Institutional Review Board

Pitzer College maintains an Institutional Review Board (IRB) in order to ensure (1) that researchers who are part of the College community protect the dignity, privacy, and safety of the participants they recruit for their research, and (2) that the dignity, privacy, and safety of members of the Pitzer community are protected when they choose to participate in research. Pitzer’s IRB deals only with research involving human participants; research involving nonhuman subjects must be reviewed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of your home college.  See FAQs for more information

College policy requires that all research involving human participants and all information-gathering regarding individual human beings carried out by the students and faculty of Pitzer or taking place on campus should follow the principles set forward in The Belmont Report and that all such research and information-gathering must be submitted for IRB review, with the exception of procedures carried out by students under the direction of their instructors and involving, in the view of the instructor, neither greater than minimal risk, nor conflicts of interest regarding his or her own research, nor participants who may be unable to give informed consent.

Research Involving Human Subjects

Research is defined by federal law Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 46 as “a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. A ‘systematic investigation’ is any methodical collection of data. This includes interviews, surveys, tests, observations, or other experiments, regardless of content, even if it is a pilot study.

A research project is considered to have human subjects if it involves “a living individual about whom an investigator . . . obtains data through intervention or interaction with the individual or identifiable private information.” §46.102

The only exceptions are class projects (see FAQs 11 and 12) carried out by students under the direction of their instructors and, in the view of the instructor:

  • do not pose greater than minimal risk to the human participants
  • do not create conflicts of interest regarding the instructor’s own research
  • do not involve vulnerable populations
  • do not involve human participants who may be unable to give informed consent

You may want to take a look at the following information from the Office of Human Research Protection

In addition, OHRP’s May 14, 2018 guidance, “Effects of Disasters on Human Research Protections Programs,” may also be applicable to the current circumstances. This 2018 guidance indicates that OHRP will take into account the situations institutions are experiencing in emergency circumstances such as the COVID-19 outbreak, and will use available flexibility in its decision making.

Application Procedure

All projects that involve data collection at Pitzer College must be approved by the Pitzer College IRB regardless of whether the principal investigator (i.e. the primary faculty, staff, or student conducting the research) is affiliated with Pitzer College or some other institution.

IRB review/approval originates at the researcher’s home campus and is sufficient to conduct participant recruitment across The Claremont Colleges. Access to resources, e.g. student listserve or posting of flyers, would be controlled by the individual campuses and students/faculty wishing such access would be informed that they must approach the individual Dean of Student Offices for access to such resources. With the exception of Pomona College, students/faculty seeking access to resources would provide the letter of IRB approval from the home campus but generally not the IRB application. In the case of access to resources at Pomona College, all requests will go through the IRB contact and the IRB application from the home campus should be provided along with the approval letter.
• Students undertaking a research project on another campus (as part of an IS or senior thesis) would submit their IRB application through their home campus.

Only complete applications will be reviewed. Applications are reviewed as received. Those requiring full board approval may take up to two weeks.

Principal investigators and all individuals involved in the research must complete  the CITI Ethics Training offered online through CITI Program. Upon completion of this course, a certificate is generated by the online training program. Copies of these certificates for the principal investigator and all other individuals involved in the research must accompany the application for IRB review. If you are new to the CITI Program website, click REGISTER under Create an Account on the home page, then specify Claremont Graduate University as your affiliated subscriber organization, complete the registration process, and select Courses and then Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research.  There are two modules: 1)Plagiarism and  2) Research Involving Human Subjects.

NOTE: All of the CITI program online course modules are self-paced and may be interrupted and resumed. Training time varies depending on your prior preparation and other factors, usually entailing up to nine hours. There is no cost to CGU-affiliated applicants for the use of this site.

Contact Information
Thomas B. Borowski, PhD
Chair of the IRB
Director, Claremont Colleges’ Neurosciences
Pitzer College, Claremont, CA
[email protected]

Patricia Villa
Sponsored Research and IRB Administrator
Scott Hall 110
Pitzer College, Claremont, CA
[email protected]

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