Guidance for External Investigators Conducting Research

Montclair administration regularly receives requests from outside investigators to conduct research on faculty or students. This policy addresses only those external investigators who are interested in such research and do not have a Montclair co-investigator.

Investigators who are not affiliated with Montclair but who wish to 1) recruit Montclair students, staff, or faculty for participation in social, behavioral or educational research projects, or 2) request institutional data on students, staff or faculty must complete the following:

  1. If applicable, confirm that your request abides by § 99.31(a)(6) of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. See references below.
  2. Obtain written approval from the immediate Director or supervisor of the Montclair State University internal unit that will be involved in the research. Some examples are:
    • if a particular academic department/school will be involved, the Department Chair/Dean should approve;
    • if an extramural club or group of students will be involved, the VP for Student Development & Campus Life should approve
    • If you require institutional data, the Director of the Office of Institutional Research should approve and provide an estimated delivery date based upon available resources
  3. Complete the “Request to Engage in Research with Montclair Participants” form, provide documentation that the research has been approved by the IRB at the external investigator’s home institution, and provide all IRB application materials from that approval process to the Compliance Officer.

The Compliance Officer will forward the request to the Designated Institutional official who is authorized to grant final approval.  A letter will be sent to the investigator once permission has been granted.  This procedure constitutes an administrative review, not an IRB review.   Responsibility for IRB review lies with the researcher’s home institution; however, the Provost or Designated Officials reserve the right to reject or terminate such activities from being conducted with Montclair participants.


Current Listed Designated Officials:
Karen Pennington, PhD
Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life, Student Development and Campus Life, Student Center and Annex 403

Willard Gingerich, PhD
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Academic Affairs


For More Information Contact:

Research Compliance Officer
Hila Berger, MPH
973-655-7781

Reference Policies:
Montclair State University Family Education and Rights Privacy Act

Excerpt of use of student records for research purposes:
§ 99.31(a)(6) of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act permit the disclosure of education records for the purpose of research only under the following circumstances:

  • The school must have a need for the information that will be gained from the research.
  • The school must agree with the purpose of the study and retain control over the information from the education records it discloses.
  • The school does not have to initiate the research request or agree with or endorse the conclusions or results of the study. 
  • The school must have a written agreement with the receiving organization that:

-  Specifies the purpose, scope and duration of the study or studies and the information to be disclosed.
-  Requires the organization to use the information from education records only to meet the purpose or purposes of the study stated in the agreement;
-  Requires the organization to conduct the study in a manner that does not permit personal identification of parents and students by anyone other than representatives of the organization with legitimate interests;
-  Requires organization to destroy or return all personally identifiable information when no longer needed for purposes of the study; and
-  Specifies the time period in which the information must be returned or destroyed.

New Jersey Open Public Records Act ("OPRA"), NJSA 47:1A-