MU human research director receives new title, expanded responsibilities

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 | 4:45 p.m. CDT; updated 5:49 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 17, 2013

COLUMBIA — MU's human research protections director, Michele Kennett, received a new title and a bigger workload when she took on additional responsibilities on Tuesday.

"It's not a new position; it's just a change in title," said Robert Hall, MU associate vice chancellor for research. "She's agreed to take on more responsibility. There is no increase in salary — just more work."

In addition to maintaining her current responsibilities, Kennett will work more closely with senior research division staff as the division's assistant vice chancellor for research.

"She will assume additional responsibilities in the day-to-day operations of the research division, especially in the area of research compliance, and will continue in her present role as Director of Human Research Protections," according to a MU Office of Research announcement.

Kennett said she wants to enhance MU’s research environment while ensuring regulatory compliance. One of Kennett's responsibilities has been to oversee the Campus Institutional Review Board at MU that regulates safety and ethical decisions in research.

"Compliance is a necessary aspect to make sure you have a well-run research program," Kennett said. “It's a highly regulated area."

Since coming to MU in 2003, Kennett said her office has tried to make its IRB process less arduous without sacrificing subject safety.

"First and foremost, we're here to protect the subjects," Kennett said. "Beyond that, we try to eliminate research barriers when we can."

MU's research office rolled out an electronic submission process for its IRB proposal process about five years ago in an effort to streamline it, she said.

Supervising editor is Stephanie Ebbs.

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