Research Requests and Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Scope and Purpose
This procedure applies to all research that would (a) utilize Westchester Community College students, faculty, staff, resources or data and (b) is not conducted directly by Westchester Community College for the primary purpose of internal decision-making and institutional effectiveness. This includes, but is not limited to, research being conducted by students or interns, and undergraduate or graduate students at other institutions in the context of courses, theses, or dissertations, regardless of whether the researcher is employed by or otherwise associated with Westchester Community College.
This process ensures that research involving the college data or stakeholders is conducted to the highest ethical standards and does not interfere with College operations.
Approval to conduct research at Westchester Community College is a two-step process. Researchers must first receive approval from the Research Review Committee and then receive approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
The Research Review Committee is comprised of the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Chief of Staff and Vice President of Strategic Operations, and the Associate Dean of Student Life. The Research Review Committee will utilize other members of the College for additional expertise when necessary.
The purpose of the Westchester Community College Institutional Review Board is to ensure that the rights and welfare of human subjects are protected; risks have been considered and minimized; the potential for benefit has been identified and maximized; all human subjects only volunteer to participate in research after being provided with legally effective informed consent; and any research is conducted in an ethical manner and in compliance with established standards, including handling all private information with confidentiality.
Requests to Conduct Research
- As an institution of higher education, Westchester Community College supports academic inquiry and will strive to accommodate reasonable requests under the conditions specified above and in accordance with other applicable Westchester Community College policies.
- Prior to recruiting participants or collecting data, any individual, group or agency desiring to conduct research at Westchester Community College, use College students, faculty, staff, or data in research, or recruit research participants by any means, including on Westchester Community College grounds or at Westchester Community College-sponsored events, must first submit preliminary description of the proposed research, using the Preliminary Application Form. The Research Review Committee will issue a letter to the researcher indicating approval or denial of the Preliminary Application.
- If Preliminary Application is approved, the next step is to submit the Westchester Community College IRB Human Subjects Form in PDF format. This includes an affirmation of the Conditions of Approval. If the researcher has previously contacted the SUNY System about research at multiple colleges, and if the research involves any form of data collection directly from Westchester Community College faculty, staff, or students, requests for approval must be submitted to, and approved by, Westchester Community College before Westchester Community College faculty, staff, or students can be recruited for the research.
Review of Proposals
- The Research Review Committee and the Westchester Community College Institutional Review Board will review all proposals and may circulate proposals to other members of the Westchester Community College community for comment.
- It is the jurisdiction of the IRB to ensure the rights of human subjects are protected. The IRB will notify the researcher of their decision.
- No research can be conducted on campus prior to approval from the Research Review Committee and the Westchester Community College Institutional Review Board.
- Decisions by Research Review Committee and the Westchester Community College Institutional Review Board are typically made within 30 days of receipt of the proposal, during the fall and spring semesters. Requests submitted over winter and/or summer recess could take longer for review. Authorization is typically granted for a one-year period, starting on the date of approval.