IRB Corner: Updates and Improvements

IRB Corner: Updates and Improvements

Greetings researchers,

I am Dr. Andrew Maus. I am the Assistant Dean of Operations for the School of Advanced Studies and I am also the Director of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) Office.

I wanted to introduce myself to you all and share a few things with you regarding what the IRB office is implementing to improve its functionality and processes. Specifically, we aim to reduce package processing times, decrease email response times, and improve IRB-related skills and awareness among students and faculty.

We have added additional members to the board so that we are able to render additional decisions per month.

We have adopted a simplified pre-review (or “desk review”) process that should allow researchers to progress in the process quicker than before.

We have initiated and maintained a strict 48-hours-or-less email reply practice for every email that comes to the IRB office (, and we’ve posted a walk-through video on SASCentral for students and chairs that shows all the steps involved with submitting a package in IRBNet (Link here).

Finally, we have established a cadence for presenting IRB tips and guidance during faculty calls and at physical residencies for students – both on a quarterly basis.

To further this theme of process improvement, I have listed a few dos and don’ts that will help you progress through the IRB review process and beyond.

1.      Before a researcher submits an initial package in the IRBNet system, it is imperative that they review and understand these three guidance documents:

         a.      READ ME FIRST: UOPX IRB Process

         b.      IRB Human Subjects Research Worksheet

         c.       FAQs - Submissions, Revisions, and Resubmissions

Researchers who do not review and understand these three guidance documents prior to making a submission often miss important items that the IRB office requires to conduct a review. These missing items often cause delays and stress for the researcher that might have been avoided.

2.      All communication to and from the IRB office, and/or its staff, should be directed to the IRB office email ( IRB related issues and questions that are sent to individual IRB staff members can sometimes be overlooked if that person is out of the office.

3.      CITI credentials. Researches (and dissertation chairs also) should review the document: GUIDANCE - Sharing CITI Certification with UOPX IRB. These instructions show IRBNet users how to link their CITI training to their IRBNet profiles. Doing this saves time for researchers and for the IRB office staff.

4.      Dissertation students should NEVER copy and paste content from their dissertation proposals into the IRBNet application. Dissertation students should respond to all the IRB application questions with 1-3 paragraphs as needed per the guidance found in READ ME FIRST: UOPX IRB Process and the IRB Human Subjects Research Worksheet.

5.      When researchers receive a decision letter from the IRB, they are sometimes confused and do not understand what is required to address the feedback in the letter. Before emailing the IRB Office, researchers should review GUIDANCE - Understanding IRB Reviews, Actions and Decision Letters. This document explains how to assemble a re-submission package if needed, and it explains the different types of decisions as well.

All of the underlined guidance documents that I noted above, as well as numerous other helpful guides, can be found in the IRBNet forms and templates library on the left side of the screen after logging into IRBNet:

If you have IRB related questions and need support, I want you all to know that my staff and I are here to help. Please reach out to our office at

I hope that you find the above dos and don’ts to be helpful.


Dr. Andrew L. Maus, DBA
Assistant Dean of Operations, Marine Corps Veteran
University of Phoenix
School of Advanced Studies - Institutional Review Board (IRB)