Paper Presentations: HREC Support in building teaching/research communities@CSU

Presenter: Claudia Diaz

Co-presenter(s): Dr Kim Browne; Dr Asim Qayyum; Prof. Dominic Sullivan; Prof. Oliver Burmeister

Faculty / Division: Faculty of Science and Health

School / Unit: SDMS

Session Type: Paper Presentation

Session Number: 3

When: Tuesday 15th November at 12:15 pm

Zoom link: Passcode: 879730


The Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) Executive have adopted a Transformational Leadership approach (van Dierendonck et al., 2014) in their collegial work with the teaching and research community at Charles Sturt University (CSU). HREC work is focused on the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (NS). Such values-based transformational leadership encourages collaborative learning (Andersen, 2017) whilst keeping corporate objectives in mind. It is an approach aimed to bring out the best in the researchers we the HREC Executive work with, many of whom are Higher Degree Research students.
The HREC at CSU has an Executive consisting of a Presiding Officer, three Deputy Presiding Officers, supported by several committee members representing diverse disciplines of the University. In line with the NS requirement, one third of the HREC committee is composed of lay members from the community (professional care givers, pastoral care givers and a lawyer). A Secretary and Compliance officer support the HREC work from the CSU Research and Integrity Unit. Our aim as a committee is to build up the research community at CSU and to achieve that aim, we have established a valuable network of experts at CSU and at other Australian universities to liaise and consult with. We also have a network of CSU Research Integrity Advisors to call for advice when needed.
In recent times, the transformational leadership style adopted by the Executive has identified and dealt with important issues such as gender, vulnerability and mental health that arise while dealing with research involving humans. The committee strives to support researchers to align their goals to the strategic vision of our organisation and to inform researchers of new and emerging ethical values and best practices for research involving humans. Training in ethics is an important part of this collegial work and a key component is our monthly Ethics Café series. In addition, we regularly conduct training seminars customised to the needs of various disciplines in the university. New materials/guides and processes are developed to facilitate and address any special needs identified.
We also strive to provide positive and constructive feedback as part of the application process, and modelling feedback based on NS values has been the cornerstone of that process. The work of the HREC is particularly important in the online teaching environment at CSU as this mode of teaching augments ethical issues with its absence of physical, cultural and jurisdictional boundaries (Anderson and Simpson 2007). Academic integrity encompassing respect, honesty and transparency is essential for maintaining the trust of the community and the reputation of the University at both domestic and international levels. Therefore, the HREC aims to maintain a strong connection between academics, students and the community that will allow us to work and learn together in a collegial, transparent, and productive manner. Finally, the committee’s adoption of transformational leadership supports its goal whilst allowing the university to meet its corporate objectives for the coming decades.

Andersen, L. (2017). ‘Useful, usable and used’: Sustaining an Australian model of cross-faculty service learning by concentrating on shared value creation. Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement, 10(1), 58-77.

Anderson, B. and Simpson, M. 2007. Ethical issues in online education. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 22(2), 129-138.

Porter, M. (1996). What is strategy? Harvard Business Review, 74(6), 61.

van Dierendonck, D., Stam, D., Boersma, P., de Windt, N., & Alkema, J. (2014). Same difference? Exploring the differential mechanisms linking servant leadership and transformational leadership to follower outcomes. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(3), 544-562.