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Pima County Community College District Regulation

Regulation Title:  Human Subjects Review
Regulation Number: RG-5603/A
Effective Date: 7/1/03
Approval Date: 7/1/03
Review Date(s):   9/10/07
Revision Date(s):  
 9/10/07
Schedule for Review and Update:  Annually
Unit Responsible for Review and Update:  Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Academic and Student Services
Sponsoring Unit/Department:  Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Academic and Student Services
Board Policy Title & No.: Research Involving Human Subjects BP-5603
Legal Reference: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Cross Reference: Institutional Effectiveness, BP-1504; Institutional Research, BP-5601; Data and Information Sharing, BP-5602


I.     Purpose

The purpose of this Regulation is to establish responsibility for the Human Subjects Review process at Pima County Community College District.  Board Policy 5603 refers to “research projects sponsored by, or associated with, Pima County Community College District.”  This reference includes all proposed research projects that have either or both of the following characteristics:

  1. The subjects of the research project will be College employees and/or students.

  2. The research project will be conducted by College employee(s) and/or student(s).

Projects with these characteristics will undergo human subjects review prior to their implementation, and also may be subject to human subjects review during their implementation.

II.   Definition

Human subjects review is the process for evaluating a research project to determine:

  1. Whether its potential value—to the College, the subjects and others, and the advancement of knowledge—outweighs its potential risks and/or costs.
  2. Whether and to what degree it poses potential risks to: (1) the subjects of the research—in the form of physical, psychological, social, or some other kind of risk, and (2) the College itself—in the form of lawsuits, wasted resources, a diminished image, or some other kind of harm.

III.  Roles and Responsibilities

1.  The Board of Governors assigns to the Chancellor, who delegates authority through the Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Academic and Student Services, responsibility for implementing the Human Subjects Review process.

2.  Unless exempt under Section IV of this Regulation, all proposed research described in Section I above will be reviewed by the Executive Director of Planning and Institutional Research, who serves on the Human Subjects Committee.  He or she serves as the sole human subjects reviewer for projects he or she deems to pose low-level risk to the subjects and to the College in accordance with the Federal Guidelines for Human Subjects Review.

3.  When the Executive Director of Planning and Institutional Research deems that a project has moderate or substantial risk, or costs, to the subjects or to the College, it must be reviewed by the Human Subjects Review Committee (HSRC).

4.  Projects approved by the Executive Director of Planning and Institutional Research or the Human Subjects Review Committee will be referred to the executive administrator(s) of the areas involved in the study.

5.  Appeals of Human Subjects review decisions rendered by the Executive Director of Planning and Institutional Research or by the Human Subjects Review Committee may be made to the Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Academic and Student Services, whose decisions will be final.

IV.  Exemptions

A)      In accordance with the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, the following kinds of research are among those exempt from the College Human Subjects review process:

  1. Classroom research conducted by the course instructor or by students under the supervision of the course instructor.
  2. Research conducted by the College on the effectiveness of educational strategies.
  3.  Student academic assessments conducted by the College or course instructors.

B)      Use of existing (“secondary”) data which do not contain individually identifiable information.  Secondary data include, for example, College data on enrollments or aggregated student assessment results.

C)      Upon prior notification to the Executive Director of Planning and Institutional Research will receive prior notification of any research conducted for the College under contract with outside organizations.