George Cronin, PhD
After a 30-year career with the Pennsylvania State Police, George Cronin joined the faculty at Penn Nursing, bringing the unique perspective of an investigator on homicide cases, sexual assaults, and other violent crimes. As a lecturer for courses in the school’s Forensic Science minor, Dr. Cronin combines his practical experiences of participating in more than 3,000 death investigations and more than 200 criminal homicide cases with his scholarly insight as a PhD in criminal justice.
Undergraduate and graduate and students learn about the application of science in law and its role in determining the truth. They also gain an understanding of the impact of justice-related events on the human experience and the role of health care professionals in forensic cases.
“We teach students at Penn Nursing about how forensic science and health care intersect, and about the role of nurses in forensic cases.”
- PhD, Temple University , 2008
- MS, Shippensburg University , 1997
Dr. Cronin’s award-winning doctoral dissertation, written in 2008, revealed the structural determinants of homicide in rural Pennsylvania. His dissertation offered new insights into violent offender behavior and crime scene assessment. Dr. Cronin then became a frequent lecturer at universities and law enforcement agencies throughout the state, serving as an adjunct professor at Pennsylvania State University. He served on the adjunct faculty at Penn Nursing from 2008 to 2015, and became a full-time lecturer in 2015 after he retired from the Pennsylvania State Police.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
Dr. Cronin teaches three courses: “Victimology” (NURS533), “Forensic Mental Health” (NURS531), and “Forensic Science I” (NURS534). In “Victimology,” he raises awareness of biases on individual and societal levels towards victims and victimization and provides a theoretical foundation for understanding victimization and the impact of victimization on our social experience.
In “Forensic Mental Health,” students review the interface between the law and mental health, including the components of human behavior that bring people into a judicial setting. Features of this course include mental health assessments for perpetrators who are incarcerated, exploration of the insanity defense for mentally ill adults, and study of the ongoing paradigm shift for how to treat juvenile offenders.
Students discuss the interface of law and science in “Forensic Science I.” They learn about crime scene analysis, the role of the medical examiner, the structure and function of crime laboratories, death investigation, and the role of health care professionals in forensic cases.
Through the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at Penn Law and the Penn Injury Science Center at the Perelman School of Medicine, Dr. Cronin collaborates and shares his expertise. The Quattrone Center is a national research and policy hub created to catalyze long-term structural improvements to the U.S. criminal justice system. The Penn Injury Science Center promotes and conducts the research, training and translation of scientific discoveries into practice and policy to reduce injuries and violence.
Selected Career Highlights
- Recipient, Richard Block Award for Excellence in Dissertation Research.
- Author, “Forensic Psychiatry in Law Enforcement: A Practitioner’s Perspective,” chapter in The Evolution of Forensic Psychiatry: History, Current Developments, Future Directions,
- Recipient, Trooper of the Year Award, Award for Heroism, multiple awards for excellence in death investigation
- Consultant, National Institute of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime