Who Serves on the Institutional Review Board?

  • The Institutional Review Board members serve on a volunteer basis and are profiled below.

    The minimum composition of the board is established by institutional policy. The chair is a faculty member elected from within the board. The policy regarding board membership is described in the IRB Guidebook.

    Interim Chair

    Timothy Runge, PhD, NCSP (Pennsylvania State University), associate professor, Department of Educational and School Psychology. Dr. Runge teaches courses in behavioral interventions, assessment of student learning, and theories of learning applied to academic instruction. Additionally, he supervises interns, practicum students, and student clinicians working with children and families referred to IUP’s Child Study Center. Runge’s research interests include behavior support at the individual, classroom, and schoolwide level; literacy assessment and instruction; and curriculum-based assessment. Runge and fellow co-principal investigator Mark Staszkiewicz have conducted annual large-scale program evaluations of Pennsylvania’s School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports initiative since 2008. Results of his research have been presented at state and national conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. Runge serves on the Executive Board of the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania and is a member of the PA State Leadership Team for Positive Behavior Support. 


    Kristy Chunta, PhD, RN, ACNS, (West Virginia University), associate professor, Department of Nursing and Allied Health. Dr. Chunta is a licensed registered nurse (Pennsylvania) and holds certification as a clinical specialist in medical-surgical nursing. She earned her diploma in nursing from the Conemaugh School of Nursing; Bachelor of Science in Nursing and School Nurse Certification from the University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown; and Master of Science in Nursing with role preparation in education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Chunta teaches undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral courses. She is vice president of the board of trustees for the Lucas Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides support to families who have lost a newborn. Her research interests include recovery of open-heart surgery patients, transition to clinical practice, and simulation. Chunta is a reviewer for clinical, research, and nursing education-based journals, including the American Journal of Nursing, Heart & Lung, and Nurse Education Today. She can be reached via e-mail at kchunta@iup.edu or by phone at 724-357-2408.

    Hilliary Creely, JD, PhD, (Brown University), assistant dean for Research, School of Graduate Studies and Research. Dr. Creely received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in biology, (George Washington University), a JD and Certificate of Specialization in Law and Technology, (University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law), and a PhD in molecular biology (Brown University). Prior to joining IUP, Creely was an American Association for the Advancement of Science Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Institutes of Health. She was also a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Stem Cell Fellow in Law, a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to Germany, a Max-Planck-Institute Postdoctoral Research Fellow, and an NIH pre-doctoral institutional training grant funding recipient. Creely can be reached by e-mail at hcreely@iup.edu, or by phone at 724-357-2655.

    Sharon Deckert, PhD (University of Arizona), professor, Composition and TESOL, Department of English. Dr. Deckert has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications (University of Utah), a Master of Arts degree in Linguistics (University of Utah), and a PhD in Second Language Education Acquisition and Teaching, (University of Arizona). In addition to teaching English courses, she is a member of the Graduate Studies in Composition and TESOL. She has also served on the Graduate Student Travel Awards committee for the American Association for Applied Linguistics. Deckert is a member of the American Association for Applied Linguistics, International Association of Forensic Linguistics, and International Society for Language Studies. She can be reached via e-mail at Sharon.Deckert@iup.edu or by phone at 724-357-2261.

    Beatrice Fennimore, EdD (Teachers College, Columbia University), professor, Department of Professional Studies in Education. Dr. Fennimore is a former teacher certified in special education, elementary education, and early childhood education. Her scholarly interests include multicultural and anti-bias education, school and social policy, equity issues in public education, child advocacy, and multiple facets of the preparation of teachers for early childhood education, special education, and elementary education. Fennimore serves as a member of the advisory board of the Early Childhood Series of Teachers College Press and on the editorial board of the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education. She is also an annual meeting section chair for Division K (Teacher Education) of the American Educational Research Association, and has served as a reviewer for the Spencer Foundation. Fennimore has taught and chaired dissertations in the Curriculum and Instruction and Administration and Leadership doctoral programs of the Department of Professional Studies in Education, and is a frequent presenter at a variety of educational conferences. She can be reached at bzfennim@iup.edu.

    Paul Hawkins (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), Applied Research Lab director. Mr. Hawkins has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Crime, Law, and Justice (Pennsylvania State University) and a Master of Arts in Criminology (Indiana University of Pennsylvania). He is currently a criminology doctoral candidate (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) with an anticipated August 2017 graduation. As a doctoral candidate, Hawkins taught a variety of undergraduate courses for the Department of Criminology, including criminological research methods and race, ethnicity, social structure and crime. As a former IUP-ARL lab assistant, he provided research design and statistical analysis consulting services to students, faculty, and staff throughout the IUP community. His research interests include evaluating the effectiveness of criminal justice programs (e.g., drug market interventions, fugitive apprehension programs) and the application of stochastic modeling to legal decision-making. He may be contacted by e-mail at phawkins@iup.edu or by phone 724-357-3055.

    John Mills, PhD, ABPP (State University of New York at Buffalo), professor, Department of Psychology. Dr. Mills served as co-chair and chair of the IRB from 1989 to 2014. Mills is a licensed psychologist (Pennsylvania and Delaware) and holds the diplomate in Counseling Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology, the only post-doctoral credential recognized by the American Psychological Association for clinical achievement. He earned a BA with Distinction from the University of Delaware (1978) and an MEd in Counseling/Student Personnel Administration. He attended Purdue University for one year before transferring to SUNY–Buffalo. He earned an MS in Sport Science from IUP in 2003. In the Department of Psychology,  Mills teaches at the undergraduate and doctoral levels and serves on a number of committees within the psychology and the university community. He has also served on the Ethics Committee of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association and is a Fellow of PPA. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, Eastern Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science. His current scholarly interests include the structure of personality and emotion, interpersonal behavior, addictions, clinical supervision, health and sports behavior, and professional and ethical issues. He may be reached by e-mail at jamills@iup.edu or by phone at 724-357-4520.

    Melissa Nibert, social studies instructor, Indiana Area Senior High School. Ms. Nibert earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Social Studies Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania while also pursuing a secondary major in history and minors in geography and political science; she then earned a Master of Arts degree in History from the same university. She is certified to teach secondary social studies (grades seven through twelve), health (grades kindergarten through twelve), and English as a Second Language (grades kindergarten through twelve). Nibert has taught secondary-level courses in the areas of modern world and American history, world geography, civics and government, psychology, and genocide studies, and currently facilitates coursework for students enrolled in a variety of online social studies courses. In addition to teaching social studies, she also serves as the coursework coordinator for Indiana Area School District's secondary-level online program. Nibert can be reached via e-mail at mnibert@iasd.cc or by telephone at 724-463-8562.

    Melissa Swauger, PhD (University of Pittsburgh), associate professor, Sociology. Dr. Swauger has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology (IUP) and a Master of Arts in Social and Public Policy (Duquesne University). Swauger teaches courses that enhance awareness and understanding of diverse groups and cultures. She has served as a research associate for the Mid-Atlantic Research and Training Institute (MARTI) and the instructor of record for the MARTI Summer Institute. Her current scholarly interests include service learning, gender, race, and social class inequalities, feminist qualitative research methods, and ethical research with vulnerable populations. She can be reached by e-mail at mswauger@iup.edu or by phone at 724-357-0158.

    On Sabbatical

    Jennifer Roberts, PhD (University of Nebraska), professor, Department of Criminology. Dr. Roberts has served as the chair of the IRB since 2014 and was the expedited review coordinator before that. Within the Department of Criminology she teaches a variety of courses across the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her research interests include the study of violence and the use of the survey methodology with criminological samples. She may be contacted by e-mail at jroberts@iup.edu or by phone at 724-357-5610.