School of Graduate Studies and Research: Institutional Review Board

This section outlines what a researcher should do to apply for an Institutional Review Board (IRB) review and how the review process is conducted.

NOTE: This section applies to faculty, staff, and students of PennWest California. Researchers from other institutions seeking to collect data at PennWest California must first contact the IRB directly at for instructions. 

1.    If you have not done so already, complete the required human participant protection online training course through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) .You need to submit a copy of your completion certificate(s) with your review request application. For studies with multiple researchers there should be a certificate for each researcher. In the case of student research, both the student and the faculty sponsor must submit completion certificates. No application will be reviewed if a copy of this certificate is missing.


  • Go to
  • If a new user, follow the steps to create an account
    • In response to the "Organization Affiliation" question, select "PennWest California"
  • Once the account is created, login with the username and password
  • From the Main Menu, select "PennWest California Courses"
  • Select the "All Researchers Applying for IRB Approval" option
  • Complete all required modules with a passing grade
  • Review the list of Supplemental Modules for items applying directly to your study. The IRB strongly recommends(and may in some cases require) completion of applicable modules
  • Retain a copy of the CITI completion certificate(s) and include with the review request.
    • NOTE: Beginning with the 2016-2017 academic year, certificates from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) training course will no longer be accepted.

2.     Complete the IRB review request form listed below. Instructions on what is required in the application are contained in the checklists.

NOTE: Please do not use old versions of the IRB Review Request Form. The current version is dated 02-11-2016.  Version dates are in the footer of each page.

3.     Include copies of consent forms (or cover letters for surveys, questionnaires and interviews). Use of the checklists will ensure that the content of these forms/letters meets guidelines.

4.     This form should be signed by the principal researcher. For student research, the form should be signed by the student researcher and the faculty sponsor. The application will not be reviewed if any of these signatures is missing.

5.     E-mail submissions of documentation (as attachments) is strongly encouraged by the IRB. Send materials to

6.     Paper forms should be submitted only via Campus Box 109.

7.     This IRB office is currently located in Morgan Hall (LRC), Room 310.

8.     All research proposals should be submitted to and approved by the IRB before any data are collected. The IRB will not approve any project after the fact.

Applications are reviewed by the IRB on a continuous basis throughout the fall and spring terms. Applications submitted during the summer term may experience significant delays in processing, as the IRB maintains only minimal operations during these months.

Important Links and Forms

About the IRB


The PennWest California Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a standing committee, constituted according to federal regulations, that is responsible for ensuring that the rights and welfare of human research participants are protected. All members of the University community who engage in activities that are classified as research involving human participants must submit their research proposals to the IRB for review and approval. Furthermore, any organization conducting research in which members of the PennWest California community are research subjects must have its research project approved by the IRB.

An independent board, the IRB has the authority to verify that ongoing research studies involving human participants comply with regulations and may suspend or terminate approval for ongoing studies under its jurisdiction. It has the authority to approve, to require modification as a condition of approval and to disapprove proposed activities that are within the scope of its authority.

No research involving human subjects may be undertaken at PennWest California without prior review by the IRB. Failure to observe the policies and procedures outlined by the IRB will be considered serious misconduct, subject to sanctions including possible recommendations for termination of faculty appointment, student enrollment or other affiliation with PennWest California.

The primary goal of the IRB is the protection of research participants. The board does not endorse the quality of the research and approval does not absolve researchers from the responsibility to monitor and maintain the project within their professional guidelines. The ultimate responsibility for the ethical conduct of research remains with the researchers.

  • Dr. Azadeh Block, Social Work
  • Prof. Nancy Carlino, Communication Disorders
  • Mr. Morgan Colbert, (External Member)
  • Dr. John Confer, Earth Sciences
  • Dr. Carrie Elkin, Pyschology
  • Dr. Craig Fox, Philosophy
  • Dr. Chris Harman, Health Science
  • Dr. Dana Keener, Psychology
  • Dr. Elizabeth Larsen, Sociology
  • Dr. Cynthia Persinger, Communication, Design and Culture
  • Dr. Joel Press, Philosophy
  • Dr. Ben Reuter, Exercise Science and Sport Studies
  • Dr. Robert Skwarecki, Communication Disorders
  • Dr. Ellen West, Exercise Science and Sport Studies