Abilene Christian University is comprised of a community of scholars who are committed to the highest level of integrity and ethical conduct in their work. This commitment grows out of the distinctive Christian character of the institution and its members. Respectful of the biblical doctrine of the creation, members of the ACU community are expected to engage in their scholarly activities with due regard for all the created order, both human and non-human. As a teaching institution, the research activities of the faculty and staff serve as exemplars for the students who observe and learn from these activities.
In order to ensure ethical behavior in the conduct of scholarship and research, the University has established this Institutional Review Board policy. This document is meant to ensure that research practices minimize risk to subjects, both human and non-human, and that potential benefits from research activities are maximized. This document articulates procedures that assure the human subject participation is based on equitable selection of subjects, and that participation in human subject research is non-coercive and based on the principle of informed consent. These procedures also provide protections for animal subjects, when used in research by members of the University community.
The procedures described in this document are designed to conform to state and federal requirements for the protection of human and animal subjects. While such conformity is necessary for receiving external funding, the rationale for developing and implementing this document is primarily an expression of the Christian commitment of the institution and its faculty, staff and students.
Levels of IRB Review
Full Board Review
An application packet (including the appropriate application for review, based on the categories listed above, a signed assurances form, and all required appendix materials such as, but not limited to, consent forms, advertisement and surveys, and/or vulnerable populations forms, as appropriate) must be completed and submitted to ORSP via Email. Investigators should use the tools on the IRB website and the Department of Health and Human Services website to determine whether to complete the non-research/non-human research, exempt, expedited, or full-board application form. However, ultimately, the ORSP Office or an IRB member will make the final determination as to the level of IRB review required. For studies requiring expedited or full-board review, the Director of Research and Sponsored Programs will forward a copy to the primary reviewer within one (1) week of the proposal being received. In the case of an expedited review, the primary reviewer will review the protocol and make a determination. If the primary reviewer is unable to approve the protocol under expedited procedures, the protocol will be assigned to full board review.
Full board meetings are generally scheduled for the first Monday of each month during the academic year. If the protocol is received at least 30 days before the meeting, it will be assigned to that meeting, space allowing. Protocols received less than 30 days prior to the meeting cannot be guaranteed an assignment at the next meeting and may be assigned to the following month. Protocols received less than 2 weeks prior to the meeting will automatically be assigned to the following month to allow for appropriate preparation by the IRB. The PI and Point of Contact named in the protocol will receive notice of full board review and the date assigned for review. At the full board review, committee members will vote to:
* The proposal must be modified and resubmitted to the Director of Research and Sponsored Programs within 10 working days of its return to the investigator.
A simple majority will constitute acceptance of the proposal. No research may be initiated on any proposal that was returned for revisions or has not been approved by the IRB. When a protocol is Not Approved as Submitted, the PI will receive written feedback for the reason that it could not be approved. Protocols that are Not Approved as Submitted can be revised and resubmitted. These protocols will always go back to full board review.
The University's IRB Committee will meet a least once (1) a semester and monthly, as needed.
Standards Regarding Human Subjects in Research (based on 45 CFR 46 and Ethical Principles in the Conduct of Research with Human Participants (published by the American Psychological Association, Inc., 1200 Seventeenth St. N.W. Washington, DC 20036)