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Supporting the Academic Mission

FERPA

The Basic Rules for Faculty/Staff

  • Student education records are considered confidential and may not be released without the written consent of the student.
  • As a faculty or staff member you have a responsibility to protect education records in your possession.
  • Some information is considered public (sometimes called "Directory Information"). Under the terms of FERPA, UC Merced has established these items as Directory Information, which may be released to those requesting it, unless the student specifically requests otherwise by completing a “nondisclosure form” with the Registrar.
  • You have access to information only for legitimate use in completion of your responsibilities as a university employee. "Need-to-know" is the basic principle.
  • If you are ever in doubt, do not release any information until you contact the Office of the Registrar at 209-228-7178 or registrar@ucmerced.edu. The Office of the Registrar is responsible for student record information.

Special "Don'ts" for Faculty

To avoid violating FERPA rules, do not at any time:

  • Post grades using any part of a student's ID number. If you want to post grades outside of your office, assign individual numbers to students at random. Only the student and the faculty member who assigned the number should know the number. The order of posting should never be alphabetic by student name.
  • Leave stacked graded papers for students to pick up — not even in sealed envelopes (unless you have the students' permission to do so). Instead, mail graded papers/exams via campus or U.S. mail in envelopes that students pre-address, pre-stamp and provide for you.
  • Circulate a printed class list for attendance purposes if it shows names and social security numbers or IDs.
  • Allow students to view, read, or record another student's social security number while in your work area.
  • Discuss student progress with anyone other than the student without the student's consent (this includes the student's parents and spouse).
  • Provide anyone with a student's schedule or help anyone other than university employees find a student on campus (Students First Center will assist).

Special "Do's" for Faculty/Staff

Make sure you protect all education records in your possession. This includes paper documents in your office such as computer printouts, class lists, display screen data and advising notes. These are practical tools that you need to do your job; however, they should be protected like you would protect a purse or wallet. You should not leave these items out in open areas, but store them out of sight, preferably in a locked cabinet or drawer when not in use.

FERPA and Recording Guidance 

More information about tools and strategies for faculty can be found here: it.ucmerced.edu/edcontinuity.

  • It is permissible under FERPA to record classes and share the recording of the virtual class to students who were unable to attend or for students to re-watch.
  • A recording of a whole class lesson is not generally considered an education record for a specific student and should not be maintained in a specific student’s records.
  • The recording should only be shared through a system that is accessible only to the class members, like CatCourses. To share the recording beyond class members, written permission must be obtained. 
  • The instructor must take care not to disclose personally identifiable information (“PII”) from student education records during a recorded lesson unless written permission from the student has been provided to do so.
  • Instructors should notify students that the class is being recorded and the purpose for the recording, such as "Our class sessions will all be recorded for students in the class to refer back and for enrolled students who are unable to attend live.

Additional Resources: