Lake Superior State University
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Alum Success

Ben Mitchell

Ben Mitchell
Mechanical Engineering '06

Ben Mitchell grew up in a devout household in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan where emphasis was placed on helping others. He traveled with his father to places such as Kenya and Peru on short-term medical missions. When he was in Kenya, a missionary explained that engineers have the greatest potential to influence the largest number of people. During high school, Ben participated in a youth mission trip to Tijuana. A result of the mission trips, his family decided to adopt three Vietnamese children when he was a junior.

All of these experiences had a great influence on Ben’s outlook on life. He decided to major in mechanical engineering and enrolled at Lake Superior State University. Near the end of his senior year, he decided to volunteer for the Peace Corps to help others.

His two-year commitment began in the fall of 2007 and took Ben to Burkina Faso in western Africa. He resides in the village of Tansila, population 3,000, approximately 10 km from the Mali border. His host organization is the local cotton growers union. It works cooperatively with other villages to improve and expand their production techniques. He serves as an agribusiness advisor as a part of the Small Enterprise Development program which helps create market linkages and assists with the advancement of business skills.

LSSU Institutional Review Board

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Faculty, this year had a training session during development day to help provide information to the faculty about the IRB process. This is a list of FAQ that might help you understand the process better. If you have specific questions, please contact the IRB Chair or an IRB Member to assist you.

When does the board meet?

The full board meets once each term and the dates do vary. However, we do call board meetings when a full board is required for a review. Most proposals do not require a full review because they are exempt or minimal risk.

What needs to be reviewed by the IRB?

Any research data collected at LSSU, that involves Human Subjects Research needs to be reviewed by the LSSU IRB. If it's an LSSU sponsored research proposal, the Chair looks at the classification of risk to determine what needs to be done next.

How long does this process take?

The turn around time is usually very short between a few days to a week, if all of the paperwork is completed correctly, the surveys and data collection methodology is completely described and instruments attached to the proposal, and if the proposal is exempt or minimal risk.

What is my role as faculty in this process?

The faculty should review the proposal paperwork and sign it before it is submitted. By verifying that the paperwork is complete, the benefits to the subject, risk identification and methodology described and the data collection and survey tools and consent forms attached, that helps facilitate the process.

Where do I get the forms?

The forms that are the most up to date are always on the web site. Each term, make sure to download the latest form.

What if I have multiple proposals to send to the IRB?

If faculty have an entire class of students with proposals, the faculty can submit the proposals at one time, or send them individually to the board. Because the proposals go to different board members, that doesn't usually impact the process.

What is the process for reviewing the proposals?

We use a process which is consistent with how many university research boards are reviewing proposals. The Chair reviews the proposals classified as exempt. The Chair will review the proposal as well as survey instruments or data collection tools, to make sure it's truly exempt. For example, any research that could possibly include minors, pregnant women, prisoners, or any of the protected groups, cannot be classified as exempt. If the survey or data collection tools involve human subject testing, such as invasive procedures, or the survey tools contain information about potential or actual criminal or similar activities, the proposal would likely not be classified as exempt.

If the proposal is exempt, the Chair of the Committee can approve the proposal.

If the proposal is minimal risk, the Chair sends the proposal to 2 or more board members, who review the proposal. We review the risk and benefits to the subjects by reviewing the proposal, methodology, survey and data collection tools, and consent forms. We usually respond to the Chair within a few days with feedback and recommendations. The Chair reviews the feedback and will either provide the final approval for the proposal, or request more information or changes to the proposal before the proposal can be approved.

What if the LSSU sponsored research is being collected at another location, off campus?

If a student or faculty at LSSU is collecting data at another institution or location for a project that is for a LSSU study or LSSU course, then of course, the proposal would need to be reviewed by the LSSU IRB first, because the research is originating from our students for our courses and programs.

We request that the student obtain permission from the school or business owner, prior to data collection. For example, a local school may require the permission of the superintendent, or a grocery store owner can give consent to having students outside their place of business passing out surveys to the public.

What if the research involves another institution such as faculty dissertation research?

There are also times when the process may take a different path, if the research involves data collection outside LSSU.

If the proposal is a project that is 'external' to the University, such as research being completed at another institution where data collection is also being collected, usually that proposal needs the IRB at that institution first before it is reviewed by LSSU. For example, if your dissertation research is being reviewed through Western Michigan University, not LSSU, because it is sponsored through Western Michigan University.

What if the research involves another institution but is co-sponsored by LSSU?

If the project is co-sponsored between two institutions, where data is collected at LSSU and another location, the IRB prefers the IRB at the other institution review the proposal first, if possible. For example, an NCAA research project went through the national NCAA IRB prior to being reviewed by the IRB, because the research is coordinated through the NCAA.

What if the researcher, is not a faculty or student at LSSU but they want to collect data at LSSU?

As a general rule, the IRB does not review or approve research which is not sponsored by LSSU. Outside researchers that want to collect any human subject research on campus, or involving our students, faculty or campus, should not submit the proposal to the IRB. Rather, please discuss your proposal with the Provost. The Provost will contact the Chair to determine the next steps.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

You can contact the Chair or any of the committee members are listed on the IRB home page.

Vision to Succeed

Robotics Industries Association

First Place
Lake Superior State University

Design and development of low cost robotics machine tending system

Second Place
University of Waterloo, Canada

Third Place
New Mexico Institute of Mining

2001 Robotics Industries Association: Robotics & Vision Show

International Scholarship Competition

June 5, 2001
Chicago, IL

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