Many students at the University of Minnesota, Crookston will ask faculty members to be references during their job search process. It is important for faculty to be knowledgeable of legal implications of serving as a reference for a student. For those unfamiliar with these legal issues, the tips and web sites below offer some guidance.
Tips for References:
- You are not obligated to serve as a reference for a student -- if you do not feel comfortable doing so, be direct with the student and tell them no
- If contacted by an employer to give a reference, only do so if you have written permission from a student (i.e. signed application form, signed letter from student)
- Information that you share should be based on fact and your experience with the student
- Do not share personal information that is basis for discrimination even if you believe it might benefit the student (such as marital status, race, religion)
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has extensive articles and guidelines to help faculty and staff understand the comprehensive legal issues involved when serving as a reference. These articles are linked below for your convenience.
Suggested Guidelines for Reference Givers
Writing a Reference Letter (Discussion of Legal Issues)
Sample Faculty Reference Letter
Student Consent Form (For reference writers)