FERPA for Faculty & Staff
Faculty/Staff Employee Responsibility Agreements
Please review and complete in the following order:
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Video
- Golden Rules of Phone and Email Usage
- Employee Policies (Code of Ethics, Computer Policy, Education Records)
- Online Tutorial and Quiz (web-based agreement form available upon completion)
Do not display student scores or grades in a public place or associate grades with names, Social Security numbers, Whitworth I.D. numbers, or any other personal identifiers. This applies to paper, computer and verbal recording of grades.
Returning Graded Papers and Assignments
Do not place graded papers/exams in publicly accessible places where anyone but the student may be able to see or access the information. Distributing graded work in a manner that exposes the student's identity or otherwise displays personally identifiable information is a violation of FERPA, regardless of the medium used.
Access to Student Records
Faculty and staff members are considered school officials, as defined by FERPA. Faculty members are given access to class and grade rosters as well as to current advisee information. Beyond this, faculty members must demonstrate a legitimate educational interest in order to receive additional student-record access.
When Parents Request Information
Parents will sometimes contact instructors, advisors, or other staff members to find out how their student is doing in school. Remember, you are not allowed to discuss anything beyond directory information with the parent unless the student has given permission for the university to discuss non-directory information or the student is a dependent according to tax code and a copy of the parent tax return is on file in the financial aid office.
To see if a student has provided Whitworth with a release, please go to the FERPA Release tab on the registrar's office webpage. Enter the ID number or name of the student. If no name is returned, then that student has not given permission. If the name does show up, ask for the "password" listed and if the parent is able to correctly provide it, you may speak with him or her regarding non-directory information. Contact the registrar's office if you still have questions about talking with a parent.
Obligation to Release Directory Information
FERPA states that an institution may release directory information. We are not, however, required to do so. If you encounter a situation in which you are uncomfortable providing information, do not do so. If the requesting party is insistent, contact the registrar's office.
Recommendation and Reference Letters
Do not include any non-directory information in a recommendation or reference letter unless you are specifically authorized to do so by the requesting student. Students must request the release of this information in writing or via our password-protected Student Recommendation Release Form, available on the Internet. If a student submits the online form, you will receive an e-mail advising you that the student has given you permission to release any and all academic information at your disposal.
Student employees of the university are under the same obligation to uphold FERPA rights and regulations as faculty and staff. This obligation is not limited to paid student workers; it also includes students who have access to non-directory information as part of their duties, such as teaching assistants, lab assistants, etc.
Health or Safety Emergencies
If non-directory information is required during an emergency, Whitworth University may release that information if it is deemed necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.