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Kent State’s Institutional Review Board Thanks Hawks for Many Years of Service

Posted Jun. 26, 2011
John Hawks, an associate professor of audiology
John Hawks

On June 10, Dr. Deborah Barnbaum, chair of the Kent State University Institutional Review Board (IRB), staff members of the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs and members of the Speech Pathology and Audiology program made a surprise drop-in to Professor John Hawks’ “Industry and Community Noise” class to thank him for his many years of service (1992-2010) on the IRB and present him with a crystal plaque.

Hawks, an associate professor of audiology, has worked for Kent State since 1991. He teaches courses in instrumentation, psychoacoustics, clinical audiology and the effects of noise, and he has research interests in speech perception.
The IRB, a 23-member board, meets monthly to formally review and monitor university research involving humans with the aim to protect the rights and welfare of the research subjects. IRB members are appointed for three-year terms, although some choose to serve longer.  

“Having the expertise of a member who has served 18 years, such as Dr. Hawks, is exceptional,” Barnbaum said.  “His knowledge of the federal regulations, Kent State institutional memory, as well as his professional judgment is extraordinary. The value of the expertise of a member like Dr. Hawks cannot be overstated. The knowledge base and professional judgment are not easily acquired. Furthermore, John has a wonderful sense of humor and gracious professional demeanor. He will be missed.”

As a condition of receiving federal funds for research, Kent State is bound by the “Common Rule” – the federal regulations that govern the responsible use of human research subjects. The Common Rule sets out the guidelines for IRBs, including the requirement that every research project that involves human beings must be approved by the IRB.  

Barnbaum explains, “The IRB is one of the few committees at Kent State whose rules and regulations are not merely a product of the university, but are a function of federal laws. Thus, IRB members must be acquainted with extensive regulations to fulfill their responsibilities, and grant funds are contingent on the IRB doing its job well. It is a significant responsibility, making Dr. Hawks’ voluntary contributions over nearly two decades all the more impressive.”