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Institutional Review Board

The Institutional Review Board is charged with supervising research using human subjects conducted by Pine Manor College students, faculty and staff to ensure that the rights of human participants are respected and that the research meets the highest ethical standards. The most recent version of “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct” published by the American Psychological Association, or by the Society for Research on Child Development, for research with Children, will be used to judge the research proposals submitted to the Board.

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) has five members: the Dean of the College, two faculty from a discipline that typically conducts research with human participants, one non-faculty representative of the College community, and one external reviewer (only needed for external grants). The term of membership is three years. Members may serve more than one term. Members are appointed by the Dean of the College. Initial terms shall be staggered so that continuity of membership is maintained. If a member of the IRB is involved in the research being proposed an alternate reviewer will be appointed.

Faculty interested in submitting a grant proposal to a foundation or corporation should outline a brief one paragraph abstract of their proposed project and submit it to the Dean of the College at least one month prior to the application deadline. The Dean will share the abstract with the Director of Development and the President.

With preliminary approval, the faculty member will work with the Dean to develop the proposal and will be responsible for acquiring the “sign-off” signatures from the above individuals before the proposal is submitted to the foundation or corporation.

No research may be conducted at Pine Manor College without prior approval of the Institutional Review Board or a sub-group for approving student research (see guidelines below). Research projects should not proceed until the researcher receives written notice of approval from the IRB.

Faculty Research on Human Participants (IRB Procedures)

After the Board is appointed, the Board will meet to elect a Chair and to set up procedures. The Chair will call a meeting when a request for approval of research is received. Meetings (either in-person or electronically) must be called within two weeks of receiving such a request.

Researchers must submit to the Board an electronic copy of each of the following: their research proposal; the PMC IRB Research Approval Form; copies of the informed-consent form given to subjects or a statement of why a subject consent was not needed; and any written materials given to subjects (e.g. written instructions, experimental materials, debriefing statement, etc.). The IRB should make every effort to respond to request for approval of research proposals within two weeks.

The IRB will respond to the researcher in writing and will keep records of its actions. If a research study is denied approval the IRB will outline its reasons. Researchers will have the opportunity to modify their proposals to satisfy the Board’s objections. If the approved research is not completed within one year, a summary of progress and description of any changes in procedures will have to be resubmitted.

Research that is collected by a faculty member within a class for educational use by that same class (e.g., a statistics class filling out surveys to use when learning how to conduct statistical tests) does not require IRB approval.

Student Research

Student research will be reviewed by a two-person subgroup at least one of which will be a member of the IRB (may not include the faculty member sponsoring the research). If the student research could reasonably place the participants or researchers at any risk beyond a minimal level, a full review of the entire 4-person IRB will be conducted.

No research may be done at Pine Manor College without prior approval of the Institutional Review Board or a sub-group for approving student research. Research projects should not proceed until the researcher receives written notice of approval from the IRB.

Exempt from Full Committee review

Certain categories of research are exempt from a full IRB review. These exempt proposals will still require a review of the purpose and method of information gathering (e.g., survey, interview questions, etc.) Review of applications for exemption will be conducted by a designated member of the IRB, usually the Chair. Confirmation of exemption can typically be expected within one week.

The following categories of research may be exempt:


Research evaluating the effectiveness of PMC educational or institutional practices in an educational setting (e.g., the Student Satisfaction Survey or similar surveys).


Research involving the analysis, synthesis, or study of existing data or documents when these are publicly available or when the information is recorded in such a way that individuals cannot be identified.


Research approved by an off-campus IRB.


Research involving the use of surveys, interviews, educational tests, psychological tasks or observation of public behavior when the obtained information is anonymous or when disclosure of the individual’s responses would not create a risk of adverse consequences to the participant (e.g., observing a group interacting in the cafeteria, etc.). If any adverse consequences may result, full IRB approval would be required. Examples of these risks may include:

  • placing either the participants or the researchers at risk of criminal or civil liability;
  • harming the participant’s academic standing or standing in any ongoing program, financial standing, employment status or employability, insurance status or insurability;
  • harming the participant’s reputation.

2018 – 2019 IRB Committee

1.Diane Mello-Goldner, Dean of the College, Professor of Psychology, Chair,

2. Rebecca Mitchell, Associate Professor of Mathematics,

3. Michele Ramirez, Professor of Psychology,

4.Melissa Yoffe, Associate Dean for Academic Services,

5.*Leslie Mandel, Associate Professor Health Professions, Regis College, External Evaluator,

If you are planning any kind of research this academic year, please contact the Chair of the IRB for the IRB Form and any assistance.