Introducing Common Rule Webinar Series Blog Squad Member Dawn Leusner

As part of PRIM&R’s webinar series on the revised Common Rule, two members of our community were selected to write a series of blog posts about the webinars, what they learned from them, and how the information is applicable to their work. Now that the webinar series has concluded, we’re pleased to introduce them to you and share their thoughts over the next few weeks.

Among scientists in the field of education, there are many who believe that all educational research, regardless of purpose, should be exempt from IRB processes and procedures. While the government did not approve education as a new category of excused research under the new proposed Common Rule that is currently slated to take effect in January 2018, there remain many areas of consideration that might be affected, including confidentiality, authentication of online participants, consent and assent, and questions around what constitutes research when conducting data collection activities in school settings.

I’ve been the IRB Administrator for Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, NJ, for the last six years. While we are mainly an assessment development organization, our institution also conducts social, behavioral, and educational research (SBER) across the world. I have a strong passion for my work, and have built a collegial reputation and a community of trust at ETS. I’m seen not only as the foremost protector of ETS research participants, but also as a compliance advocate for the scientists and institution as a whole.

Because of this experience, I look forward to learning about the implications of the revised Common Rule for research with minors in schools and for the field as a whole. I’ll also be actively considering the effects the changes will have on our existing standard operating procedures, and how the regulations may reduce the burdens for both institutions and participants.

I’m excited to bring my perspective on the changes to the Common Rule to readers of Ampersand. By attending PRIM&R’s Focus on the Revised Common Rule webinar series, concentrating on SBER topics, I seek to better understand the updated regulations with respect to conducting research with minors in schools and other educational settings and to share what I learn here, as well as at my institution. Provided the chance, I hope to initiate a rich discussion with peers and colleagues.

Dawn Leusner was selected to cover the SBER bundle of PRIM&R’s webinar series, Focus on the Revised Common RuleShe is a research project manager in the Student & Teacher Research group, part of the Research & Development division at Educational Testing Service (ETS). She is also ETS’ IRB administrator, directing a 14-member team of reviewers. Additionally, Ms. Leusner consults with strategic business units in the development of product efficacy arguments for non-assessment products and services. She has 25 years of varied research experience, including a decade directing qualitative and quantitative market research studies. She has been a PRIM&R member since 2011.