before going on to obtain both his Master’s degree and Doctorate from the University of Tennessee.

Glassman has worked on about 350 criminal investigations requiring the use of forensic anthropology and has been featured on a handful of true crime television programs such as “Forensic Files,” where he has explained a number of cases that he has worked on to a national television audience.

As challenging as simultaneously being the president of a university and teaching a class at that same institution might be, Glassman is looking forward to teaching a college course again.

He has taught classes in anthropology before at the University of Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Texas State University, the last of which he worked at for close to 20 years.

The courses he taught ranged from small seminar courses to massive lecture hall classes with over 200 students.

The last time Glassman taught a college course was two years ago, when he taught Introduction to Physical Anthropology while he was still a provost at Bradley University.

Glassman said he has always enjoyed teaching and anticipates being able to interact with a class of college students on a regular basis again.

The use of technology is also a key component in allowing him to have the ability to teach a college course again, as he can grade assignments efficiently and can also communicate with his students in a timely manner.

Even though the occurrence of a college president teaching a course is rare, this has actually happened at Eastern before. Former Eastern President William Perry taught some math courses while he was at the university, Darren Henrickson, the chair of the Sociology and Anthropology Department.

Hendrickson said he is looking forward to seeing Glassman teach again.

“During a meeting (Glassman) had with students from Sociology and Anthropology Club, he spoke about all of the fascinating experiences he had in the field of forensic anthropology,” Hendrickson said. “Once the members of the club heard about (Glassman’s) interesting experiences in forensic anthropology, they thought it would be a great idea for him to actually teach a class about the topic.”

Intro to Forensic Anthropology can be useful in a vast array of occupational fields, Glassman said.

“The practical application that can be made of certain sciences in this discipline can be used to solve real-world problems,” Glassman said. “Using those skills in an applied way to solve real-life issues emphasizes that the skills that we learn in college, regardless of major, can be really helpful when it comes to practical applications.”


Nick Teresky can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]