1.1 This document sets out a framework which allows staff and students of The Manchester College to give due consideration to the ethical implications of any academic activities taking place and to ensure that such ethical considerations are reviewed and progressed in an appropriate manner.
1.2 This framework has been informed by existing internal process and practices and based upon principles and requirements of external bodies.
1.3 The framework sets out clear guidelines which all students should be aware of and be compliant with. The framework intends to make staff and students aware of the ethical obligations that may arise in their academic activity, and to encourage ethical behaviour. The framework does not set out to provide answers to specific ethical issues and all decisions made regarding ethical matters should be on the basis of careful consideration of all contributing factors.
2. Ethical Statement
2.1The Manchester College aims to be “Professional and ethical in all academic activities” and requires that students engaged in academic activities are aware of the ethical implications of such activities and are committed to undertaking these in an ethical manner and demonstrating good practice which meets a high professional standard of conduct.
2.2The Manchester College has a responsibility to maintain suitable standards of propriety whilst carrying out academic and other activities in a respectful and ethical manner without compromising welfare or morality of staff, students and the wider public
2.3 It is the responsibility of The Manchester College staff and students to consider the ethical implications of all academic modules, assessments and activities using this framework as a guide.
3. Definitions of Terms
In the context of this framework the following definitions of terms apply:
3.1 Academic Activity
Research, project, investigation, enquiry, survey, placement, or any other interaction with human participants, including the use of data derived from that interaction.
A student engaged in academic activity.
Tutor or other staff member responsible for supporting and mentoring student undertaking academic activity
Individuals or organisations contacted as a result of academic activity.
4. Principles for the Consideration of Ethical Issues
4.1Students must be made aware of their responsibility to consider any ethical issues that may arise from academic activities undertaking as part of their studies at The Manchester College.
4.2The review of ethical implications of academic activities shall be based upon the consideration of criteria including but not exclusive to:
- Sensitive data that may be collected, with particular regard to matters such as age, colour, race/ethnicity, nationality, disablement, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, personal medical records and political beliefs;
- Arrangements for the security of data, participants and confidentiality;
- Arrangements for ensuring the anonymity of participants;
- If payments are to be made to the participants or other rewards granted and the integrity of that provision;
- The ethical issues/guidelines of any third party involved in The Manchester College’s activities, e.g. as a provider of research funding.
4.3In addition to the criteria being considered it is essential that activities being undertaken are eligible to comply with the following requirements:
- Sample size proposed is appropriate to study being undertaken;
- Relevant and appropriate lines of enquiry undertaken;
- “Participants”must be fully informed of the true purpose of the study except where there is satisfactory justification (e.g. end results being affected) for withholding that information;
- “Participants”must give their explicit consent (where applicable in writing) except where there is satisfactory justification for not obtaining this consent;
- “Participants” must be informed of their right to withdraw themselves and their data from the academic activity at any time without any pressure to continue;
- Any potential risks to the “researcher”(s), the “participant”(s) or The Manchester College must be assessed;
- Any Legal considerations for academic activity must be accompanied by definitive rationale demonstrating that:
- Any risk to The Manchester College has been assessed and deemed acceptable;
- Safeguarding arrangements are in place to protect researcher(s) and participants;
- Security measures can be put in place to protect documentation and artefacts.
4.4The Manchester College Ethics Committee has the responsibility to ensure that all aspects of curriculum comply with ethical requirements as deemed appropriate. Such requirements include:
- Completion of a Research Ethics Approval Form and subsequent approval or rejection of this checklist to confirm that ethical issues have been satisfactorily addressed.
- Clear communication on staff with responsibilities for managing the procedures;
- Establishment of clear procedures for intervention where breaches of guidelines are alleged;
- Regular review of processes and procedures for considering ethical issues to ensuretheir effectiveness.
- Where student-wide issues are identified by the committee, these will be communicated to the student population via the staff student committee process.
5. Procedures for the Consideration of Ethical Issues
5.1 Where a course team proposes to introduce an element of curriculum or assessment which gives rise to ethical issues, such issues shall be considered by the ethics committee and/or any committee considering the academic rationality of the proposal, i.e. the Programme Validation or minor modifications/amendment Panel or other relevant committee overseeing the quality assurance procedures;
5.2 Ethical Committee to confirm issues relating to any Higher Education modules deemed liable for ethical consideration have been satisfactorily identified and considered.
5.3 Evidence of Ethical Approval to be available to present, as required, to Board of Examiners to demonstrate that ethical issues have been satisfactorily addressed.
5.4 Students must complete a Research Ethics Approval Request Form (stage 1) to their Module Tutor/Research Supervisor prior to commencement of all research activities
5.5Inclusion of a clear statement in Student Handbook (Part B), Programme Handbooks and Module handbooks which informs students of their ethical obligations and responsibilities during their studies at The Manchester College;
- The Manchester College aims to be professional and ethical in all academic activities and requiresthat students engaged in academic activities are aware of the ethical implications of such activities and are committed to undertaking these in an ethical manner and demonstrating good practice which meets a high professional standard of conduct. That commitment to this ethical practice is supportive and not to act as a barrier to any academic activity.
- The Manchester College has a responsibility to maintain suitable standards of propriety whilst carrying out academic and other activities in a respectful and ethical manner without compromising welfare or morality of staff, students and the wider public.
- A Research Ethics Approval Request Form is available to download on The Manchester College website in the University Level/University of Salford section.
- This should be completed and submitted by email to the Module Tutor. No activity must commence until an approval decision has been granted. Projects that would be deemed eligible for ethical consideration include:
- Major independent research projects
- Any projects involving human subjects
- Any projects which raise any questions of legality
- Any projects analysing sensitive data
6. The Approval Process
6.1The completed Ethical Approval Request forms will generate a risk level of LOW to HIGH. These will initially be reviewed at curriculum level by Module Tutors/Research Supervisor.
If a project has a Low Risk Category
- Supervisors will approve the project without further ethical consideration and will return the request form confirming this decision.
If the project has a Medium Risk Category
- The student will be guided to also complete the Stage 2 Ethical Approval Request Form submit this to their Module Tutor/Supervisor, who may reject it, ask for revisions, or pass on theanonymous submission to the Curriculum Lead Manager (CLM) with a recommendation for approval. The CLM may in turn approve it, requestrevisions, reject it or pass on the anonymous application to the TMC Ethics Committee with arecommendation for approval.
If the project has a High Risk Category
- The student will normally have their request rejected. However, where there are exceptional circumstances and a casefor approval is warranted an anonymous submission will be reviewed by the TMC Ethics Committee.
All submissions to the Ethics Committee will be reviewed by Ethics Committee members’ independent to the originating Division. However, the Ethics Committee reserves the right to consult with an expert from that Division as applicable.
THE MANCHESTER COLLEGE ETHICS COMMITTEE
TERMS OF REFERENCE
The Ethics Committee will be responsible for advising curriculum on the development, implementation and review of procedures and guidelines relating to ethical issues arising from teaching, research activities and other related academic activities. The Ethics Committee will advise on emerging issues of institutional, national or international significance and will be reactive in providing guidance for curriculum staff, departments and students. Its terms of reference will be as follows:
- To advise The Manchester College Curriculum staff on the development of policies and guidelines relating to ethical issues arising from teaching, research and other related academic activities;
- To contribute to the demonstration of good practice regarding ethical procedures within The Manchester College;
- To provide advice to Departments, Curriculum Staff, individual members of staff and students on ethical issues arising from teaching, research and academic practice;
- To formulate responses to national developments relating to ethical issues;
- To consider ethical issues relating to the research activities of The Manchester College; which involves human participants.
- To consider any matters referred to the Committee by The Manchester College Curriculum Staff, Boards of Studies, Departments, proposals from members of staff and students;
- To produce guidance documents for researchers on ethical issues and to publish these guidelines on The Manchester College website
- To monitor ethical practice within The Manchester College and the operation of Research Ethics Committees.
- Individual proposals will be considered on a monthly basis and decisions will be full approval (LOW RISK) conditional approval pending referral (MEDIUM RISK) or not approved (HIGH RISK with some exceptions):
- Full approval will be given at Module Tutor level for projects deemed to have LOW RISK category, with no alterations needed. The study may begin straightaway.
- Conditional approval will require approval at Departmental level by Curriculum Lead Manager (CLM) for projects deemed to have MEDIUM RISK category. These will be referred anonymously by Module Tutors to CLM and if further approval is required, these will be referred anonymously to the Ethics Committee for final approval.
- Not approved will mean that the proposal has been deemed HIGH RISK category and has been rejected, and the student will have to re-apply for ethical approval for an amended proposal.
- To meet annually to review terms of reference, management of ethical issues and to perform an annual audit of all proposals to ensure that the correct procedures and paperwork are being maintained.
- To meet as required during the academic year to discuss proposals only. All meetings will be reported to the Ethics Committee. For LOW RISK category; students will wait no longer than 2 weeks from submission of a proposal to an initial decision on that proposal. For MEDIUM/HIGH RISK category; students will wait no longer than 2 weeks from referral to CLM, and a further 2 weeks from referral to Ethics Committee as applicable.