Reference Letters

UOTeach works throughout the year to help give students the context, field experience, career coaching, and job placement support they need to be successful teachers. As supervisors, you and their cooperating teachers, serve as the primary sources of reference for students in their job search process. We encourage you to be proactive in your communications and observations so you can speak to each student’s academic training, goals, and strengths in the classroom. If you have any concerns regarding a students performance, consult the placement coordinator immediately.

During the hiring season often district staff and administrators will contact you requesting information regarding UOTeach students they are considering for positions. UO faculty and supervisors, you may be asked about recommending specific UOTeach candidates through either an informal or formal channel by a school district partner. Here is a breakdown of the basic expectation for your response as UO faculty sharing educational performance information about a student and the FERPA ethical and legal expectations we have as an education program.

As faculty we are happy to share job posting possibilities with qualified students.  We have a location for posting openings (email them to Amy).  Via that process we share job postings, contact information for a district, and any additional details shared by the employer.  We can also send targeted emails to students within specific endorsement areas with this information.

However, we cannot legally or ethically share UOTeach student names, contact information or informal/formal performance reviews or recommendations based on our institutional relationships with students.

There will be more and more requests from district people for the names of students or for performance reviews about students with specific endorsements for jobs.   This is something we do not share as a program or as individual university employees.

To review:

  1. UOTeach staff post district job openings / postings (done via Amy Harter)
  2. UOTeach staff can email those job postings to the specific students within endorsement groups (done via Amy Harter)
  3. UOTeach staff can write individual letters of recommendation for students they have instructed or supervised  (Every student who successfully completes the program gets a formal letter of recommendation from me as the program director.)
  4. UOTeach staff cannot talk about any specific UOTeach student with anyone outside the UO instructional staff without the student’s explicit request and consent (preferably in writing).
  5. If you are asked about the past, current or potential performance of a student who has not requested a recommendation from you, you are not to provide anyone outside of the UOTeach faculty an evaluation of that student’s performance.  You can simply share our FERPA restrictions with the district person and let them know recommendation requests must come to us through students.

If you have additional question or wish to review the FERPA guidelines for UO please see the UO policy below or follow this link.

UO Policy for Recommendations from Faculty or Staff

Students who request written or verbal references or recommendations from University of Oregon faculty or staff members need to do so in writing. Such letters or statements are most effective if they contain specific information about your academic or work performance; this type of information is considered “non-directory” information and cannot be released without the signed written consent of the student, according to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the University of Oregon Student Records Policy.

The Office of the Registrar has composed a FERPA-compliant authorization to release form that may be used when requesting references/recommendations. The completed and signed Student Reference Request Form may be mailed, faxed, or sent as a PDF to the faculty or staff member from whom you are requesting the reference/recommendation.

Your request should contain the following:

  • What information is to be released (be as specific as possible)
  • To whom the information is to be released (name, address)
  • The purpose of the release of the information (application for a specific job or admission to a graduate program, for example)
  • Your signature and date

Be sure to check in with students so you know where, when, and what format is needed for each reference letter.

The UOTeach program has all UOTeach admitted students complete the attached Student Records (FERPA) release form during their orientation. This form covers UOTeach faculty & supervisor communications with district placements and letters of reference.

Job Search Timeline 
In preparation for the start of the educator job fair season,

January – February: UOTeach holds career planning workshops within the EDST seminar

March: COE Educator job fair