Guest Blogger: Dr. Mallory Ball, Director, Research Compliance & Integrity

If you are interested in research, it is likely you have heard about the IRB.  The acronym “IRB” stands for “Institutional Review Board” and is a committee established to review and approve applications for research projects involving human subjects, regardless of funding source. The IRB reviews all projects conducted at or under the auspices of WCU by WCU personnel.

Per Federal Requirements: Before participants are recruited or data is collected, the IRB must review and approve all research conducted by WCU faculty, staff, or students, regardless of funding source. Research may not begin until an approval or exemption letter is received from the IRB.

The IRB process can be somewhat intimidating when navigating it for the first time. However, the Research Compliance Office is here to help!  We have recently been updating our website to include additional options for availability as well as adding new and improved educational documents to bring clarity to this process.

Some of these updates can be seen below:

    • The Office of Research Administration hosts virtual office hours to assist investigators in answering questions related to developing and preparing IRB submissions for review from 1:00 – 2:00 pm on the first Thursday of every month. No formal appointments are necessary, just join the meeting at the scheduled time. For other days and times, please reach out to us to set up individual appointments.

For those new to the process, we have also added a Flowchart on our FAQ page to help you determine if your study falls under IRB jurisdiction (Human Subjects Research).

Please note: If you find that your research activity may not be subject to IRB approval, it is a best practice to confirm with us and obtain an official determination letter for documentation purposes.

An Image that shows the IRB process at WCU. Links to a PDF document.,

Click on Image above to open full Infographic.

Remember: WCU’s IRB uses InfoEd for all IRB submissions and the review process. Please visit the InfoEd training page for more information.

We look forward to working with you on your research endeavors and hope that you find these resources helpful, but we are always striving to improve this process for you and will always welcome your feedback! You can contact us by emailing or calling 828.227.2921.