Institutional Review Board

Department of Biology Policy

The Department of Biology recognizes the need and appropriateness for human participants in several of our courses, including but not limited to Biology 1100, Biology 1399, and Biology 2060. Laboratories for these classes actively engage students in learning about such things as human cells and ABO and Rh blood groups. These exercises help students to see real life examples rather than just diagrams in a textbook. Lecture information about blood types is more relevant when a student has watched the process of agglutination of his or her own red blood cells.

Participation as a Participant in Biology Laboratories

To respect choices of individuals, it is the policy of the Department to make participation as a participant in any class exercise voluntary. Failure to participate as a participant in class exercise will in no way affect the student’s grade. All students are required to participate in safety training (see below). In addition, students will be advised by the lab instructor of potential risks during each lab, so that an informed decision regarding participation as a participant can be made. Data obtained from exercises that involve students as participants will not be used by any faculty member or student for research purposes. Each Course will have a Consent Form for Participation as a Participant in Classroom Exercise. Any student who consents to participate as a participant by signing the Consent Form may still withdraw from participation as a participant at any time

Options for Students Who Do Not Wish to Participate as a Participant in Teaching Exercises

Students who choose not to participate as a participant in a class exercise may be assigned a supportive non-participant role or an alternative related exercise that meets the same general educational objectives.  All students are responsible for meeting the educational objectives of the exercise.

Safety Issues

All students must participate in Safety Training in Biology 1100, Biology 1399, and Biology 2060 that includes consideration of biohazards (such as cells and blood) and other safety issues. Students must pass the Safety Test in order to remain enrolled in each of these courses. Furthermore, Biology 1399 is a prerequisite for all other biology courses taken by biology majors. In addition, laboratory manuals for each course include specific information about required precautions, and personal protective equipment is made available in every biology laboratory. The Biology Department’s full safety program is described in the Biology Laboratory Safety Plan.

Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

  1. Students who volunteer to participate in a class exercise as a participant are entitled to receive as much information as a participant would reasonably want to know to make an informed decision about participation before signing up.
  2. Students who initially choose to participate as a participant may withdraw from participation as a participant at any subsequent time without penalty.
  3. Students who participate in studies will receive an explanation from the instructor regarding the purpose of the exercise.
  4. Students are responsible for considering their personal medical history when making a decision to participate as a participant in a class exercise.


If a student believes that he or she has been treated unfairly or harmed in a class exercise, the student should contact either (1) the Biology instructor; (2) the Chair of the Biology Department; (3) or the Chair of the Human Participants IRB.

Contact Us

Chair of the IRB: Dr. Kimberly Wear
(336) 841-9246