Burkard, Heather

Criminal Justice Director
School of Arts and Sciences
PhD in Public Safety, Capella University 2013
MFS in Investigations, National University 2006
BA in Criminology, St. Leo University 2000

About

Dr. Heather Burkard is a Criminologist and Forensic Specialist who specializes in crime scene investigations and filicide (murder of a child by the child’s parent). She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Safety with a specialization in Criminal Justice; Master of Forensic Science with a specialization in Investigations; and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology with a minor in Biology, and a specialization in Management and Human Services. She has actively worked in the field of forensic science as an investigator, instructor, and contractor for almost 20 years, and completed a comprehensive research study that analyzed the homicidal patterns of biological parents and stepparents who have killed their children.

Dr. Burkard’s career began in Tampa, FL as a Forensic Investigator for the Medical Examiner’s Office. Then, she relocated to North Carolina and joined the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Crime Scene Investigation Unit. A few years later, she moved to the Cabarrus County District Attorney’s Office as a Prosecutorial Investigator. At that time, she was assigned to the specialized Homicide Prosecution Team, as well as the Safe Haven Team — a specialized prosecution team for sexual offenses against children and adults, felony assaults, and domestic violence homicides. Throughout her career, she continued to advance her education while training and mentoring new professionals. Therefore, it was no surprise when she also began teaching in higher education.

Motivated by a desire to help students develop the skills required to attain academic and career success, Dr. Burkard became the Program Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Department at Pfeiffer University. During her tenure, she designed and implemented several new exciting opportunities for criminal justice majors, and the department experienced significant growth under her leadership.

Besides teaching undergraduate classes, Dr. Burkard is also a graduate forensic science instructor for St. Leo University and a Medical Examiner Investigator for the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner's Office in Charlotte, NC. In addition to being hands-on in the field, Dr. Burkard also remains actively engaged by teaching criminal justice, forensic science, and law enforcement training classes, volunteering, attending conferences, and researching. She is a member of several national professional organizations and is a Past President of the North Carolina Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. She has also been active in several local professional organizations, such as the Advisory Board of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Cabarrus County, the Cabarrus County Child Fatality Review Team, and the Cabarrus County Child Protection Team. She loves teaching, sharing, and learning from other professionals in the field!

Outside of work, Dr. Burkard can be found relaxing with her family and completing DIY projects. Her husband is a Sergeant with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and their daughter is a junior at Brevard College and majoring in Mathematics and Physics.

Publications

Burkard, H.C. (2013). Homicidal patterns of filicidal parents: A correlational study (Doctoral dissertation, Capella University). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global database. (Accession Order No. AAT 356455). ISBN 978-1-303-13583-5.

Burkard, H.C. (2006). Fire and the effects on medium-velocity impact spatter reconstruction (M.F.S. thesis, National University). Available from National University Library, Special Collections HV8073.9 .H646 2006 (OCLC No. 180125912).

Presentations

Burkard, H.C., Santiago, M. (Ret. Sgt.), Brandon, T. (Ret. Det) & Williams, R. (Ret. Det.), (Feb 2020). Crime Scene and Criminal Investigations (Invited talk). Dr. Jesse McKee’s criminal justice classes, University of North Carolina - Charlotte, Charlotte, NC

Burkard, H.C. (Sept 2019). Crime Scene Investigations (Invited talk). Stanly County Law Enforcement Cadets meeting at Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, NC

Burkard, H.C. (Mar 2019). Latent Blood and Presumptive Testing (Guest speaker). Dr. Jason Emory’s forensic science class, Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, NC

Burkard, H.C. (Mar 2019). Chain of Custody (Guest speaker) Dr. Jason Emory’s forensic science class, Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, NC

Burkard, H.C. (Nov 2018). Diagrams and Evidence Collection (Invited talk). Stanly County Law Enforcement Cadets meeting at the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office, Albemarle, NC

Burkard, H.C. (Sept 2018). Describing without Assumptions (Guest speaker). Dr. Deborah Burris’s communication class, Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, NC

Burkard, H.C. (Mar 2017). Latent Blood and Presumptive Testing (Guest speaker). Dr. Dane Fisher’s forensic science class, Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, NC

Burkard, H.C. (Mar 2017). Crime Scene Investigations (Invited talk). Stanly County Law Enforcement Cadets meeting at the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office, Albemarle, NC

Burkard, H.C. (Oct 2016; aired Dec 2016). Criminal Justice at Pfeiffer University (Radio Interview). WSPC-1010 A.M.

Burkard, H.C. (Mar 2016). Latent Blood and Presumptive Testing (Guest speaker). Dr. Dane Fisher’s forensic science class, Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, NC

Burkard, H.C. (Feb 2016). Criminal Justice at Pfeiffer University (Invited talk). Stanly County Chiefs of Police Meeting, Misenheimer, NC

Burkard, H.C. and Burkard, T.W. (June 2015). Crime Scene Investigations (Invited talk). Gray Stone Day School, Misenheimer, NC

Burkard, H.C. and Burkard, T.W. (May 2015). Life of a CSI and Homicide Detective (Guest speaker). Dr. Patty Meyer’s class, Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, NC

Burkard, H.C. (Mar 2015). Crime Scene Investigations – The Real CSI.  (Invited talk). Gray Stone Day School, Misenheimer, NC

Burkard, H.C. (Mar 2014). Measurement and Sketch Analysis for Crime Scenes. (Oral presentation). The American Academy of Applied Forensics, Huntersville, NC

Burkard, H.C. (Feb 2014). Footwear and Tire Track Evidence: Detect, Process, and Preserve. (Oral presentation). The American Academy of Applied Forensics, Huntersville, NC

Burkard, H.C., Burkard, T.W. & Lee, E. (Oct 2013). Murderous Parents (Oral Presentation). NCPSAC–Annual Training. Onslow Co. DSS Training Center, Jacksonville, NC

Burkard, H.C., Burkard, T.W. & Vaneekhoven, R.L. (May 2012). When Parents Kill: Filicide–Not a New Phenomenon (Oral Presentation). NCPSAC–Annual Training. Concord Police Department, Concord, NC

The FBI’s Evidence Response Team, Charlotte Division & Burkard, H.C. (Sept 2010). Basic Crime Scene Investigation (Oral Presentation). Cabarrus County Fire Fighters and Arson Investigators training. Concord Fire Department, Concord, NC

Burkard, Heather