Human Subject Research at Whittier College


Whittier College is committed to safeguarding the rights and welfare of individuals recruited to participate in research activities under the auspices of the College in accordance with Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 46, known as the Common Rule).

These safeguards are based on the ethical principles listed in the Belmont Report: Respect for Persons, Beneficence, and Justice. 

Conducting Research during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Whittier College complies with public health guidance issued by the State of California and Los Angeles County to prevent the spread of COVID-19. During this time, study procedures that involve in-person interactions must not compromise participant safety or the scientific integrity of the research. All studies must follow all public health orders issued by governments and institutions in the geographical regions and institutional settings in which the study takes place. Principal Investigators have the responsibility to stay up-to-date with orders that may change frequently and address precautionary measures in their IRB/HSPC application.


The purpose of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Human Subjects Protection Committee (HSPC) is to review and oversee research to ensure adherence to ethical principles, federal and state regulations, and College policies. IRB review is required for federally-funded research. The College is registered through the Federalwide Assurance (FWA) of the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Whittier College’s FWA number is: FWA00008889.

IRB/HSPC is supported the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs which assists with application workflow, administrative review of new submissions, regulatory requirements, and educational programming for the Whittier research community.

IRB/HSPC Membership 2022-2023

  • Chair: Hector Valenzuela, Biology
  • Glen Hong, Social Work
  • David Mbora, Biology and Environmental Science
  • Adrian Riskin, Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Ivannia Soto, Education and Child Development
  • IRB Administrator: Lisa Newton, ORSP

Researcher Roles & Responsibilities

The key responsibilities of faculty, staff, and student investigators in the ethical conduct of research with human subjects are to:

  • Complete the required online training for human subjects research
  • Identify a faculty advisor for research conducted by students to assist in application preparation and oversight of research activity 
  • Apply for IRB/HSPC approval or determination of exemption in advance of conducting any research with human subjects or the personally identifiable data of human subjects
  • Conduct the research as described in the approved application, minimizing risks to subjects and protecting subject rights and welfare
  • Submit amendments to the research protocol as necessary before implementing any changes
  • Report adverse or unanticipated events in the conduct of research that pose risks to human subjects
  • Secure and manage research data to protect subject confidentiality