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Monday, September 25, 2023


Carleton’s IRB Process

Carleton’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) is responsible for overseeing all research done at Carleton by faculty, students or staff that involves human subjects. The goal of the IRB is to ensure that researchers understand and uphold the following two standards dictated by federal law: 1) Human subjects should not be placed at undue risk; 2) Subjects should give uncoerced, informed consent to their participation in the research. The IRB is federally mandated, and is an important part of the college’s governance system, risk management, and—particularly—ethical engagement with the world. The IRB consists of faculty, staff, and a Northfield community member.


Please review the various resources on the IRB website that can help you decide whether your research study needs IRB approval, training about ethics of research, and Carleton specific information about human subjects research.

Application Schedules and Process

During the terms, the Carleton IRB Committee will process applications on a weekly basis and applications will be released to the committee on Thursday afternoons. While we try our best to complete reviews of applications within two weeks (each application is reviewed by three people), we have found that most delays in review occur because some necessary components have not been submitted. Therefore, starting this term, all applications have to include an informed consent form AND a research protocol document (e.g. survey questions, interview questions). If your study will not use such a protocol, you should submit a document with a briefexplanation for why it will not. We’re hoping that requiring both of these documents will speed up the review process.

If you have no communication from IRB for more than two weeks after your initial submission, please email IRB Chair, Anita Chikkatur.

Student Research and Faculty Advising

All research conducted by Carleton students needs to be supervised by a faculty member. The IRB relies on faculty advisors to ensure students have adequate methodological and ethical training to conduct the research studies they propose to undertake. To ensure students have reached out to the appropriate faculty advisors and that the faculty advisors have evaluated their proposed studies and IRB applications, we have added language in the IRB application process that asks both students and faculty advisors to acknowledge that adequate review and training has occurred.

Please review carefully the FAQ on the IRB website. Please also keep in mind that you have access to CITI training modules that might be helpful as you think about the ethics of your research projects.

Student Research and IRB Approval

In March 2020, the college instituted a new rule regarding student projects in the classroom, for independent studies, and for comps. When student research with human subjects will remain strictly “on campus” as a class or comps project (and thus does not contribute to generalizable knowledge), it does not meet the federally mandated definition of research and does not require IRB oversight. Comps research only needs IRB approval when: 1) it will be published (outside of Carleton); 2) it will be presented outside of Carleton; or 3) it is conducted outside the United States. Students who wish to leave open the possibility of publishing their research or presenting it at a professional conference (including the MMUF regional conferences) should submit applications before conducting their research. Please make sure that students note this possibility in the “purpose” part of the IRB application. In addition, we ask that students conducting research outside the United States submit IRB applications before conducting their research. This is because comps research conducted internationally often poses extra risk to the researched/interlocutors, particularly with novice student researchers.

Here is the language we use on the IRB website about student research projects:

“If you are only presenting your project on campus (even if people outside the Carleton community attend your presentation), then your comps does not require IRB oversight. But if you think you might want to present it at a professional conference or publish it, then do apply to the IRB—as per the instructions on the IRB quiz. In addition, if you are conducting your comps project outside of the U.S., then please do apply to the IRB.”

Please remember that IRB approval cannot be granted ex post facto for ANY research conducted by faculty, staff, and/or students. Data collected before IRB approval should not be included in any publications or off-campus public presentations

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Associate Provost Eric Egge, IRB Chair Anita Chikkatur, or any other IRB member (Huan Gao, Christian Hakkala, Gary Lewis, Michael McNally, Julie Neiworth, Kristin O’Connell, Judith Pannell, Mija Van Der Wege).

New Carleton-funded Fellowships Procedures

Greetings from the Office of Student Fellowships! We have some new procedures in place for Carleton-funded fellowships (aka “Junior Fellowships”) and ask that you visit the updated page to learn more. Of most significance for faculty and other advisors is that there will be three application cycles per academic year (though we do not expect the overall number of applications to rise) and we will rely exclusively on forms (rather than accepting letters) for recommendations. The first deadline of the year (for Comps Fellowships and select other fellowships that may be used over Winter Break) is October 17. Thank you for all you do to support our applicants!

Mental Health First Aid Training

The Office of Health Promotion website has many resources for faculty, staff, and students.  There are educational opportunities that you can take advantage of through online or in-person trainings.  Specifically, the Mental Health First Aid training is an excellent opportunity to learn about issues our students are facing and resources available at Carleton to help them. The next training is on October 21, 2023. Space is limited so make sure to register soon if you are interested in participating.

Register on the Mental Health First Aid website. Questions, contact healthpromotion@carleton.edu.

Learn Mindfulness this Fall

Want to learn simple ways to manage stress, sleep better, be more present, and/or be less self-critical? Consider learning Koru Mindfulness this Fall Term! The 2 options below are open to faculty, staff, and students:

  • Koru Basic – is a 4-session small-group workshop involving discussion and facilitated meditation. Wednesdays on Weeks 3,4,5,6 @ 3:45-5:00pm.
  • Koru 2.0 – another 4-session small-group workshop that expands up Koru Basic. For folks who already took Koru Basic. Tuesdays on Weeks 6,7,8,9 @ 10:30-11:45pm.

Register on the KORU WEBPAGE. Questions, contact healthpromotion@carleton.edu.


Kolenkow-Reitz Fellowships (deadline Monday, October 2nd at 5:00 PM)

Funding through the Kolenkow-Reitz endowment is available to support Carleton students performing up to three weeks of full-time research under the supervision of non-Carleton science/math faculty at other institutions. All Carleton students are eligible to apply and must coordinate in advance with a lead researcher at another institution.

Sophomorphosis Events

Sophomorphosis is kicking-off with a Banquet for Sophomores on October 5 at 5:30 p.m. in Great Hall where we are expecting an impressive turnout of eighty-five sophomores! On October 9, please encourage your sophomore advisees to attend the presentation “Preparing for the Sophomore Writing Portfolio.  On October 10, motivate them to participate in both the “Sophomore Pre-Health Information Session” and the “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about OCS (but were afraid to ask)” session. We wrap up the week with the Majors and Minors Fair on Thursday, Oct. 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Great Hall. We appreciate your support in spreading the word among your advisees and helping us ensure the success of Sophomorphosis!

Fall 2023 Advising Circle: Supporting Students in Quantitatively Rich Courses

Have you ever wondered whether you are providing sufficient advice to students in courses with a strong quantitative component, such as Math 111, Econ 110, Stat 120, or  to those who are considering enrolling in these courses? Quantitatively rich courses often come with unique challenges for students, both in terms of structure and expectations. In this advising circle we will explore different techniques and strategies to better support students in quantitatively rich courses. We will discuss early warning signs that you should be aware of and what steps to take if  instructors notify you of students struggling in these courses. Additionally, we will delve into effective approaches for engaging in difficult conversations about potential obstacles that may arise.  These conversations can empower students to make informed decisions not only in these courses but also throughout their time at Carleton. To set the stage for our discussions and support our work, we will read:  “Math Anxiety:  Finding Solutions to a Multifaceted Problem” by Jamie Blyth.

For those who are new to the concept of “advising circles,” an advising circle is a group of 10-12 faculty and staff advisers who meet once each term to talk about advising, share best practices, and foster a “community of practice” around the important work of academic advising. At this time, invitations to join an advising circle are going to all faculty and staff who are academic advisers.

If you are interested in joining this advising circle, please fill out this Doodle poll by October 6 to indicate preferred meeting date and time.  If you have other questions, you can contact Yansi Pérez (yperez). Depending on the number of people who express an interest, we will then assemble advising circles and begin scheduling our meeting(s). Each participant can download an electronic copy of the article linked above. Lin Winton, Director of the Quantitative Resource Center, will co-facilitate the group with Yansi.

Off-Campus Studies

The 2024-25 Off-Campus Studies program websites are live and you can check them out now! If you have any advisees interested in studying abroad, have them schedule an advising appointment with an OCS adviser.

Key Deadlines during Fall 2023

  • Friday, September 29, First Five-week Course Late Drop and S/CR/NC Deadline (5:00 p.m.)
  • Thursday, October 5-Sophomore Banquet (kickoff dinner for Sophomorphosis)
  • Thursday, October 12, Sophomorphosis Majors and Minors Fair
  • Friday, October 20, Second Five-week Course Drop/Add Deadline (5:00 p.m.)
  • Monday, October 23, Advising Days Begin (through October 31)
  • Friday October 27, Ten-week Course Late Drop and S/CR/NC Deadline (5:00 p.m.)
  • Friday, November 3, Second Five-week Course Late Drop and S/CR/NC Deadline (5:00 p.m.)

Advising Quick Links

Grants and Fellowships