Faculty Mentor Responsibilities

Research projects that are submitted by a student are required to have a designated faculty mentor who is responsible for providing oversight and guidance. This includes providing information to the student about the general principles of research ethics (including the Belmont Report) for research involving human subjects and providing assistance in determining whether a student’s project requires review by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

The IRB ultimately holds the faculty mentor responsible for the overall management of an approved research study in conjunction with the student PI. 

Who can serve as a Faculty Mentor?

Any level of University faculty members may serve as a Faculty Mentor except for Adjunct faculty. 

Responsibilities of a Faculty Mentor

  1. Complete the required research ethics courses through the Collaborative Institutional Training Institute (CITI) using the Pitt CITI access portal. At a minimum, mentors must complete one of the Human Subjects Protection courses and the Responsible Conduct of Research course. Additional courses required are based on the research being conducted and may change over time. Detailed information on required Training Courses is available on the Office of Research Protections website and listed below are a few examples.

    -Study includes a medical record review, the Privacy & Information Security course is required
    -Study meets the definition of a Clinical Trial, the Good Clinical Practice course is required
    -Mentor has a potential financial interest in the research being conducted, the Conflict of Interest course is required (contact the Conflict of Interest Office for more information)

  2. ​Ensure the student is familiar with applicable policies of the Human Research Protection Office (HRPO) and the University, Federal regulations governing human subjects research, HIPAA, and policies that apply to special populations.
  3. Actively participate in the planning, design, and implementation of the research project. This may include determining the department for scientific review, addressing issues related to consent, and developing an appropriate recruitment strategy.
  4. Participate in consults between the student and the staff of the HRPO from pre-submission through study completion.
  5. Ensure that enough time is allocated for the IRB review process, especially if the project will be conducted in an international setting.
  6. Ensure that the student is aware of and fulfills the responsibilities of a principal investigator as outlined in the IRB Policy and Procedures Manual, Chapter 4, and monitoring the students work to ensure these requirements are fulfilled.
  7. For international studies, mentors should make sure students are aware of local customs and regulations. It is important that a communication plan be developed in the event of a problem with the project or if there is a security issue that arises related to the safety of the student.
  8. Provide support to the student throughout the life of the study to monitor the progress. This includes submitting modifications and continuing review, unanticipated problems that arise, and a final report when the study is complete.

Providing Sign-Off in PittPRO

Accept the role of faculty mentor in PittPRO by clicking on the “Faculty Mentor Acknowledgement” button on the study workspace. Projects are not forwarded to the review queue until this occurs. Mentors will receive a notice as soon as a student lists his/her name on the application. Final sign off by the mentor should not occur until the application is complete and a review of the application and attachments conducted by the mentor.

Detailed instructions are available in the PittPRO application, Help Center, Mentor Quick Reference (log-in required).

updated 4/9/2021