The College of St. Scholastica Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The purpose of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at The College of St. Scholastica (CSS) is to provide initial and continuing review of all research activity involving human participants. The IRB's main aim is to ensure that the safety, rights, and dignity of research participants is protected. The CSS IRB is registered with the Office of Human Research Protections and follows the guidelines for reviewing all research provided in the Code of Federal Regulations for the Protection of Human Subjects, (CFR 45 Part 46).

  • All principal investigators and co-investigators must participate in a training tutorial — the CITI Program Education Course — on the ethical principles of research. The College of St. Scholastica requires students, faculty, and staff to meet this educational requirement by completing an on-line training course through the CITI Program as part of the IRB application process. Once an investigator completes the education requirement, he/she will receive a certificate that is active for three years.

  • Upon expiration, a refresher course must be completed to renew the certification. All faculty and student investigators are required to renew their research ethics training every three years; note that this is a change from the previous policy of annual renewal.

Application process up to March 4, 2019

All College of St. Scholastica students, faculty, and staff who conduct research involving human participants must follow the following steps.

  1. Go to the Types of IRB Review page to determine the level of review needed.

  2. Once you have determined the type review that is appropriate for your project, complete the online CITI Program training tutorial. If you have any doubts about the level of review that is appropriate for your study, please contact the IRB Chairperson at

  3. Once the CITI Program training tutorial is completed, save your certificate in pdf format as you will submit this along with your application and related materials to A Proposal Help Page is available.

Review by the IRB

  1. Applications should be submitted well in advance of the proposed initiation of any study so that approval can be acquired prior to the intended start date. Projects requiring full-board review should be submitted no less than 10 days prior to the scheduled monthly IRB meeting. See the meeting schedule. The same application form is used for all types of review. You can access the CSS IRB Application form and an example of a consent form

  2. When your application is ready for submission, submit the application and any related files as attachments in an email to You should send the application form, CITI Program training certificate, and any related files such as questionnaires, informed consent forms, letters of affiliation, and/or advertising flyers.

  3. Files should be in MS Word or PDF format. Do not submit files in Google Doc format.

  4. Projects that require full-board review will be placed on the agenda for the next regularly scheduled monthly meetings if received 10 days prior to the meeting. All members of the IRB will review and discuss your proposal; you may or may not be invited to the IRB meeting. You will be notified by email of the IRB's decision on your research application. If changes must be made in the project (for example, obtaining a permission letter of affiliation from participating organization), the researcher must indicate compliance to these stipulations before the data collection can be initiated. The letter you receive will specify all necessary changes. Once these changes are satisfactorily provided, you will receive a letter from the IRB indicating you may begin your research study.

  5. Projects that do not require full-board review (those that meet either exempt or expedited review) will be reviewed outside the regularly scheduled monthly meetings by at least two members of the IRB committee. Applications being reviewed in this way can be submitted at any time using the same procedures as stated above. Once reviewed, you will receive a letter from the IRB indicating that your project has been approved or needs modifications before approval can be granted. If modifications to the application or related materials are necessary, details will be specified in your letter.

  6. If there are substantial changes to the project methodolgy following initial approval that would impact the way researchers interact with participants, the amendments must be described and submitted for approval before the research can continue. Use the Protocol Amendment Form for this process.

  7. Most research activity approved by the IRB is approved for one year; research projects that extend beyond the one-year approval cannot conduct research activity without continuing review. To receive continuing review by The College of Saint Scholastica Institutional Review Board, summarize your request to continue using the Continuing Review Form.

If you have questions or comments on these procedures, please contact: Steve Cope, IRB Chairperson, HSC 321, (218) 723-5915,

Application Process beginning March 5, 2019

Beginning of March 5, 2019, the CSS IRB will begin using the web-based system, IRBNet, to submit and track all applications. IRBnet will be the only way to submit an application to the CSS IRB. This is true for students, faculty, and staff at the main campus and all distance learning campuses. All submissions must be submitted via IRBNet.

If you are a first time user of IRBNet, please see this training document on registering a new account with IRBNet and then log into IRBNet. Once you are able to reach the Home Page, you can select Create New Project and use the Forms and Templates to create your submission. Watch the short video on submitting a new project in IRBNet or view this PDF with detailed instructions.

All investigators involved in the research study must register with IRBnet. An investigator is anyone who has participated in the planning of the research study and will have access to the collected data. This includes the principal investigator, co-investigators, faculty mentors, and collaborators who may not be employed by CSS.

Note: during the registration process, you will need to authenticate your registration via your e-mail account. Sometimes the authentication e-mail is not recognized by your provider, and may be routed as spam or junk. If you have registered correctly, and you don’t receive the authentication e-mail in your inbox, be sure to first check your spam or junk folder before contacting the CSS IRB for assistance.

Steps to remember as you complete your application in IRBnet:

  • The principal investigator (or their designee) enters everything in the IRBnet system.

  • The project must be SHARED with the entire research team. This is the method that the IRB staff uses to verify that all members of the team have read all documents and have completed the required research ethics training.

  • The project will not be approved unless all members of the team have completed their required research ethics training and uploaded certificates. Training can be checked by the investigator on IRBNet prior to submission to the IRB (once the project is submitted this feature is not available).

  • When you get all the documents uploaded, the principal investigator should complete a final review to ensure the project is ready for IRB review. If everything is in place, all members of the team must electronically sign the application package in IRBnet; this includes the principal investigator, co-investigator, faculty mentor, and any other collaborators who are on the team.

  • Click here to view a video or a PDF on how to successfully update project documents and submit a subsequent (ex. Modifications Required) package to a committee and other advanced topics.

  • Click here to view instructions on submitting a revision.

Diane Vertin, Ed.D.
Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs
(218) 723-6035

Steven Cope, Sc.D.
Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy
IRB Chairperson
(218) 723-5915

Iwalani Else, Ph.D.
Director, Institutional Research & Assessment
IRB Administrator
(218) 723-6583

Members of the College of St. Scholastica IRB committee represent all Schools within the College. They are elected by their School colleagues for a three-year term. The IRB Chairperson and community member(s) are appointed by the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Requests for information should be addressed to the IRB Chair (see below), although all members are available for consultation.

Pamela Bjorklund, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Graduate Nursing Office
(218) 723-6624

Lynn Kalnbach, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Management
(218) 723-5901

Robert Larson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Communication, Theater, and Art
(218) 723-6719

Mary Ann Marchal, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Social Work

Nicole Nowak-Saenz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor Psychology and Sociology, Psychology Department
(218) 625-4988

Brooke Palkie, EDD, RHIA
Associate Professor, HIIM
(218) 733-2245

Matthew Ridenour, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Education
(218) 723-7092

Judi Roux, Ed.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Education
(218) 723-6448

Jill Sauld, Ph.D., PNP, RN
Assistant Professor Post-Baccalaureate Nursing
(218) 273-7041

Community Representative:
Jacqulin Sebastian, MA, JD

The CSS IRB has three main ways to review applications for research: full-board; expedited; and exempt.

The links below provide information to help researchers determine the type of review their research is likely to need. The type of review is based mainly on the level of risk for human participants. The Federal Regulations have defined the term minimal risk as "the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater in and of themselves than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests" (CFR 45 Part 46.102).

In general, research activity with risk to subjects that is greater than minimal risk receive full-board review, while studies with minimal risk receive expedited review. Some research activity qualifies for exempt review; this means that the risk is low, but the researcher must still submit an application to ensure that the activity qualifies for one of the approved exemptions under the Federal Regulations. Rules for Full Review

With FULL BOARD REVIEW, the research proposal will be sent to two reviewers initially to ensure completeness and to determine the need for additional information. The committee meets once a month and will review the proposal at that time.

A study requires full board review if the research...

  1. uses deception of participants.

  2. is evaluating the effectiveness and/or safety of a medical device.

  3. involves the collection of blood samples by finger stick, heel stick, ear stick, or venipuncture (less than 50 ml or 3 ml per kg in an 8 week period and collection no more than 2 times per week).

  4. involves potential for physical harm to your participants.

  5. involves potential for psychological harm to your participants.

  6. involves any invasive tests.

  7. involves vulnerable/protected/overstudied populations.

  8. involves invasion of privacy.

  9. involves payment of the participants.

Rules for expedited review

Research projects receiving EXPEDITED REVIEW can be reviewed outside the regularly scheduled monthly IRB meetings by two IRB members. The two reviewers will be selected based on expertise, but cannot be from the originating department. If reviewers believe that the project does not meet the criteria for expedited review, the project will require a full IRB review.

The following projects are eligible for expedited review:

  1. Clinical studies of drugs or medical devices;

  2. Collection of blood samples by finger stick, heel stick, ear stick, or venipuncture;

  3. Prospective collection of biological specimens for research purposes by noninvasive means;

  4. Collection of data through noninvasive procedures routinely employed in clinical practice, excluding procedures involving x-rays or microwaves;

  5. Research involving materials (data, documents, records, specimens) that have been or will be collected solely for non-research purposes;

  6. Collection of data from voice, video, digital, or image recordings made for research purposes;

  7. Research on individual or group characteristics or behavior or research employing survey, oral history, focus group, program evaluation, human factors evaluation, or quality assurance methods;

  8. Continuing review of already approved projects

Rules for exempt review

With EXEMPT REVIEW, the research application must be reviewed by one member of the IRB and the Chairperson in order to determine if it qualifies for one of the exemptions under the Federal Regulations. If that IRB member believes that the project is not exempt, the project will be reviewed at a higher level.

A study is exempt if the research...

  1. is part of classroom instruction and involves only the students in the class under the supervision of the instructor. This research is not exempt when it involves participants outside of the class, and it should be reviewed at least at the department level.

  2. is institutional research and is commonly conducted in the course of business (e.g., annual placement study, market study, comparison of college entrance scores and GPA, etc.).

  3. is conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings, involving normal educational practices.

  4. involves the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, or achievement).

  5. involves observation of public behavior.

  6. involves the collection of data about or from elected or appointed officials OR from candidates for public office.

  7. involves the collection of publicly available existing data, documents, records, pathological specimens, or diagnosis specimens.

  8. examines public benefit or service programs or agencies (Federal or State); procedures for obtaining benefits or services under these programs; possible changes in or alternatives to those programs or procedures; or possible changes in methods or levels of payment for benefits or services under those programs.

Contact Us

Steve Cope
IRB Chairperson
(218) 723-5915

Meeting Schedule

Spring Semester

January 22, 2019
4:00-5:30 p.m.

February 19, 2019
4:00-5:30 p.m.

March 19, 2019
4:00-5:30 p.m.

April 16, 2019
4:00-5:30 p.m.

May 21, 2019
4:00-5:30 p.m.

If you have any questions regarding the meeting schedule, please contact Steve Cope.