Truett McConnell hires nationally recognized leader in forensic science to lead new degree program


CLEVELAND, Ga. — On Friday, July 5th, Truett McConnell University announced the hiring of Bruce Willis, a nationally recognized leader in forensic science. Willis will lead TMU’s Bachelor of Science program in Forensic Science. This is a new degree program beginning in the fall of 2024. Students interested in enrolling in the new B.S. in Forensic Science can apply at

Willis brings to TMU 37 years of experience in law enforcement with expertise in the areas of financial investigations, public corruption, and forensic science. He has participated as the criminal investigator in over 2,500 cases, conducted crime scene investigations in over 350 murder cases, participated in over 1,000 death investigations, 250 violent felony cases, and over 3,000 property crime cases. Willis has testified in Federal and State Superior Courts as an expert witness in crime scene processing, photography, ballistics, latent and patent print processing, fingerprint comparison and identification, bloodstain pattern interpretation, DNA, blood reagents, bruise pattern analysis, and other topics in the forensic field. Willis holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, Master of Public Administration degree, and an Education Specialist degree.

Most recently, Willis served as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Piedmont University while previously serving there as Professor of Forensic Science. Willis has extensive experience working with the Georgia Public Safety Training Center as a Criminal Investigations Coordinator and served over 20 years with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He also served as the Chief Deputy of the Tift County Sheriff’s Office. As an instructor, Willis has taught thousands of students in the areas of supervision and management, interviews and interrogations, crimes against persons, forensics, and international terrorism. His teaching experience includes stints with the GPA Regional Academy, GBI Basic Agent Course, GSP Candidate Course, GPSTC Local Law Enforcement Basic and In-Service GPSTC, GPSTC Forensic and Criminal Investigation courses, GPSTC Coroners Training Council, Irwin County Board of Education, International Association for Identification – State and Federal Divisions, National Forensic Academy at University of Tennessee, CSI Academy at University of Florida, and Piedmont University. He is GA POST certified as a narcotic agent, GBI investigator, general instructor, arson investigator, and crime scene technician.

Of his appointment, Willis said, “In the Southeastern United States, there is a growing need for those students interested in a career in forensic science. This need is multifaceted and includes field services, lab services, forensic psychology, and forensics associated with criminal intelligence. Federal, state, and local agencies are continuing to recruit heavily in these areas. However, many of the college programs offered specialize in lab services only. Truett McConnell University is proud to announce an undergraduate and future graduate degree track that addresses these needs in the public and private sectors of our communities.

“The Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science will allow students to seek employment in field services and lab services specific to criminalistics. The program will embrace O.S.A.C./ NIST policies and guidelines for curriculum structure. Due to their practical application, these courses will be recognized throughout the emergency services community.”

Dr. Emir Caner, President of Truett McConnell University, commented, “Few institutions in America can blend, both academically and missionally, their love for the Lord (Romans 1:16) with their love for law enforcement (Romans 13:1-4). Now, Truett McConnell University has taken another intentional step in this direction with the addition of a bachelor’s degree in forensics. Along with our police academy and degree in criminal justice, we are now adding forensics as another avenue where men and women, called by the Lord, will serve others (Phil. 2:3) while sharing the love of Christ with others.”

Dr. Rick Auston, Dean of the College of Health & Sciences and Chair of the School of STEM, added, “It is truly an exciting moment in the history of Truett McConnell University as we add Bruce Willis and Forensic Science to our degree program offerings. Bruce is a nationally renowned expert in the field of forensics with decades of experience in the field. His teaching style immerses his students in the subject matter, giving them a hands-on, front row seat to the world of forensics. This new major in Forensic Science blends the Mission and Vision of TMU as we drive for academic excellence in our distinctively Christian and conservative environment.”

Truett McConnell University is a private Christian liberal arts and sciences university located in Cleveland, Georgia, offering over 50 different programs of study including baccalaureate and master’s degrees. The University boasts a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio while 100% of incoming students receive financial aid. For more information about Truett McConnell University, visit