Instructional Courses and Course Content
Graduate-level RCR courses are reviewed and approved by the curriculum subcommittee of the Graduate School, which is comprised of faculty representatives from all four academic divisions. The curriculum subcommittee is charged with the review and approval of all permanent graduate courses, including RCR courses. To be effective, RCR courses must be discipline-specific, covering issues and problems that graduate students are likely to encounter in their research experience.
Course formats are not mandated. Current offerings in fulfillment of the NIH mandate for formal instruction in the ethical conduct of research are minimally half-term (six-week) courses meeting three hours per week, taught by a regular faculty member, and often involving other faculty who share their expertise and viewpoints on specific topics. Courses include readings, case studies, and discussion. Other formats are acceptable and may include: weekly lectures by one or more faculty in an area or broad field, followed by discussion groups or precepts in the specific departments; an intensive short course during the summer or during reading/exam period in January or May; or a six-week or longer course taught intensively during the summer. Significant student-faculty discussion, however, should be a major component of any proposed course (a preference strongly expressed by both NIH and NSF). Individual discussions between an advisor and his or her student are not considered sufficient to fulfill the requirement.
Courses should be taught by one or more departmental or program faculty. Courses should be offered as ungraded or with the P-D-F option, with attendance at all sessions required.
In some circumstances, online modules supported by the University are an appropriate and sufficient training platform. In other cases, portions of online training modules may be utilized as a resource for the regular courses. To facilitate training and compliance, the University subscribes to the online CITI training program for use in RCR training.
Courses should cover the appropriate and relevant topics from among the eleven “core areas” below. These eleven areas are denoted by NIH to be “incorporated into most acceptable plans for” RCR training. The first nine subjects have been defined as core areas for instruction by the NSF’s Office of Research Integrity and propagated by the Council of Graduate Schools’ “Project for Scholarly Integrity in Graduate Education”: