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Unit Head and Faculty Weekly Mailing 4-23-13


For Faculty

  1. How does FERPA affect letters of recommendations ? 
  2. Grade Reports will be distributed electronically before the actual deadline date


For Unit Heads

  1. Degree Cognate Changes
  2. Unit Head Meeting Cancellation
  3. Online Closed Class Permit Envisioned to Go University Wide
  4. CLAS Important Dates



1. How does FERPA affect letters of recommendation? (attachment-electronic form)


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.

University counsel has updated the FERPA Release for Reference Request in an effort to reduce the need for constant form submissions by students. Specifically, a single form can be completed  for several instances of recommendations for that student. Attached is the updated electronic form for student's use. 

Please take special note of the statement at the bottom of this form that outlines the need for recommenders to keep an electronic file of the form and associated letters.   For security, we recommend that the statement and recommendations should be stored on the N or L drives rather than on laptops or unencrypted USB sticks.

We plan to work with Institutional Marketing over the summer to create a web-based process designed to streamline these requests.


2. Grade Reports will be distributed electronically before the actual deadline date


Grade reports will be distributed electronically before the actual deadline date in an effort to ensure that all grades are entered in Banner by faculty by the deadline. Please be sure that all faculty are aware of these important dates/times and how the Banner grading process works.

Grading will open at 8:00 am on Monday, April 22, 2013.

Grades are due before 12:00 noon on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.  
  A last date of academic activity is required for students receiving a grade of 'F' or 'NC'.  ('NC' is a no-credit grade for a course graded credit/no credit).  


3. Degree Cognate Changes - Mary


Recently, the faculty senate approved language for the handbook that will place the courses used in the BA or BS cognates within each major program and eliminate that current "category" of degree cognates. You should see these changes in the 2013-14 catalog copy. This also means that degree cognate substitution approval process of gaining the Dean's Office approval will end effective Spring/Summer 2013. Units' catalog copy will now have those courses placed within the major programs and will also see, in some cases, an increase in the number of total courses within the major depending on how degree cognates were placed within the major curriculum.


4. Unit Head Meeting Cancellation


The CLAS Unit Head Meeting on Wednesday, May 1st has been cancelled.


5. Online Closed Class Permit Envisioned to Go University Wide


Unit Heads will recall that at the most recent Unit Heads meeting Bob Hendersen described the online closed class permit form being used by his department.  In a conversation with Dave Poortvliet (GVSU web team) this week, I learned that discussions are already underway to make this a university-wide system, preferably integrated with Banner.  That means you should go ahead and have a look at the great one that Psychology built with the web team (, but there is no need to contact the web team about adapting one for you-they are already working on one system for everyone.



6. CLAS Important Dates



Important Dates Event Location
Apr. 22-26 Final Exam Week Final exam schedule
Apr. 27 Commencement 3:00pm; Commencement
April 29 Final Spring Enrollment Check   Apr. 30 Final Grades due before noon  
May 1 Unit Head Meeting - CANCELLED  
May 1 Search/Position Requests for 2013-14 due
May 2 Traverse City Commencement 6:00pm; Traverse City Commencement
May 6 Classes begin 1st 6 weeks and 12 weeks   May 27 Memorial Day Recess - office closed   June 17 Classes End 1st 6 weeks   June 18-19 Final Exams   June 24 Grades due 1st 6 week classes before noon Banner and Blackboard close at this time   June 24 Classes begin 2nd 6 weeks   July 4 Independence Day Recess - offices closed   Aug.2 Classes end 2nd 6 weeks and 12 weeks   Aug. 5-6 Final Exams   Aug. 12 Grades due 2nd 6 weeks and 12 weeks before noon Banner and Blackboard close at this time   Aug. 14 & 15 New Faculty Orientation   Aug. 20 Unit Head Retreat TBA Aug. 21 FTLC Conference TBA Aug. 22 CLAS Faculty and Staff Meeting TBA Aug. 23 Convocation TBA Aug. 26 Fall 2013 Classes Begin