Alcohol Course

Alcohol and Highway Safety Course Description

The Indiana University Alcohol Borkenstein Course is typically a one-week expert-level program of on-campus instruction and interaction, on medico-legal alcohol topics.

The primary emphasis of the program is on alcohol chemistry pharmacology and physiology in relation to traffic safety, covering basic alcohol chemistry and physiology, principles of measurement of alcohol in blood and breath, and presentation of alcohol information in the courtroom. The program is presented twice annually (May and December) on the Indiana University main campus in Bloomington, IN as an activity of the Robert F. Borkenstein Center for Studies of Law in Action in the IU Department of Criminal Justice.

The Course currently consists of 18 elements presented by ten visiting faculty members and the Course Manager over six days. Faculty presentations and other Course elements include lectures, question and answer, panel discussion with faculty-registrants, and tutorial sessions led by individual faculty members. The program also includes an initial Course orientation, welcoming faculty/student dinner, and a wine and cheese reception courtesy of the Criminal Justice Department.

This course, which was originated by Robert F. Borkenstein in the 1950’s, was primarily intended for professionals who administer or perform blood or breath tests to determine blood alcohol content. Enrollment in the course is limited to those technical and scientific personnel who manufacture, operate or maintain instruments, perform tests or manage blood or breath alcohol programs, or who provide expert testimony in alcohol litigation or hearings.

Neither the Center nor the course receives financial support from Indiana University. Both are entirely funded by the revenues generated from course enrollments. Please contact the Center administrator for questions about additional courses for other groups outside our current enrollment.

In Person Course Features

Information is provided to Course participants mainly through:

  • An extensive electronic Course notebook, with additional resource materials provided on-line
  • Formal lectures and informal discussions
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Questions-and-answers sessions
  • Panel discussions

There are also after-hours social events, scheduled free-time, refreshment breaks. The Course Manager is present on-site throughout the Course to assist any registrant as needed, to maintain adherence to the schedule, to introduce faculty, and to coordinate the presentations as well as gather input for the daily review tests. Of particular value are the frequent, informal interactions among the registrants (approximately 60) and among registrants, faculty, and the Course managers. The Course schedule is closely adhered to. However, there is time for social events and relaxation on and off-campus. Housing is on-campus in the first-class hotel operated within the Indiana Memorial Union – the world’s first and largest student union complex, with a complete physical fitness center and many other splendid facilities. An Indiana University certificate of satisfactory completion of the Course is conferred by the Center on each registrant who meets the Course requirements, and is presented at the end of the Course. AACC Accent credits are also now available for the course (30 hours).

Course Contents

The Borkenstein Course begins with a brief orientation to the Course, Indiana University, and Bloomington by retired IU Criminal Justice Professor and Center Director Kip Schlegel; Center Executive Director Dr. Barry Logan; and Borkenstein Course Manager Randy Beaty.

*Special Note

The mission of this course as envisioned by our Founder is to educate individuals involved in the implementation of scientific programs of testing and calibration for blood and breath alcohol programs. There is a policy restricting attorney registration in the program. Attorneys can refer to other programs designed exclusively for the defense bar, such as the National College for DUI Defense (, or the Chemistry and the Law section of the American Chemical Society ( that provide excellent training programs more suited to the defense bar.