Records Management

Records ManagementThe Records Management program provides information and instruction relating to the management of records held in the University's academic and administrative offices. ‌

University Records Management Guidelines

Proper Records Management is the responsibility of all administrative offices and academic departments at the University of St. Thomas. To this end, the Vice President for Business Affairs and the University Archivist, through the University Archives Committee, are mandated by the President to provide guidance in the implementation of a university records retention and disposition plan. The University Archives Committee is responsible for:

  1. developing and implementing a records management policy statement for the University.
  2. developing and implementing a model records retention schedule for the University.
  3. developing and maintaining a vital records protection program for the University.
  4. insuring the regular and orderly transfer of appropriate inactive records to the University Archives and other approved records storage sites.
  5. planning and implementing long-range goals for the University concerning proper records storage and retrieval.
  6. providing ongoing assistance to all University administrative offices and academic departments in matters relating to records management, including identification of microform and other miniaturized imaging systems that might prove useful in records storage.

Each department or office head on campus, in cooperation with the University Archives Committee, shall promote sound records management practices, by:

  1. cooperating in the prompt completion of periodic mail or site surveys of office records administered by the University Archivist.
  2. assisting in the development of records retention and disposition schedules for records created in, and housed by, their office or department.
  3. assisting in the development and implementation of a pragmatic vital records protection program for all permanent and essential records of their office or department.
  4. consulting the University Archives Committee before purchasing microform or other miniaturized imaging systems.
  5. developing and maintaining, with the assistance of the University Archives Committee, filing systems that assure the efficient use and retrieval of records.

University Records are defined as any papers, maps, photographs, blueprints, books, periodicals, original microforms, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristic, made, produced, executed, or received by any academic or administrative staff member in connection with the transaction of University business. 
University Records are defined, by rate of use, as follows:

  1. Active records. Records consulted, on average, twice per year or more.
  2. Inactive records. Records consulted, on average, once per year or less.

The following materials are NOT considered University records: 

  1. third or additional copies of documents preserved for convenience or reference;
  2. stocks of printed or reproduced documents beyond two copies;
  3. books, periodicals, newspapers or other research materials housed in the University library (excluding University Archives materials housed in the Department of Special Collections);
  4. personal papers or curriculum-based research materials of faculty members, and private materials made or received by University staff members in connection with non-University business.

All University records are scheduled for retention and disposition through the University Archives Committee, which will determine the legal, fiscal, and historical value of University records as summarized in the attached "Model University Records Retention Schedule." Questions concerning the retention or disposition status of University records are to be referred to the University Archivist, who will assist offices and departments in the development of records schedules.

Inactive records (see definition above) must be maintained in offices or departments until scheduled for destruction or transfer to the University Archives or another approved site (see "Model University Retention Schedule" below). Inactive records should be maintained in a secure location by the office or department of origin until retired to the University Archives or destroyed, per the attached "Model University Records Retention Schedule."
Records to be destroyed can be disposed of in one of three ways. They can be: 

  1. discarded by the department or office of origin as regular waste,
  2. retrieved and discarded by the University Recycling Center, or
  3. discarded by the office or department of origin in University Recycling containers on campus.

Confidential or sensitive records must be shredded or otherwise destroyed in such a manner that reconstruction of the records involved is impossible. Examples of confidential or sensitive records include certain student, personnel, health, counseling, and payroll files. It is the responsibility of the office or department of origin to determine which of their records are of a confidential or sensitive nature. Any questions in this regard should be referred to the University Archives Committee. 
All records retired to the University Archives should be transferred thereto by means of a "Records Transfer Request/Instruction form" (see attached). Records should be boxed and labeled prior to transfer.
Questions concerning the transfer of records should be referred to the University Archivist.

All University records designated by the University Archives Committee as vital or essential to the operation of the University--records which, if destroyed, would seriously impair or disrupt normal University operations, or place the university in legal or fiscal jeopardy--should be secured by the creation of at least one duplicate set of these records whenever possible.
Normally, at least one copy of each set of vital or essential University records should be housed in the University Archives, or at a site that the Archives office shall recommend. The Departments or Offices of origin of vital and essential records have the responsibility of keeping secure and complete sets of this material as a part of their regular office files. The following is a list of some vital or essential University records: student academic records, student admissions files, student loan notes, personnel records, University leases and contracts, land deed and easement files, medical and patient files, patents, engineering drawings of University buildings, construction specification files, psychological testing and counseling records, and accounting records.

All departments and offices of the University are encouraged to utilize microform, micro-imaging or digital technology, as necessary, for the storage of University records. From time-to-time, the University Archives Committee may designate an official microforms or micro-imaging agent for certain sets of University records. The Committee shall also be responsible for designating University standards for all micro-reproductions of University records. It shall be normal policy that at least one set of those records designated as vital or essential at the University shall be stored in micro-format.

The guidelines contained herein are recommendations based on recognized records management standards. Records produced by certain Departments and Offices on Campus may be regulated by unique legal requirements which would modify the retention guidelines summarized above. When in doubt concerning legal requirements, consult the office of the Vice President for Business Affairs or the University Attorney. 

This "Schedule" attempts to provide guidelines for retention of the most common kinds of records regularly produced at an institution of higher education, and a list of the departments or offices which typically house these records, with provision made for unique records-storage practices at St. Thomas, where known. This "Schedule" is not intended as exhaustive. If you have questions concerning the retention of particular records groups housed by your office, please contact the University Archivist. 

The University Archives Committee will review this schedule periodically and may add other records series, or modify retention periods or designations, as appropriate.
Definitions of Some Terms Employed Herein:

  1. ARCHIVAL: Records which have enduring historical, legal,administrative, or fiscal value to the University and which should be retired to the University Archives once the period of their immediate utility to the Office of Origin has expired.

  2. PERMANENT: Records which have an indefinite utility to the Office of Origin, often are fiscal or legal in nature, but which typically are not considered ARCHIVAL. These records series should be retained in-house by the Office of Origin and regularly "weeded" as portions of them become redundant.

  3. VITAL: Records the destruction of which would place the University in fiscal, legal, or administrative jeopardy, and which generally should exist in duplicate, with the security set housed in the University Archives or another approved secure site.

  4. WEED: Generally applied to ARCHIVAL records which, while they might have enduring value, are such that elements of the files in question regularly may be discarded after retirement to the University Archives.

1. Review files annually for files scheduled to be transferred to the University Archives or destroyed. You may request a copy of the Records Retention Schedule from the Archivist or refer to the electronic version on the Web.

2. For files to be transferred to inactive storage:

  • Call the Special Collections Department (2-5461) for boxes. (1 full file drawer = 2 boxes)
  • Place file folders in a box grouped by destruction date and / or record group.
  • DO NOT use hanging file folders. They do not fit the boxes and are an expensive way to store records. DO put records in labeled folders.
  • Keep folders upright with labels facing forward
  • If placing more than one record group in a box, place a marker sheet between the folders.
  • Label the outside of the box in PENCIL with: Office or Department Name, Record group title and date range, Alphabetical, numerical or chronological range of records, Numbers of boxes in sequence
  • Prepare a list by individual folder title or groups for each box. The list will be used in retrieving records as needed in the future. The office should keep a copy and a copy should be emailed  the Archivist when the materials are transferred.

3. Contact the Archivist (962 - 5461) regarding the pick-up and delivery of materials to the University Archives.

Records, whether in paper or electronic form, are created daily in campus offices and departments. The majority of these records are intended for the specific purposes of those offices and are needed for a short period of time.

Other records, such as files on grants or extended projects, may be used for longer periods. Among both types of records, some files will continue to have legal and historical value for documenting the activities of the University beyond their original purpose.

Types of records which are of permanent historical / archival value to the University include:

Primary papers of the President, Provost, Vice President’s and Dean’s offices.

These records include all statements of policy, reports, correspondence (other than routine thank-yous and acknowledgements), speeches, university committee minutes, publicity materials, business files and memoranda (including email as appropriate).

Records from administrative and academic offices.

Correspondence, annual reports, department meeting minutes, final grant reports, self-study reports, policy statements and planning documents, symposium or colloquium files, newsletters and publications.

Faculty Committee Meeting Minutes

Including minutes from special task forces and working groups.

College Publications

Catalogs, newspapers, yearbooks, literary magazines, newsletters, brochures, programs, posters.

Audio-Visual materials
Films, sound recordings, videotapes, and photographs produced by the University

Course syllabi

Faculty and Alumni publications

Student Organization Records

Minutes, publications, photographs