IR-4 Education and Training Committee

The purpose of the IR-4 Education and Training Committee is to coordinate information exchange, develop materials to aid in training necessary for the generation of data to support the registration of pest management technologies, and organize the National Education Conference (NEC) every three years.

Committee Composition

The E&TC consists of members who represent the following areas of the IR-4 Project:

  • Headquarters (HQ) Management or Study Director, Chair
  • Regional Field Coordinators
  • Regional Laboratory Coordinators
  • Quality Assurance Unit
  • Study Directors
  • HQ Management (if the chair is an HQ study director)
  • Project Management Committee
  • Field Research Directors (five representatives, one each from the four state regions and one from USDA/ARS).
  • At large members: Maximum of three, to be filled by representatives who have an interest in serving on the E&TC, in the event that there is already a representative for that particular component or the IR-4 Project component is not represented

When selecting committee members, the following criteria are to be considered:

    1. Distribution of members:
      • Geographic representation of IR-4
      • Time with IR-4
      • Job responsibilities
    2. An interest in training – willingness to participate in E&TC meetings and in planning and presenting training programs
    3. Experience as educators.

The size of the E&TC ranges from 11 to 15 people, consisting of one representative per component as listed above and a maximum of three at-large members. If the chair is a member of HQ management, it is unlikely that an additional member of HQ management will be on the committee.

Membership and Committee Rotation

Members who volunteer to be on the E&TC are approved by the IR-4 Project Management Committee (PMC). Members volunteer for a three-year term and may volunteer for more than one term. With each rotation, a maximum of half of the E&TC members may volunteer to rotate off the committee. If more than half of the E&TC members volunteer to leave at a given time, a minimum of one-half of the membership will be requested to remain on the E&TC for another three years in order to provide continuity and an experience for planning the next NEC. Rotation of E&TC members will ideally occur in the nine months after an NEC. Rotation is not suggested in the year preceding an NEC.

It is essential that E&TC members be committed to the objectives of the committee and willing to dedicate the time to serve. When there is a representative who is not participating, the E&TC chair or HQ management representative will contact the individual, and ascertain whether the individual wants to remain on the committee. If the individual no longer wishes to serve, efforts will be made to find a volunteer to replace the representative.

It is hoped that there will be a willing volunteer to cover each of the IR-4 components listed above. However, if that isn’t the case, then the E&TC will see that input is received from that particular component, as it is vital to have willing, motivated people on the E&TC. No one should be appointed just to fill a slot.


The E&TC will provide oversight for technical and GLP training matters. Specific responsibilities include providing general curriculum guidelines for training, assisting in the development of educational materials and serving as spokespersons for their respective components.

The committee should meet, at a minimum, twice a year, either in person or via teleconference.

Training and Networking

There will be a national training session every three years (NEC). The exchange of information and networking at the national level is recognized as a valuable contribution to the IR-4 Project. As training is a continual process, during the years when there is no national training session, one or more regions are expected to host regional training sessions. Regional training sessions may be organized by one region, or as a cooperative effort involving more than one region. Regional training sessions will focus on regional personnel and new hires, but will be opened to researchers from all the other regions and USDA/ARS, especially for those new to the program.

Other training should be available as appropriate. Training of laboratory and QA personnel will be conducted on an as needed/requested bases. E&TC members may be called upon to serve as resources for development of regional training sessions. The E&TC is also responsible for gathering, preparing, and disseminating educational materials, such as sample completed Field Data Books, the “IR-4 Field Data Book (FDB) Guidance Document” and other instructional aids.

IR-4 Advisories

The purpose of IR-4 Advisories is to serve as a tool to communicate resolution of questions/issues raised by anyone in the IR-4 Project, for which the resolution could be valuable for many within IR-4. The E&TC Chair serves as the “gatekeeper” during the Advisory review process. The approved procedure is as follows:

  1. Issues/questions from anyone in IR-4 are directed to the chairperson of the E&TC who evaluates/determines (with others as needed) whether formulating an IR-4 Advisory is the most appropriate means to communicate a resolution, and then drafts an Advisory (may be delegated, as needed to the requestor, or those most familiar with the topic).
  2. The draft advisory is sent to members of the E&TC for a two-week review/comment period. The E&TC chair or advisory author incorporates revisions and distributes the revised draft Advisory to Regional Field Coordinators, Study Directors, Quality Assurance, Lab Research Directors, E&TC members, etc., for another two-week review/comment period.
  3. New suggested revisions are incorporated and the Advisory is distributed for a final two-week review/comment period by the IR-4 PMC. If at any time during this approximate six-week review/comment process there is significant negative feedback on the draft Advisory, the E&TC Chair will organize a meeting with the group of persons most pertinent for resolving the concerns about the Advisory, and will determine, by consensus of the group, if the draft Advisory should continue through the review process, what changes are needed in the document, or if the draft should be terminated.
  4. Upon favorable review by PMC, the Advisory is “published” and becomes part of IR-4 policy. The IR-4 Advisories are posted on the IR-4 website and distributed electronically to PMC members, Study Directors, Regional Field Coordinators, Lab Research Directors, Field Research Directors, QA, etc. – throughout the whole IR-4 system.

Date posted: August 8, 2019 Updated: July 2020

Current Members (As of March 2022)

Christina Dineen, Chemist and Study Director, IR-4 Headquarters (Chair)
Liwei Gu, Regional Field Director, University of Florida
Dan Heider, Field Research Director, University of Wisconsin
Leona Horst, Field Research Director, USDA-ARS
Megan James Hickman, Assistant Regional Field Coordinator, University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Johanna Mazlo, National Quality Assurance Unit Manager, IR-4 Headquarters
Alex McFall, Western Region Analytical Lab, University of California Davis
Philip Moore, Study Director, IR-4 Headquarters
Scott Muir, Quality Assurance Auditor, IR-4 Headquarters
Faradeh Rehfield, USDA-ARS
Chanz Robbins, Field Research Director, New Mexico State University
Wilfredo Robles Vazquez, Field Research Director, University of Puerto Rico
Kristen Searer-Jones, Assistant Regional Field Coordinator, University of Florida
Nicole Soldan, Regional Field Coordinator, Michigan State University
Mika Tolson, Assistant Regional Field Coordinator, University of California Davis