Accessing Student Data for Research Projects

Prior to undertaking an independent research project, students need to be aware that

- in compliance with FERPA and other State and Federal privacy statutes and policies, Middlebury College will not disclose personally identifiable information (e.g., including, but not limited to: GPA (overall, major, high school), health or financial aid information, admissions test scores) from a student's record to another student.

Students who are interested in pursuing data related to student information for an academic (independent study and/or mentored research) project must:

  • be enrolled in a credit bearing course (e.g., independent study) or a research project with an identified supervising faculty member
  • submit his/her/their request for information to the Dean of Students (DoS)
  • submit a letter of support from the faculty mentor
  • submit a timeline for research completion

The request should also include the following: Research question and hypotheses/predictions Clear articulation of the variables of interest

Clear articulation of how the information will be used and disseminated

The request must be submitted at least a month before the start date of the semester in which the student plans to undertake the project.

Following receipt of the request, the DoS will consult with the Director of Assessment & IR (AIR) and other relevant administrators (e.g., Director of Athletics, Executive Director of Parton Center for Health and Wellness, Chief Diversity Officer) about the request and make an initial determination whether the request should be considered.

The Director of AIR will also make a determination as to whether the requested data can be compiled within the student's proposed timeframe.

Based on the information provided, the DoS and Director of Assessment & IR will, in accordance with FERPA and HIPAA rules:

Identify whether and how the requested information can be shared (unit record or aggregated data). In cases where maintaining anonymity of a student is questionable, aggregate data will not be shared.

When sensitive information is being sought, the DoS and Director of AIR will share the information, as necessary, before it is released with the Senior Leadership Group or a subset of that group.

The DoS will respond to the student and supervising faculty member about the outcome of a request.

When a request for data is approved:

  • Student submits an IRB proposal to the committee and send of copy of the proposal to DoS
  • Upon IRB approval, the information will be made available in a timeframe that is feasible for Office of AIR and their workload

Upon completion of the project, student will submit copies of completed work (e.g., paper, presentation, etc.) to DoS.

Student(s) requests for information for reasons other than independent study and faculty mentored academic research projects will not reviewed.