Archived Notes from the Director
- Dr. Marianne Di Pierro
HSIRB Compliance: Don't Guess - Ask the Experts
Making assumptions about anything in life can prove to be a dangerous game, but for unwary undergraduate and graduate students speculating about whether Human Subjects Institutional Review Board (HSIRB) approval is necessary to a research project or not -can prove to be a deadly game with a price that no researcher can afford to pay. Failure to submit a protocol that is required will result in the inability of the student to use the research for the purposes of fulfilling the designated capstone, master's, or doctoral degree requirements and also to publish information that has been structured upon the platform of that particular research.
Why must you consider securing HSIRB approval prior to conducting research that involves human beings? The answer is simple. Federal guidelines, as well as Western Michigan University (WMU), require that your research proposal be submitted to the Office of the Vice President's research compliance office for expert review before any research involving human subjects is initiated. Under federal mandate, human beings who participate in research must be protected, and the meticulous review of research proposals by Dr. Mary Lagerwey and Ms. Vicki Janson ensures that they are.
Dr. Mary Lagerwey, associate professor in the WMU Bronson School of Nursing and chair of the HSIRB, assesses the potential risks that the research may pose to human subjects and makes recommendations for projects that may pose "negligible risk." Other categories of risks determine which projects require more extensive types of review, including expedited reviews for projects that may pose minimal risks to human subjects, and full board reviews for projects that hold greater than minimal risk potential. In all instances, Dr. Lagerwey ensures that the appropriate board is convened to meet the spectrum of proposals that cross her desk.
Human subjects risk assessment is a highly specialized field that requires the training, knowledge, and insight of the experts. Vicki Janson, research compliance coordinator, is one of those experts upon whom students and faculty at WMU have come to rely for sage guidance and advice. Don't leave the issue of HSIRB compliance to a hunch, a guess or an assumption. Let the experts work with you to protect the human subjects that are integrally involved in your research, and to protect the integrity of your research project, as well as the reputation of the University at large.
For questions, concerns, or additional information, please contact Ms. Vicki Janson, research compliance coordinator, at the following telephone number: 387. 8293. She may also be reached at the following email address: email@example.com. You are encouraged to visit the website for the Office of the Vice President for Research at www.wmich.edu/research/. Forms for the HSIRB application may be located at this address: www.wmich.edu/research/compliance/index.html.
For examples of HSIRB protocols in Career and Technical Education, please visit the following website: http://www.wmich.edu/fcs/cte/hsirb.htm
that appears in the current Note From the Director is derived from The
Inquiry Newsletter article entitled The Human Side of HSIRB.
Strategy to Success: Attending Dissertation Defenses
You might well ask, "Why take time from an already taxed schedule to attend someone else's dissertation defense?" The answer is simple. The value of attending dissertation defenses as a prelude to your own defense and simply as a heuristic to be applied in the process of earning the doctorate cannot be overstated. The best way to prepare for your defense is to attend the oral defenses of your colleagues, those in your respective fields of expertise. Not only will you lend support to your colleagues on achieving this milestone in their professional careers, but also you will have gained an invaluable opportunity to familiarize yourself with the types of questions that committee members ask and that students are required to answer. This strategy may be of particular importance as you observe your own committee members and dissertation chair as they engage in the intricate defense process with other advisees. Moreover, the set up of the defense provides keen insight into the structure and preparation required of the student, as well as the committee members. The opportunity to observe the protocols and procedures that provide the underpinnings of a defense and that lend form and substance to the event should be seized early on in your doctoral studies. Dissertation defenses are public events, and you are welcome to attend. For a list of upcoming defenses, visit the following address: http://www.wmich.edu/grad/dissertation/index.html.
Dissertation Defense of Dr. Christine Wallace, School of Public Affairs and Administration. From left to right, Dr. Wayne Smith, Dr. Christine Wallace,
Dr. Matthew Mingus (dissertation chair), and Dr. Dennis Simpson.
If you have questions or require additional information, contact me at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 387.8249.
Doctoral education represents a long process. Ask anyone who has a Ph.D. and he or she will verify that, for the most part, students are well entrenched in an educational process that can last for years. For example, at WMU, the average time to degree (TTD) across all disciplines is 5.97 years. Learning how to meet the challenges and demands of doctoral study during this protracted period is critical to maintaining psychological and physical well-being. And yet, the balance can be easily lost, especially during the dissertation phase when stress is exacerbated by isolation and separation from colleagues and the campus proper. Recognizing the physical and emotional warning signs of stress and understanding coping mechanisms can increase opportunities for successful completion of the degree. Moreover, these strategies will continue to serve students even after the dissertation is completed, a time when students may experience a sudden let down following the heady experience of the oral defense and formal graduation.
I cordially invite all of you to join Dr. John Coons, Director of the University Counseling Center, Dr. Ric Underhile, Director of the Office of Health Promotion and Education, and me for a special program that addresses these important concerns. 'Aiming for Focus and Balance During and After the Dissertation Process' will take place on Friday, March 26, 2004, from 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. in Room 208 of Bernhard Center. This presentation represents the third program for doctoral students under the "Strategies for Empowerment" series offered by the Graduate Center for Writing and Proposal Development. If you have questions or require additional information, contact me at the following email address: email@example.com or call 387.8249. Faculty are always welcome!