Good Afternoon: Several weeks ago the College of Agricultural Sciences hosted a workshop “FERPA Outside the Classroom”. The workshop PowerPoint, video, and some templates are now available at the website below. We will be adding some additional materials and important links for faculty and staff in the upcoming weeks. As we heard during the workshop there are many issues surrounding FERPA and letters of recommendation, reference calls, etc. I will be vetting an official process for the College in a few weeks. Until that time we recommend the following actions:
1. When asked to write a letter of recommendation, please get the student’s specific permission to address all or certain aspects of their academic performance (see Example 3). If done by email the email must come from their onid account. Remember that there is no such thing as implied consent, even with letters of recommendation.
2. Departments can consider collecting a general consent form from students. We suggest using a form which includes the College of Agricultural Sciences, rather than just the department. The upcoming process will consider whether to require College level consent , collected and archived at the department level. Remember that these must be renewed each year.
3. Have a conversation with students about the consent form and what it means. Again, we will consider a College wide effort to inform students and/or at the department level.
4. Recall, even after graduation a letter of recommendation requires a release for use of academic performance information.

Finally, any input on how the College should approach FERPA consent agreements is welcome. Please email me with your thoughts.

Penelope L. Diebel
Assistant Dean of Academic Programs
College of Agricultural Sciences

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