Mercyhurst University

Mr. Dennis Donovan , PSP, ret.

Adjunct Professor

Zurn 64

(814) 824-2031

Mr. Donovan is an Adjunct Professor for the Criminalist section of the Department of Applied Forensic Sciences, where he teaches undergraduate courses in forensic science, criminalistics, and crime scene and death investigations. He has also recently been appointed as the Director of a newly created Investigative Forensics Major. The Major concentrates on combining key aspects of the Applied Forensic Sciences Major with Criminal Justice, giving students from both majors an opportunity to pursue careers in Law Enforcement with a Forensic Sciences background, or careers in Forensic Sciences, such as crime scene technicians and Medico-Legal Death investigators.

Mr. Donovan has been affiliated with Mercyhurst University since 1991, when he began teaching at Mercyhurst North East Campus in the Municipal Police Academy, which later became part of the Mercyhurst North East Public Safety Institute. He worked as an instructor at the Academy until 2007. His career began in 1975 as a Trooper with the Pennsylvania State Police, where he developed an interest in criminal investigations and forensic investigations. He continued with this career path through a series of promotions and assignments where he worked as an investigator, a criminal investigation supervisor, a member of the Troop E Forensic Services Unit, Erie’s Criminal Investigation Section Supervisor, and a Criminal Investigation Unit Supervisor for Northwestern Pennsylvania. He retired from police work in January 2003 and was hired as an adjunct professor in the Department of Forensic Sciences at Mercyhurst University. Now Mr. Donovan teaches courses within the Department of Applied Forensic Sciences and in the Mercyhurst Criminal Justice Department where he has been tasked with developing several elective courses within the Criminalistics concentration. Furthermore, Mr. Donovan works with undergraduate Work-Studies Employees in the University and supervises Senior Theses and undergraduate research projects.

During his career with the state police, Mr. Donovan was involved in hundreds of criminal investigations, including crime against property, such as burglary, arson, and various other property crimes. He was also responsible for investigating and eventually supervising dozens of high profile crimes against individuals, from robbery to sexual assault and homicide. He has extensive experience in the investigative and forensic aspects of police investigations and has collaborated with numerous police agencies across Pennsylvania, and various levels of local, state, and Federal law enforcement from across the country on copious investigations. In addition to his work in the police force and teaching, Mr. Donovan has lectured at various conferences such as the FBI Academy in Quantico Va., Rockland Co. NY Law Enforcement Association, Ohio Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Conference, and a multiple agency task force on school shooting incidents at the Arkansas State Policy Academy in Little Rock AR. He is also currently a regular lecturer at the Pennsylvania Coroner’s Continuing Education conference in Hershey PA.