Drone aerial view of Old Main. Photo: Luke Hollister




Human Research Protections Program

Pink star-shaped flower and purple grape hyacinth in grass


🔵 The IRB does not review full-board protocols over summer. (The final SQ full-board meeting deadline was Mon. May 20.) The HRPP will process expedited and exempt applications throughout the year, but you may experience slight delays in summer or during university breaks.

🟢 New HRPP website coming this summer/fall! Stay tuned for expanded support and guidance for the campus research community. (While we work on these resources, please contact the HRPP with any questions or suggestions!)

Office space with table and patterned tablecloth and smart screen in back

>> Expanded Consent Templates: minor assent/parental permission & opt-out notification, online consent, short form, etc. These forms provide starting language/format to meet necessary criteria and best practices. If you have any discipline-specific consent language/parts to suggest, please contact us to help expand the library. 

>> PAM (Post-Approval Monitoring) in progress: We're nearly done tying up loose ends on previously open protocols. Moving forward, we'll conduct PAM checks 2-3 weeks before a protocol expiry date to ensure accurate records.

As always, thank you for your work in supporting a culture of research integrity at Western.

Your HRPP/IRB leadership, 

  • Dr. Andrea Rossing McDowell, Human Research Protections Program (HRPP) Administrator
  • Dr. Ira Hyman (Professor of Psychology), Chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Why the New Terminology?

Human Subjects vs. Human Participants

"Subjects" implies a passive role: research activities are done on and to individuals in a study. In contrast, "participants" reflects an informed, active role, better affirming the Belmont Report principle of respect for persons.


The Institutional Review Board (IRB) comprises 11 members from multiple WWU disciplines. IRB members review certain expedited submissions, convene to review full-board protocols needing higher-level risk assessment and mitigations.

The Human Research Protections Program (HRPP)--reports to the Vice Provost for Research and serves as the research integrity office supporting researchers conducting human participant research. Most WWU research qualifies as "minimal risk" and may use the Application for Exemption (from higher IRB review), for which the HRPP Administrator issues determinations. The HRPP Administrator manages all office processing and updates policies/practices based on current regulations and best practices in ethical human participant research.

Woman with white hair and glasses.

Andrea Rossing McDowell, PhD

In Fall, Dr. Andrea McDowell joined WWU as HRPP Administrator--a new position dedicated to improving processes and better supporting research integrity. She brings more than a decade of experience in human participant research administration and research ethics, and an extensive writing/editing/public speaking background. For more than 30 years, she has taught in the university classroom on subjects from writing and editing, to Russian/Soviet literature, to Student Development Theory, and most recently, Business Communication and Editing for Seattle University. She is also a professional Editorial Consultant for the CITI human participant training program.