Institutional Research Review

Administrative Rule
Council: Academic and Student Affairs Council
Effective date: 04/05/17

Value Statement

Austin Community College values research and is committed to safeguarding the rights and welfare of human subjects in research activities.

Administrative Rule

Purpose and Function of Research Review

Research proposals involving Austin Community College human subjects (students, faculty, and staff) are evaluated and approved by the Institutional Research Review Committee (IRRC). In order to ensure the rights and welfare of human subjects, the IRRC will follow federal regulations, as outlined in the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 45 CFR 46, as amended, regarding the protection of human subjects. The IRRC reviews, requires modifications, or approves research activities conducted by or through Austin Community College using human subjects. Research conducted as part of ACC courses or class assignments that do not include personally identifiable information, and are not intended for publication are not subject to IRRC review. The committee is composed of six to ten faculty, staff, and administrators with a knowledge of research methods.

This committee is chaired by the Vice President of Effectiveness and Accountability.

Research is defined in federal regulations as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalized knowledge” (45 CFR 46.102d).

The IRRC reviews human subjects research to ensure that:

  • The rights and welfare of human subjects are protected.
  • The research complies with federal regulations (Department of Health and Human Services, 45 CFR 46, as amended), state and federal statutes, and board policies addressing the protection of human subjects in research.
  • Risks and potential benefits have been considered, and the necessity and importance of the research outweighs the risks to the subjects.
  • All research is completed in an ethical manner and in compliance with established research standards, including informed consent of human subjects, and confidentiality of personal information.

The IRRC has the authority to approve, require modifications, or deny research involving human subjects within the ACC community, regardless of funding source. Decisions of the IRRC are final. The approval of research proposals does not guarantee use of college resources.

Research may qualify for exemption from federal regulations protecting human subjects (45 CFR 46.101b), or for an expedited review of the research application (45 CFR 46.110), however, the chair of the IRRC or the chair’s designee may call for a full board review under the following circumstances:

  • It is not clear that the research qualifies for exempt or expedited status.


Approval of research is active for one calendar year from the date of approval. Approval for additional years must be requested separately for the research. Substantive changes during the approval year must be approved by the IRRC. Minor changes during the approval year must be reported to the IRRC.

Approval for previously approved research activities which are observed to be out of compliance with Institutional Research Review Committee administrative rules and procedures will be immediately revoked.

A list of approved research proposals will be posted on the committee’s website.

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