Legal & Compliance Issues

As an instructor there are a variety of issues you need to be aware of when working with students and their academic information. This section supplies information on policies and procedures every instructor on campus should be aware of and be in compliance with. 




Academic Integrity

This video from the Provost's Conversations with Colleagues series is a discussion on cheating and academic integrity. Panelists include Dr. Stacy Duffield, OTL director; Dr. Jeff Boyer, director of assessment and accreditation; Sharley Kurtz, LAIC assistant manager; and Dr. Michael Kessler, dean of the College of Engineering. The original discussion date was March 26, 2021.

View the Video >>



Accessibility Information for College Instructors

Whether you teach online or in a traditional college classroom, chances are high that you will encounter students with disabilities who require accommodations. What are your responsibilities in providing the accommodations? How do you facilitate them? 

Here you will find information about NDSU policies and also an instructor handbook for a proactive approach to preparing and delivering course curriculum, information, and materials in a classroom designed for univeral learning.

The NDSU Resources page offers a list of topics the Disability Services office can assist you with.




Copyright & Fair Use

The following links to online resources provides guidance about using copyright materials in your course. The NDSU Library provides comprehensive information on Copyright and Fair Use.

Creative Commons

  • From their website: Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved." We're a nonprofit organization. Everything we do - including the software we create - is free. Creative Commons also provides a library of materials that are available for free use by educators for educational endeavors.

Stanford University's Fair Use & Copyright Site

  • This site provides in-depth resources on all aspects of copyright and fair use as related to education. You will also find current cases, opinions, and legislation regarding copyright laws.




Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

As a faculty or staff member, you have a legal responsibility under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to protect the confidentiality of student educational records in your possession. You have access to student information only for legitimate use in the completion of your responsibilities as a university employee. Need to know is the basic principle.

Your access to student information, including directory information, is based on your faculty or staff role within the university. You may not release lists or files with student information to any third party outside your college or department. Student educational records (other than directory information) are considered confidential and may not be released without written consent of the student. Student information stored in electronic format must be secure and available only to those entitled to access that information. 

FERPA , also known as the Buckley Amendment, was passed by Congress in 1974. It grants four specific rights to a postsecondary student:

  • to see the information that the institution is keeping on the student.
  • to seek amendment to those records and in certain cases append a statement to the record.
  • to consent to disclosure of his/her records.
  • to file a complaint with the FERPA Office in Washington.

FERPA applies to all educational agencies or institutions, including North Dakota State University, that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education. FERPA governs what may be released but does not require that any information be released.

If you’re in doubt about a request for student information, contact the Office of Registration and Records at 701-231-7981.

View more information about the FERPA Law at NDSU. 

View NDSU's FERPA informational brochure  |  Audio(MP3)




Records Retention & Your Course

Following the records retention efforts at NDSU ensures that your course is in compliance with state mandates regarding the length of time you should keep records and proper disposal of records when it is time to get rid of them. 

Information about NDSU’s records management program is available on the Records Retention website but here is an overview of what you need to know about managing the records for your courses. If you have questions about any of the records retention information, please contact the Office of Records Retention.


Record Series Commonly Used by NDSU Faculty

020204: Course Lecture Notes/ Handouts/ Master Copy of Exams
This record series contains faculty lecture notes, handouts, master copy of exams, and miscellaneous instructional materials.

  • The Office of Record Retention normally is the course instructor (Faculty Member), who must keep the record until updated.
  • The Disposal Method is Recycling.
  • Records are not confidential.

020410: student course work
This record series contains records of the exams, homework, papers, and projects completed by students that the instructor does not return to the student after grading or review. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, internship summaries, term papers, homework, quizzes, tests, and minor projects. 

  • The Office of Record Retention (Faculty Member) must keep the record for one year after the current fiscal year.
  • The Disposal Method is Shredding.
  • Records are confidential per FERPA (20 USC 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99).

020601: Grade Book (Class Record)
This record series contains a record of grades, kept by the professor, received by each student in an academic course. This includes both electronic and paper varieties.

  • The Office of Record Retention (Faculty Member) must keep the record for five years after the current fiscal year.
  • The Disposal Method is Shredding.
  • Records are confidential per FERPA (20 USC 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99).

601301: Grievances
This record series contains information relating to the filing of grievances and records of all proceedings in the settlement of disputes on the campus of faculty, staff, and students. Internal memos, notes, research, and duplicate copies may also be a part of the record series, but shall be shred when the file is closed.

  • Active status ceases with the resolution of the grievance.
  • The Office of Record Retention normally is the final reviewing authority and must keep the record while active plus six years.
  • The Disposal Method is Shredding.
  • The records are confidential. Student information is confidential per K168 Legal value per NDCC 28-01- 16(1).



Returning Assignments: What you need to know

The process of returning to students their quizzes and homework assignments must protect the students' privacy. Leaving such documents in areas that are accessible to those who do not have the right to see that information is a potential violation of the Family Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA states that documents containing student names, student ID numbers, grades or other personally identifying information, are considered confidential and protected and must be treated as such.

Additional FERPA questions may be directed to Phillip Hunt J.D., registrar.


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