Skip to main content


Unit Head and Faculty Weekly Mailing 2-19-13

For Faculty

1. FERPA and Letters of Recommendation

2. Office of Community Engagement Event

3. Growing Connections Food Summit

4. Commencement Invitation, Saturday, April 27


For Unit Heads

5. Unit Head Meeting - time change

6 . CLAS Important Dates


For Faculty

1. FERPA and Letters of Recommendation

How does FERPA affect letters of recommendation? Writing a letter of recommendation may require express, written permission from the student to allow you 1) to access the student's educational records and 2) to disclose confidential information about the student to a third party. A faculty member may access a student's educational records without the student's express written permission only if specific job duties, such as the duties of an academic advisor, require access to those records. However, a faculty member, or any other appropriate University official, may not disclose confidential information from a student's educational records to a third party without express, written permission from the student. Click here for a form to be completed by a student requesting a letter of recommendation from a staff or faculty member.

Here is the link for students to submit the request for a letter to you.

2. Office of Community Engagement Event

You are invited to attend  SynergyWorks on the morning of Friday, March 22, sponsored by the Office for Community Engagement. SynergyWorks is a university-wide conversation on GVSU's engagement practices, strategies, and vision for the future. More importantly, it is an opportunity for you to design the next steps for an engaged GVSU. In individual interviews over the past few months, faculty have identified infrastructure and support systems that will build our engagement culture, including:

  • Recognizing engaged faculty, staff, and students
  • Professional development for engaged teaching, learning, and research
  • Developing sustainable cross-disciplinary community partnerships
  • Community voice and leadership
  • Student voice and leadership
  • Promotion and tenure policies that support engaged research and teaching
  • Measuring community impact of our engagement
  • Measuring outcomes of student engagement

Now we need your help and your participation to actively shape these topics in roundtable discussions on March 22. Please RSPV today to .


3. Growing Connections Food Summit-You Are Invited (Kelly Parker)

CLAS faculty are invited to participate in the Growing Connections Food Summit, a series of several meetings taking place this semester. The aim of Growing Connections is to identify priorities and build networks that will help move the region toward a more sustainable food system. One major component is to promote scholarship, teaching, and service initiatives for GVSU faculty. While the Summit will involve a number of people from across the university and the surrounding community, we expect these events will be of particular interest to many members of the CLAS faculty.

The main Growing Connections Food Summit will take place on May 7 at the Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids. GVSU and community representatives will meet to network and develop a vision to coordinate and advance sustainable food systems initiatives in the West Michigan region.

The GVSU Faculty and Staff planning session for the summit will take place on Friday, March 15, from 8:30-11:30 am in the Alumni House on the Allendale campus. We will follow a structured process in which working groups will form to brainstorm, network, and refine general issue areas related to the Summit topic (see the initial list, below). Together, we will identify the priority areas for further discussion and action. These priorities will guide selection of issues for further exploration and planning at the May 7 meeting. We also hope to identify facilitators who will help lead the broader May 7 working groups.

These two meetings provide a unique opportunity to meet colleagues and community members who are committed to promoting sustainability and local food systems in our region. The organizers have no specific agenda for the Summit; rather, we are providing a framework in which members of the GVSU and regional community can meet, brainstorm, and lay the foundations for significant research, teaching, service, and outreach projects of their own.

You may RSVP to the Faculty and Staff planning session (March 15, 8:30-11:30am, Alumni House) at the following link:


Initial Proposed Issue Areas for Working Group Focus:

Politics of food
Food access Education & training for agroecology Food, culture, and tourism, specifically on the West Side of Grand Rapids GVSU roles in the Downtown Market Food justice and democratic ownership Spirituality and food Health and nutrition related to food

For further information about the March 15 meeting, contact :

Kelly Parker at> or

Ruth Stegeman at>.


4. Commencement Invitation, Saturday, April 27

Two commencement ceremonies (10:00 am and 3:00 pm) will again be held this year on Saturday, April 27, 2013 in downtown Grand Rapids at the Van Andel Arena. The schedule for each college including the arrival time and the processional line-up time is listed below:


10:00 am Ceremony 3:00 pm Ceremony
(Robing at 9:30 am; Line-up at 9:45 am) (Robing at 2:30 pm; Line-up at 2:45 pm)
College of Community & Public Service College of Education Padnos College of Engineering & Computing Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies College of Health Professions College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Kirkhof College of Nursing   Seidman College of Business  

Faculty and AP staff planning to process in their college's commencement ceremony must complete the Faculty/AP Commencement RSVP Form at by Friday, April 12. If you do not have access to the web, please call the Dean of Students Office at 331-3585 to inform us if you are planning to process.  Complete information regarding the commencement ceremony including eligibility requirements for students is available on the commencement web site.

New faculty and AP staff requiring regalia should contact the University Bookstore at Ext. 1-2450 by Friday, March 29.  Regalia will be available for pick-up during the week of April 22 at the University Bookstore.

Additional guest tickets for general seating will be issued to participating faculty and staff members upon request.  More information including a parking pass and directional map will be forthcoming upon notification of your participation.

Free parking is available for participating faculty and staff on a first-come, first served basis in the city parking lot just south of the Van Andel Arena (Lots #3 or #5).  Faculty and staff should enter the arena at the southeast corner entrance.  Follow the signs to the upper level concourse to the robing area, which is located at the top of the Grand Stairway.

I encourage you to participate in this important day for our graduates and their families/friends.  Should you have any questions, please contact LeaAnn Tibbe in the Office of Student Life, Ext. 1-2345 or Sue Willemsen in the Dean of Students Office, Ext. 1-3585.

~H. Bart Merkle, Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students


For Unit Heads

5. Unit Head Meeting - time change

The CLAS Unit Head Meeting this week, Feb. 20th, will be 3:30pm - 5:00pm.


6. CLAS Important Dates


Important Dates Event Location
Feb. 20 Unit Head Meeting - time change 2215/2216 KC, 3:30-5:00pm
Feb. 21 COT Seminar - Staffing Plans from start to finish! RSVP to by Feb. 15 8:30am-9:30am; 2215/2216 KC
Feb. 21 Materials for W13 Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor due to Dean's Office (CLAS Personnel Committee) Heidi Nicholson Feb. 21 CLAS Faculty Research Colloquium 2:30-5:00pm; 308 PAD
Feb. 26 Banner Closes at noon for mid-term grading   Mar. 1 Materials for W13 Promotion to Associate Professor only due to Dean's Office (CLAS Personnel Committee) Heidi Nicholson Mar. 1 Research Clusters Grant proposals due
Mar. 1 CLAS Service Award Nomination Forms due to your Unit Head  
Mar. 3-10 Spring Break   Mar. 12 UH Summary of Peer Recommendations due   *Requesting earlier, if possible   Gary Stark Mar. 12 CLAS Election Ballot Closes  
Mar. 15 CLAS Service Award packets due from unit head to Dean's Office Tracy McLenithan
Mar. 15 S/S13 Staffing Plans due Cindy Laug Mar 15 AP Award Nominations due
Mar. 21 CLAS Faculty Research Colloquium 2:30-5:00pm; 308 PAD Mar. 25 Spring/Summer draft contract to UH B-4-232 MAK Mar. 26 Spring/Summer draft contracts to Dean's Office Cindy Laug Mar. 27 Unit Head Meeting 2215/2216 KC, 3:00-5:00pm Mar. 27 Inclusion Advocates Orientation (first step in the process of becoming an Inclusion Advocate) under Inclusion & Equity 9:00am - 11:00am; 230 BIK
Apr. 3 CLAS Sabbatical Showcase and Spring Celebration Showcase: 11:00 am-12:00 pm Spring Celebration (Awards, Dean's address, lunch): 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Showcase: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Apr. 10 18th Annual Student Scholarship Day   Apr. 16 Unit Head Meeting 2215/2216 KC; 3:00-5:00pm