Institutional Review Board (IRB) 

Mission and Vision

The IRB, a volunteer service committee, actively seeks to provide ethical guidance to our University's scientific community in order to help affiliated investigators engage in work that, above all else, (1) honors the rights and dignity of every human participant, and, (2) complies with federal regulations. In keeping with the larger mission of St. Edward's University -- which emphasizes educational opportunities for all students, faculty, and staff -- the Institutional Review Board (IRB) endeavors to proactively educate our research community through classroom and Institutional training initiatives that emphasize a high standard of respect for participants in the Human Subjects Research discipline. We seek to communicate consistently with investigators in order that these important ethical standards should remain exemplified throughout each scientific endeavor.

Our Charge

The St. Edward's University Institutional Review Board (IRB) serves to protect the rights and dignity of participants in Human Subjects Research that is undertaken by (or with) members of the St. Edward's University community. The St. Edward's IRB is responsible for ensuring that University-affiliated research is compliant with the human subjects laws of the State of Texas as well as the federal guidelines that are defined -- in conjunction -- by the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) (45 CFR 46) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (21 CFR 50) [both divisions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)] .

The St. Edward's University IRB recognizes that Human Subjects Research constitutes a broad range of activities, and thus the committee’s interpretation of State and federal guidelines may require some dialogue (within reason) to enforce these guidelines over the commonly accepted practices of distinct disciplines.

It should be noted that the St. Edward's University IRB is not responsible for enforcing professional standards beyond those concerning the protection of Human Subjects. While some research activities may raise questions beyond this purview [for example, questions pertaining to the quality of the research methodology or the topic's accordance with the University mission], it should be noted that the IRB is charged specifically with determining the foreseeable risks and benefits posed to human participants taking part in University-affiliated research. The Institutional Review Board recognizes the limitations of this charge, yet we wish to remind all University-affiliated researchers that the scientific discipline as a whole is subject to the same standards of excellence that accompany any professional endeavor and, thus, all affiliates are expected to maintain excellence in conduct throughout their scientific investigations, even in those areas that extend beyond the purview of the IRB.

Our volunteer members are dedicated contributors to the scientific community at St. Edward's University. If you have any research-oriented questions that extend beyond the protection of human participants, then you are welcome to approach individual members of the IRB for their opinions as professional colleagues. Keep in mind that, in those cases, a board member's council should not be considered a reflection of the IRB's consensus as a whole.  

As is the case with almost every college and university, St. Edward's University has agreed to the OHRP Federalwide Assurance (FWA) dictating that human subjects research will adhere to the Department of Health and Human Services Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) title 45 part 46. According to these guidelines "Research means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge” (45 CFR 46.102(d)). Likewise, "A human subject is a living individual about whom an investigator (professional or student) conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or (2) identifiable private information" (45 CFR 46.102(f)).

Committee Members


IRB Administrative Team

Laurie Cook Heffron, PhD, LMSW
IRB Chair

Shelbee Nguyen, PhD
IRB Vice Chair

Laura Minnigerode, MEd
IRB Administrator
Holy Cross Hall 106: Office of Sponsored Programs

IRB Members

Laurie Cook-Heffron, Chair of SEU IRB

Associate Professor of Social Work, BSS

Shelbee Nguyen, Vice Chair of SEU IRB

Associate Professor of Education, BSS/GPS

Kerrie Taylor

Assistant Professor of Counseling, BSS

Lauren Mitchell

Lecturer of Chemistry, NSCI

Cayenne Shpall

Assistant Professor Education, BSS/GPS

Michelle Burd

External Member

Megan Ringel

Assistant Professor of Psychology, BSS

Gloria White

Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs, At-Large

Paul Walter

Associate Professor of Physics, NSCI

Angela Ju

Assistant Professor of Global Studies & Political Science, BSS

Mary Brantl

Associate Professor of Art History, AHMX

Molly Minus

Director of McNair Scholar Program & Professor of Education, At-Large

Monica Hernandez

Associate Professor of Marketing, MSB

Billy Earnest

Associate Professor of Communication, AHMX

Lisa Holleran

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, BSS

Camelia Rotaru

Professor of Finance, MSB


Parent Institution/Organization: IORG0008223 (expires 02/28/2022)

IRB00009859 - St. Edward's University IRB #1 - IRB Committee

Federal Wide Assurance (FWA) - #00027924 expires 9/15/2025

External Links

These additional online resources are associated with human subjects research.

Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) - The OSP assists with external research grants, endowments, and other funding sources. IRB approval may be required for certain funding opportunities.


The following links will take you outside of the St. Edward's University website.

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP)
U.S. regulations for research.

"Common Rule" Office for Human Research Protections (45 CFR 46) - This U.S. Government Code of Federal Regulations document consists of protocols that govern the behavior and procedures of all U.S.-affiliated IRBs.

APA Guidelines
Professional guidelines for research in psychology.

FDA Guidance
U.S. Food and Drug Administration's guidance for Institutional Review Boards.

e-Source (Provided by the NIH and OBSSR)
Behavioral and social science researchers may benefit from a quick review of this impressive resource. A team of international experts created twenty interactive chapters that collectively describe methodological "best practices" for behavioral researchers.