The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is not a college committee in the usual sense. Rather, the IRB is subject to the regulations of a federal agency: the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) within the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). The Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (a.k.a. “the Common Rule,” as revised in 2017 and updated in 2018*) requires that all research on human subjects must be reviewed in advance by an IRB to ensure it is consistent with ethical standard. Like many other institutions, Carleton College has filed a “Federal Wide Assurance” (FWA) with the Department of Human Health and Services stating that the College will comply with federal standards on all research with human subjects (whether or not directly funded by federal government). While administrators of the College might be able to restrict a research project that has received IRB approval, they may not overturn an IRB decision to disapprove a research project. However, it is the intent of the IRB to work with investigators to mutually agree on a protocol that will receive IRB approval.
* The federal Department of Human Health and Services has issued revisions to the federal Common Rule on the Protection of Human Subjects, which were implemented on January 21, 2019.
The Carleton IRB includes an Associate Provost (serving ex-officio), at least one staff member, and one community member with no other Carleton affiliations (e.g., who is not an employee or student and is not a member of the immediate household of an employee or student). At least four are members of the faculty. The committee must include at least one scientist and one non-scientist. (For the purposes of this committee, faculty from the Psychology Department are treated as scientists.) The Faculty Affairs Committee appoints the faculty members, while the Provost appoints the staff and community members. All members serve three-year staggered and renewable terms. Efforts should be made to have a balance of gender, ethnicity, and disciplinary specialties on the Board. The Chair of the Board is selected by the Provost and serves a one-year term, which is renewable.
Members of the Carleton IRB, 2023-24:
- Anita Chikkatur (IRB Chair and Professor of Educational Studies)
- Eric Egge (Associate Provost, ex officio)
- Christina Farhart (Associate Professor of Political Science)
- Huan Gao (Assistant Professor of Political Science)
- Christian Hakala (Senior Director of Major and Planned Giving)
- Paula Lackie (Academic Technologist, ex officio)
- Gary Lewis (Community Member)
- Julie Neiworth (Laurence McKinley Gould Professor of the Natural Sciences and Psychology)
- Kristin O’Connell (Senior Evaluation / Education Specialist)
- Judith Pannell (Senior Director of Student Life)
- Mija Van Der Wege (Associate Professor of Psychology)
Any questions can be referred to the IRB chair, Anita Chikkatur, IRB Chair and Professor of Educational Studies, at 507-222-4877 or 1 N. College Street (5-EDUC), Northfield, MN 55057.
The National Institutes of Health have published a useful training module that provides investigators with a basic introduction to the principles of ethical research on human subjects.
In addition, a variety of helpful materials may be found at the United States Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Office of Human Research Protections.