General Retention Schedule

The General Retention Schedule covers the retention period of broad types of records.

If you are looking for a specific record, first look in the Department Specific Retention Schedule. If you can’t find your record in either retention schedule, check the list of Records that do not need to be Retained.

The General Retention Schedule is organized by function and sub-functions.

Functions

Sub-Functions

Recruitment and Retention

Conferring Degrees and Awards

Curriculum and Instruction

Curriculum and Course Development

 

Instruction

 

Continuing Education and Outreach

Student Development

Student Associations and Activities

Administration

Administrative Activities

 

Marketing and Outreach

 

Financial Management

 

Personnel Management

 

Legal Counsel and Litigation

 

Institutional Reporting and Strategic Planning

 

Grants Management


Recruitment and Retention
              Conferring Degrees and Awards

Scholarship and Award Records

This series documents awards and scholarships presented by offices on campus. Records may include, but are not limited to: correspondence, applications, budget materials, notification letters, photographs, programs, etc.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Banner, Word, Excel), Photographic, Audio Visual

Retention: Permanent. Retain applications and budget materials for 1 year plus current. Retain all other materials permanently and transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: Materials in this series provide a comprehensive look at the history of the award and its recipients. Application materials and financial documents contain little historical value and have shorter retention. 

Examples include: Future Faculty Fellowship Award, Leadership Recognition Award, Alumni Award, etc. If your office had an award scheduled by itself previously, it would now fall under this disposition schedule.

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Curriculum and Instruction
         Curriculum and Course Development

Academic Program and Course Records

This series documents the administration of academic programs and courses. Records may include but are not limited to: various registration, enrollment, and graduation reports or summaries, correspondence, class schedules, and faculty credit load information.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, Excel, Shared Drives, etc.)

Retention: Permanent. Retain 2 years in office and then transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: These records document the creation, history, and administration of courses and programs on campus. These records have long term value and function as a historical record. In addition, these records may also be used in the future when reinstating or creating courses or programs.

This series conforms to FERPA statutes and regulations.

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New Course/Degree Program Proposal Records

This record series documents the development of new courses or degree programs by academic departments and colleges.  All course proposals are forwarded to the Committee on Undergraduate Programs (CUP) for review.  Records include, but are not limited to: correspondence, proposal drafts, working notes and papers, and the final CUP proposal.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, Excel, Shared Drive, etc.)

Retention: Retain as needed or until final approval of proposal.

Appraisal Rationale: A more complete record of this series resides in the Committee on Undergraduate Programs’ files. This schedule serves as a convenience copy of this university function.

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Program or Course Accreditation Records

This record series documents the process of accreditation for undergraduate and graduate academic programs and courses. Records include, but are not limited to: correspondence, proposals, approval documentation, appeal records, etc. 

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, Excel, Shared Drive, etc.)

Retention: Permanent. Retain in office until no longer needed and then transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: These records document the accreditation and history of courses and programs on campus. Files may be found in the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Office, but more complete records may be found in individual academic departments.

This series conforms to FERPA statutes and regulations

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Summer, Weekend, and Off-Campus Course Records

This series documents the administration of summer academic programs and courses, including weekend and off-campus classes. Records may include but are not limited to: various registration, enrollment, and graduation reports or summaries, correspondence, class schedules and rosters, room assignment information, and faculty credit load information.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, Excel, Shared Drive, etc.)

Retention: Retain 5 years following completion of course and then confidentially destroy provided no pending audit.

Appraisal Rationale: This series includes Continuing Education and Workforce Development’s Summer, Weekend, and Off-Campus Course Records (4000-10), Student Support Services Workshop Files (0410-07), and a previously scheduled general series.

These records have little to no continuing value beyond the immediate administrative use.

This series conforms to FERPA statutes and regulations.

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Curriculum and Instruction
         Instruction

Course Syllabi and Handouts

This record series documents course materials for all academic departments on campus. Records include, but are not limited to: syllabi, handouts, quizzes, and tests.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, Excel, Shared Drive, etc.)

Retention: Permanent. Retain 3 years after last activity and then transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: These records document the history of course development and study for academic departments. This series also serves as a historical record of trends in education and research.

The current AAUP Contract as well as The Higher Learning Commission Accreditation necessitate that syllabi be available for review for each course taught.

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Undergraduate Student Advising Records

This record series documents the advisee case file for all undergraduate students enrolled at NMU.  Records include, but are not limited to: student data sheet, academic requirement check-off forms, transcripts, grade reports, correspondence, meeting notes, form letters, registration card, transfer credit evaluations, course exceptions, and individual guided program plan sheets.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, Excel, Shared Drive, etc.)

Retention: Retain 3 years after file has been declared inactive and confidentially destroy.

Appraisal Rationale: This series serves as a convenience file for advisors in all academic departments. All permanent student records are on file with the Registrar’s Office.

This series conforms to FERPA statutes and regulations.

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Graduate Student Advising Records

This record series documents the advisee case file for all graduate students enrolled at NMU.  Records include, but are not limited to: student data sheet, academic requirement check-off forms, transcripts, grade reports, correspondence, meeting notes, form letters, registration card, transfer credit evaluations, course exceptions, and individual guided program plan sheets.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, Excel, Shared Drive, etc.)

Retention: Retain 5 years after completion of degree program and then confidentially destroy.

Appraisal Rationale: This series serves as a convenience file for advisors in all academic departments. All permanent student records are on file with the Registrar’s Office.

This series also contains records related to Teaching Assistants and any appropriate documentation.

This series conforms to FERPA statutes and regulations.

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Student Course Evaluations

This series documents students' evaluations of faculty and other teaching personnel. These records provide students' opinions on faculty members' familiarity with current literature of the discipline, preparation, assignments, examinations, lecture styles, willingness to engage in dialogue, and availability. Records include: bubble forms (input documents), course reaction inventory printouts, statistical tabulations, summary reports, and related documentation and correspondence.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Printouts)

Retention: Retain for non-tenured faculty 1 year; retain for tenured faculty 3 years.

Appraisal Rationale: These records are maintained in academic department offices and summaries of student ratings and student comments are part of the evaluation as described in the current AAUP Contract Article 5.4.

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Curriculum and Instruction
         Continuing Education and Outreach

American Heart Association and American Red Cross Certification Records

This series documents faculty, staff, and student certification in CPR, First Aid, AED, Lifeguarding, BLS, etc. Records could include, but are not limited to: correspondence, copy of certification card, verification records, etc.

Format: Paper, Electronic Files

Retention: Retain 3 years and then confidentially destroy or purge from the system.

Appraisal Rationale: Certification expires after 2 years. Records were found in Athletic Training and the School of Health and Human Performance, but could exist in other places as well.

These records function as not only a record of continuing education, but also as a record of certification in the event of litigation.

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Student Development
         Student Associations and Activities

American Heart Association and American Red Cross Certification Records

This series documents the creation, administration, and activity of student clubs on campus. Records could include, but are not limited to: correspondence, bylaws, meeting agendas, activity reports, financial records, member lists, and photographs.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, Excel)

Retention: Permanent. Transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: These records document the activities, leadership, and history of various student groups on campus. It is important to collect these records as a historical snapshot of student activism and activity throughout the history of the university.

Includes records from sororities/fraternities, ASNMU (previously 0404-05), departmental clubs, etc.

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Administration
         Administrative Activities

General Subject and Project File

Record series serves as the primary subject file for all administrative and academic departments. The series also documents actions that form the basis of policy decisions, procedural documents, or historical events. Records include, but are not limited to: correspondence, departmental by-laws and policies, records of academic programs affiliated with the department, project materials, records of units, centers, or laboratories affiliated with the department, etc.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, Excel, etc.)

Retention: Permanent. Retain in office 3 years plus current and transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: These records are of the utmost historical importance, because they may provide additional context for administrative decisions made by the university.

Includes all previously independently scheduled Subject and Correspondence Files for offices, departments, and programs on campus.

Includes Marketing’s previous series Project and Information File (0501-15).

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Boards, Commissions, and Committees Records

This record series documents official meetings of academic committees, commissions, task forces, academic departments, and other organizations related to academic and administrative programs and developments. Records include, but are not limited to: minutes, agendas, membership lists, correspondence, and supporting documentation.

Format: Paper, Electronic Files

Retention: Permanent. Retain 3 years in office and then transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: These records document the decision making process for important administrative bodies on campus. These meeting minutes and agendas serve as official records and aid in confirming policy and procedural changes and administrative directives.

Includes Board of Trustees records, CUP, Faculty Advisory Council records, Graduate Program Committee, etc.

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Administration
         Marketing and Outreach

Audio Visual Records

This series documents audio visual records from official University functions, activities, or programs.  Records include, but are not limited to: reel-to-reel tape recordings, audiocassette recordings, video tapes of various formats, and electronic files.

Format: Electronic Files (hard drive, flash drive), VHS tapes, CDs, film reels, etc.

Retention: Permanent. Retain in office 3 years and then transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: Audio visual materials created by the university have historical value in documenting cultural, environmental, educational, and administrative aspects of the university. Some of these materials may also include the community, the student body, and faculty/staff – this is also of historical importance.

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Photographic Records

Record series visually documents official University activities and events.  Records consist of photographs, slides, and negatives. This also includes all electronic records created through the use of University owned digital cameras, such as floppy disks and hard-drives. Records may include visuals used in publications and presentations.

Format: Photographs (including negatives), Electronic Files (hard drive, flash drive, memory cards, etc.), slides, etc.

Retention: Permanent.  Retain in office 3 years and transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: Photographic materials created by the university have historical value in documenting cultural, environmental, educational, and administrative aspects of the university. Some of these materials may also include the community, the student body, and faculty/staff – this is also of historical importance.

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University Publications

University created publications that include, but are not limited to: pamphlets, brochures, newsletters, magazines, guidebooks, bulletins, programs, yearbooks, announcements, electronic publications, one-time and serial publications for on-campus and off-campus audiences.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, PDF)

Retention: Permanent.  Retain in office 3 years and transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: Publications created by the university have historical value in documenting cultural, environmental, educational, and administrative aspects of the university. Some of these materials may also include the community, the student body, and faculty/staff – this is also of historical importance.

Includes Northern Magazine (Alumni Office publication).

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University Event Records

This series documents special events hosted by the university. Records could include, but are not limited to: correspondence, promotional materials, planning documents, audio visual materials, speeches, etc.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, Excel, etc.), Audio Visual, Photographic

Retention: Permanent. Transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: These records document a function of the university which was previously scattered or minimally recorded. Some events will be more historically important than others, but as a whole this is still an important area to document.

Includes homecoming files from the Alumni Office and Center for Student Enrichment, and the President Event file (previously 0200-06).

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Administration
         Financial Management

Accounts Receivable and Payable Records

This series documents fiscal records for in-house control and monitoring, and for which the original, auditable copies are retained by Financial Services. Records include, but are not limited to: purchase orders, invoices, receipts, biweekly payroll print offs, journal vouchers, billing records, etc.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Printouts)

Retention: Retain 7 years plus current and confidentially destroy.

Appraisal Rationale: These records are considered transactional with no historical value. Most, if not all, of the information contained in these records can be recreated using Banner.

NOTE: This series does not include University Purchasing Card records.

This series abides by Michigan’s Local Government Financial Records retention schedule (Series’ 108, 109, 110, 112).

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Funding Request Forms

This series documents funding requests (including travel) by faculty and staff to supervising departments and offices. Records include, but are not limited to: request form, correspondence, supplemental materials, financial materials, etc.

Format: Paper, Electronic Files

Retention: Retain 7 years and then confidentially destroy.

Appraisal Rationale: Travel and funding request records are all over the university, but are all handled differently.

These records are not of historical value, but may be important for faculty or staff evaluation/review.

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Administration
         Personnel Management

Faculty Personnel Records - Departmental/College Copy

This series documents the academic department head’s/college copy of faculty personnel records. Records include, but are not limited to: letters of commendation, correspondence, copy of curriculum vita, letters of reprimand, sabbatical leave request, approval and final report, copy of transcripts, travel reports, professional articles and papers, press releases, etc.

Format: Paper

Retention: Retain 4 years after employee separation and then confidentially destroy provided file is compared to Academic Affairs’ and Human Resources’ copies for any discrepancies.

Appraisal Rationale: These personnel records contain materials that are most likely not found in the official Human Resources’ file. After comparison and inclusion with Human Resources’ official file, college copies have no long-term continuing value.

Please see Human Resources’ Faculty Personnel File for the official permanent record.

This series meets the minimum requirements for record retention per Michigan’s Local Government Human Resources Retention schedule (Series’ 100a).

This series abides by Bullard-Plawecki and the Identity Theft Protection Act.

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Non-Faculty Personnel Records – Departmental Copy

This record series serves as a convenience copy of the official personnel file for all non-faculty employee groups maintained by Human Resources. Records include, but are not limited to: applications, resumes, evaluations/promotions, beneficiary and benefit information, transfers, salary information, disciplinary materials, exit interviews, letters of resignation, etc.

Format: Paper

Retention: Retain 4 years after employee separation and then confidentially destroy provided file is compared to Human Resources’ official copy.

Appraisal Rationale: These personnel records contain materials that are most likely not found in the official Human Resources’ file. After comparison and inclusion with Human Resources’ official file, departmental copies have no long-term continuing value.

Please see Human Resources’ Non-Faculty Personnel File for the official permanent record.

This series meets the minimum requirements for record retention per Michigan’s Local Government Human Resources Retention schedule (Series’ 100c).

This series abides by Bullard-Plawecki and the Identity Theft Protection Act.

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Personnel Recruitment File

This series tracks the application process for faculty, administrators, and professional staff. Records include, but are not limited to: search committee minutes and notes, screening forms, job descriptions, letters of application, resumes, applicant reference comments, various financial materials documenting recruiting expenses, affirmative action forms, personnel requisition form, vacancy of applicants, etc.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Printouts)

Retention: Retain 5 years after the date of hire and confidentially destroy provided there is no pending litigation.

Appraisal Rationale: The records of unsuccessful candidates are not necessary to keep and should be destroyed according to the schedule.

This series meets the minimum requirements for record retention per Michigan’s Local Government Human Resources Retention schedule (Series’ 120 & 121).

This series abides by Bullard-Plawecki and the Identity Theft Protection Act.

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Student Time Cards and Reports

This series documents the work history for students (including those on work-study) for all NMU units, offices, and departments.  Records include, but are not limited to: UltraTime print-offs and reports, correspondence, etc.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Banner)

Retention: Retain 5 years plus current and destroy provided there is no open audit.

Appraisal Rationale: Since this record is created and produced in Banner electronically, these printouts serve as a convenience copy for departments and offices.

This series conforms to AACRO’s Schedule H retention requirements for federal student financial aid.

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Evaluation, Promotion, and Tenure Records

This series documents the evaluation and tenure process as stipulated by the AAUP and NMUFA master agreements. Records include a variety of materials, including: committee review materials, supporting documentation, application for tenure, correspondence, etc.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, Excel, etc.)

Retention: Permanent. Retain 3 years after last date of activity and then transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: These records are maintained permanently as per the AAUP and NMUFA contracts and/or the Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act (M.C.L.A. 423.501 - 423.511).

This series abides by Bullard-Plawecki and the Identity Theft Protection Act.

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Union Records

Informational file for all non-faculty unions represented on campus. Records include, but are not limited to: seniority lists, salary information, copies of contracts, correspondence, and reports relating to the original organization of the unions, and contract negotiations.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, Excel, etc.)

Retention: Permanent. Retain until no longer needed and then transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: These records primarily exist in Human Resources, but were also found sporadically throughout campus. Union records are an important historical record of labor activity on campus and should be documented for posterity.

This series meets the minimum requirements for record retention per Michigan's Local Government Human Resources Retention Schedule (Series' 127).

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College Staffing Requests

This series documents the management of academic department staffing requests made to the dean. Records include, but are not limited to: correspondence, application materials, department position description (tenure track or term, salary), and rationale for the position.

Format: Paper, Electronic

Retention: Retain 10 years and then confidentially destroy.

Appraisal Rationale: These serve as transactional office records and hold no historical value. In addition, this information should end up in the official personnel file.

This series abides by Bullard-Plawecki and the Identity Theft Protection Act.

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Administration
         Legal Counsel and Litigation

Legal Representation Records

This series documents the University's relationship with legal counsel, including litigation, fee agreements, legal proceedings, and legal opinions. Records include, but are not limited to: financial records (check requests, fees), correspondence, reference material, reports, and opinions.

Format: Paper, Electronic

Retention: Permanent. Retain fees and billing records involving litigation for 7 years after conclusion of litigation.

Appraisal Rationale: Since the university no longer has a General Counsel’s office, academic and administrative offices may retain litigation materials.

The University’s external legal counsel may also maintain additional records related to specific litigation.

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Legal Advice Records

This series documents the management of requests for legal advice to outside counsel. Records include, but are not limited to: correspondence, memoranda, research notes, reference files, and opinion letters.

Format: Paper, Electronic

Retention: Retain until project or query is complete.

Appraisal Rationale: Since the university no longer has a General Counsel’s office, academic and administrative offices may retain legal advice records from the University’s external legal counsel.

The University’s external legal counsel may also maintain additional records related to legal advice.

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Subpoena Records

This record series documents the University's response to third party subpoenas. Records include, but are not limited to: the subpoena, requests, notes, correspondence, and copies of all pleadings.

Format: Paper, Electronic Files

Retention: Retain 7 years after close of case and confidentially destroy.

Appraisal Rationale: Since the university no longer has a General Counsel’s office, academic and administrative offices may retain subpoena records.

The University’s external legal counsel may also maintain additional subpoena records. This series may eventually end up as part of the Litigation File.

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Litigation Files

This series documents any litigation to which the university or an employee of the university is a party. Records include, but are not limited to: depositions, transcripts, decisions, correspondence, data, exhibits, research materials, reports, press releases, media clippings, etc. Records are active until case is closed.

Format: Paper, Electronic Files

Retention: Retain 10 years following the end of litigation.

Appraisal Rationale: Since the university no longer has a General Counsel’s office, academic and administrative offices may retain litigation files.

The University’s legal counsel may also maintain additional litigation files.

Previously under Public Safety only. Includes Court Case Records (3400-05).

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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request and Appeal Records

This record series documents the university’s administration and disposition of FOIA requests and appeals. Records include, but are not limited to: the letter of request for information, documentation on records searched, documentation of fees and charges, appeals, correspondence, etc.

Format: Paper, Electronic Files

Retention: Retain 6 years after completion or denial of request and then confidentially destroy.

Appraisal Rationale: The official copy of FOIA requests and appeals resides with the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration (University FOIA Coordinator), but related files may also be located in the Office of the President and various other offices on campus.

This retention conforms to the National Archives and Records Administration’s schedule and meets minimum requirements set by the State of Michigan (Item # 203).

Previously under Public Safety and Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

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Contracts, Agreements, and Affiliation Records

This series tracks contracts and agreements between the university and outside parties. This also includes affiliation agreements between the University and various entities: hospitals and clinics, professional organizations, non-profit agencies, and other educational institutions. Records could include, but are not limited to: correspondence, copy of the contract/agreement, amendments or additions to the contract/agreement, etc.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, PDF, etc.)

Retention: Retain 6 years following termination or discontinuation of the contract and then confidentially destroy.

Appraisal Rationale: Includes International Programs’ Institutional Agreements (0408-01) and Purchasing’s Contract Records (0305-14).

This series does not include Charter School Contracts – please see their specific schedule for more information.

These records are maintained in various academic departments on campus.

This series abides by Michigan’s Local Government Financial Records retention schedule (Series 104).

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Photo/Video Release Forms

This series documents faculty, staff, student, alumni, and other’s permission for the use of their image by the university or other entity. Records include the signed release agreement and correspondence.

Format: Paper

Retention: Permanent. Office must transfer form to the University Records Center with the associated audio visual material.

Appraisal Rationale: Release forms are only found in a few departments on campus, and while this is not a mandated university-wide practice, this remains an important legal record for the university.

Please see here for more information on Michigan’s Right of Publicity Law.

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Administration
         Institutional Reporting and Strategic Planning

Strategic Plan

This record series documents the creation and implementation of both university-wide and department specific strategic plans. Records could include, but are not limited to: correspondence, final strategic plan, proposal documentation, meeting agendas, and committee documentation.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, PDF, Printouts, etc.)

Retention: Permanent. Retain in office 1 year after plan implementation and transfer to the University Records Center for preservation.

Appraisal Rationale: These records document the decision process behind the University’s administrative goals and objectives. These records may also show how community, faculty, staff, and student needs shape or influence the direction of the university.

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Monthly and Annual Reports, Studies, and Surveys

This series documents annual and summary reports, studies, or surveys published by University administrative offices and programs. Records include, but are not limited to: working papers, copies of reports from other units, copy of survey or report, correspondence, etc.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Qualtrics, Word, Excel, etc.)

Retention: Retain annual and summary reports permanently. Retain all other documentation 1 year and then confidentially destroy.

Appraisal Rationale: Vital statistical information is found within these records. While some of this material may be used for reporting to national agencies or may be available online, it is still important to collect a local record. 

This series includes Graduate Survey Records (previously 0409-02), US Olympic Committee Reports, and Open Doors Report (previously 0408-11).

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Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) Records

This series documents departments’ and offices’ achieved goals and projects, in addition to proposed future projects. Records could include, but are not limited to: correspondence, planning documentation, and the final reports submitted to the AQIP committee electronically.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, PDF, etc.)

Retention: Retain working papers 4 years. Retain final plan and assessment report permanently and transfer to the University Records Center.

Appraisal Rationale: These records thoroughly document the accomplishments, goals, and proposed plans for all departments, offices, and programs on campus. These documents provide a continuing record of a project’s progress, including statistical information.

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Administration
         Grants Management

Grant Project Files

This series documents the administration and application of grant programs and initiatives at the university. Records include, but are not limited to: correspondence, application forms, supplemental materials, financial materials, etc.

Format: Paper, Electronic (Word, PDF, etc.)

Retention: Retain for 7 years provided final reports, correspondence, etc. are transferred to the University Records Center for permanent retention.

Appraisal Rationale: These files cover a varied amount of information from several offices on campus. While not all information contained with the grant file is historical, it is valuable to keep a record of the final report for posterity.

Includes GEAR UP, Upward Bound, King/Chavez/Parks, and any other grant funded project or program on campus.

(Records from the Grants and Contracts Office are separate.)

This series conforms to the federal government’s retention of grant materials (200.333).

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