The Catholic University of America

Suggested Records Management Guidelines for University Offices and Departments

 

ACUA Storage Facility
ACUA, Aquinas Hall Storage
The Archives of The Catholic University of America (CUA) was founded in 1949 to serve as the institutional memory of the University. It has the authority and obligation to acquire and administer records that have enduring evidential, legal, informational, and intrinsic value. Holdings date back to records documenting the founding of the university in the 1880s and extend forward to include files, photographs, and films detailing its growth and operations into the 21st century.

The Archives is a resource for administrators seeking important legal documents, professor researching departmental histories, public relations looking for old photographs, alumni searching for information on former students, students who want to examine university publications, and all others interested in any aspect of CUA's past.
The Archives staff would like to work with your office to insure that University records have their proper disposition. Those of permanent historical value are to be preserved and transferred to the Archives in a timely manner while you can continue to retain or arrange to destroy records you no longer need. The Archives staff can consult with your office staff to determine whether you have essential records of permanent value which should be archived. Such records transferred to the Archives would only be accessible to the people in your office for a time period agreed upon by your office and the Archives. Anyone else seeking access would have to receive written permission from the head of your office. Please note that once university records are transferred to the custody of the Archives the Archives assumes ownership of them as steward of the university’s history. The office of creation retains rights of controlling access and borrowing back for office use, but such university offices may NOT destroy any records that are already in the custody of the Archives.

Listed below are types of records common to many university offices, schools, and departments with appropriate periods of minimal retention as well as ultimate disposition. Staff of the The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives are available for consultation and can provide instructions regarding both transfer of records to the Archives as well as destruction of other records. For records types not listed please consult Archives Staff at archives@mail.lib.cua.edu or (202) 319-5065. Office and departments are encouraged to review all their documents that are regularly created or collected and develop a retention, storage, and destruction schedule to supplement the retention periods in these Guidelines. Managers are urged to consult with the university archivists to develop such schedules, including schedules for the destruction of some records in the ordinary course of business. Each manager should work with the Office of the General Counsel to review federal and District of Columbia compliance obligations governing the length of time various records must be kept that may be applicable to office or departmental records.


Record types described are as follows:

 

1. Annual Reports
2. Minutes
3. Correspondence
4. Student Records
5. Non-Academic Staff Records
6. Academic/Faculty Records
7. Faculty Activity Reports
8. Faculty Tenure and Promotion Files
9. Search Committee Files
10. Requisitions/Purchase Orders
11. Budget Files
12. Newspaper Clippings
13. Publications of the Office
14. Publications of the University
15. Audio/Visual Records
16. Research Project Grant Files
17. Electronic Records
 
1. ANNUAL REPORTS

Description: Annual report of the originating department
Retention: 5 years
Disposition: Transfer to University Archives
Notes: Historical Value
2. MINUTES

Description: Minutes of meetings of committees, councils, task forces, etc.
Retention: 5 years
Disposition: Transfer to University Archives
Notes: Historical Value
3. CORRESPONDENCE

Description: Correspondence filed both chronologically and by subject as well as print outs of significant email messages
Retention: 5 years
Disposition: Transfer to University Archives
Notes: Historical Value
4. STUDENT RECORDS

Description: Students grades, course changes, correspondence, comprehensive exams, recommendations, etc.
Retention: Consult the Registrar's Office
Disposition: Consult the Registrar's Office
Notes: Registrar's Office arranges to digitze records. Paper version stored in the Archives but can only be accessed by Registrar's Office
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5. NON ACADEMIC STAFF RECORDS

Description: Personnel files
Retention: Consult the Human Resources Office
Disposition: Consult the Human Resources Office
6. ACADEMIC/FACULTY RECORDS

Description: Personnel files
Retention: Retain for active personnel
Disposition: Transfer to University Archives upon retirement or resignation
Notes: Historical Value though academic personnel records from the Provost's Office are considered the official record
7. FACULTY ACTIVITY REPORTS

Description: Annual reports of Faculty activity, either by faculty or department name
Retention: 5 years
Disposition: Transfer to University Archives
Notes: Historical Value, material formerly kept in the academic personnel files
8. FACULTY TENURE AND PROMOTION FILES

Description: Files assessing academic professional development
Retention: 5 years
Disposition: Transfer to University Archives
Notes: Historical Value, material formerly kept in the academic personnel files
9. SEARCH COMMITTEE FILES

Description: Job postings, candidate lists, final reports
Retention: 5 years
Disposition: Transfer to University Archives
Notes: Historical Value though employment applications of unsuccessful candidates (both international and domestic) need not be retained in the office beyond two years and may be destroyed thereafter.
10. REQUISITIONS/PURCHASES ORDERS

Retention: 5 years
Disposition: Destroy
11. BUDGETS / OTHER FINANCIAL RECORDS

Description: Budget planning files, cash books and journals, cancelled checks, travel expenses, invoices, p-cards, etc
Retention: 5 years
Disposition: Destroy
12. NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS

Description: Newspaper clippings about the department and staff
Retention: 5 years
Disposition: Transfer to University Archives
13. PUBLICATIONS OF THE OFFICE

Description: Newsletters, brochures, etc.
Retention: 5 years
Disposition: Transfer no more than three copies each to University Archives, dispose of excess copies
14. PUBLICATIONS OF THE UNIVERSITY

Description: Yearbooks, newspapers, newsletters, brochures, etc.
Retention: As long as needed
Disposition: Consult with Archives Staff
Notes: Record copies of these should already have gone or be going periodically to University Archives from office of creation
15. AUDIO/VISUAL RECORDS

Description: Photographs, phonographs, audio cassettes, audio and video tapes, reel to reel films produced by or for the university in some capacity
Retention: As long as needed
Disposition: Transfer to University Archives after consultation with Archives Staff
16. RESEARCH PROJECT GRANT FILES

Description: Files relating to funded research project grants
Retention: 5 years
Disposition: Transfer to University Archives
Notes: Sponsored Programs should have the file of record on this, but in lieu of a Universitywide records management program, the departmental files should be archived as well
17. ELECTRONIC RECORDS

Description: Electronic documents including emails and material on web sites.
Retention: As long as needed
Disposition: Copy to disks and/or tape in the most current format possible, print paper copies when practical
Notes: Transfer to University Archives after consultation with Archives Staff.

About Your Responsibility


Records not selected by the archivist and thus not admitted to the archives remain your office's responsibility to house and dispose. We would be happy, however, to help you make decisions about what you should keep in your offices and what you might designate for destruction. You will most likely want to dispose of records that:
  • are no longer helpful to you in running your office.
  • have no permanent value and cannot be sent to the archives.
  • have passed the legal "statue of limitations" for keeping them.

You are responsible for the moving and transfer of records, files and boxes, to the Archives. Please use 12" by 15" record center boxes. If you do not have boxes of this size they can be provided to you.


You should consult an ACUA staff member after you have made a survey of your records.

 

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