If you’ve attended one of the Records Management trainings you know how important it is to organize your files, records (both physical and electronic) based on the records retention schedule. Here are two out of the four tips on how you can make small changes to your filing system that will directly impact your efficiency in disposing of state records.
1.File documents in one location.
- Did you create or inherit a filing system in which there are records spread all across the office or better yet in another building entirely? In these cases it’s difficult to keep track of what needs to be disposed because your probably not even sure where all of the record copies are.
- Records spread across an office are one thing, but old records that are held in a different location create a whole other problem. If your department has records held in Ferguson, the basement/cage of the UC or Mountainside, you have actually created a much larger problem for yourself.
Records Management means that you will not have old records that are falling out of filing cabinets or needing to be stored off site. If you run out of room for your files, you are not accurately managing them. Don’t assume that one day it’ll be someone else’s problem later on.
- SOLUTION: Before you can move forward with anything else, you need to track down all of your department’s files, classify them, and begin purging. I (Kayla Waggoner) would love to help you with this process! Don’t hesitate to give me a call if you have any questions.
2. Do not mix retention period inside filing folders, both physical or electronic.
- When it comes time to dispose of some of your records, if you have multiple retention periods in one folder it makes it harder to just dispose of it. As an example, many departments probably have a folder dedicated to Student Files. In that student file folder you will probably have their transcripts, degree plans, major assignments, exam grades, and maybe even email correspondence between the department and said student.
- Here’s that list again with the current retention periods attached:
- Transcripts – other colleges (for those who are enrolled) – AC+5 (AC = Graduation)
- Student Degree Plans – AC+3 (AC = Graduation)
- Major Assignments or Student papers have varying retention periods. These have to be classified individually. Really it’s the grade or other personalized student information that matters. However, important student works might need to be archived.
- Exam Grades – 1 year (currently).
- There are lots of other things that could be included in a student file. The point is, from the list we have currently you’ll be shredding once a year from just a portion of the folder, and then again 3 and 5 years after the student graduations.
- Purchase a multiple sectioned file folder so that all of the individual student’s information may remain in one place, but will not give you a headache when it comes time to shred the documents.
- Do not print the documents. You can find a lot of the student information online or a quick call to the office of the Deans or the Registrar’s office will provide that information. If you do not have a copy printed or saved electronically then you don’t have to worry about it.
- Save all of these documents online so that they are much easier to delete when the time comes. When putting them online make sure and put the retention code next to the title as a constant reminder to yourself.
Follow me on to the next post for two more tips.
Are you really eager to get moving with your personal records management program but have no idea where to start? When laying the foundation for your program I suggest you do two things..
1a. Attend one of the trainings provided by the Records Management division
1b. Schedule a time to have a one-on-one training session (for this I would anticipate a one to one and a half hour long session)
2. After you’ve been properly trained, I would schedule an inventory for your office. During the course of the inventory we will be able to shred/delete documents that are either past retention, unessential or old reference documents.
With training and a completed inventory, you’ll be able to start with a solid foundation to grow from there. Remember that with any changes made, consistent upkeep is needed. Do not plan to tackle records management sparingly. Be prepared to make the necessary changes and keep up with them!
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our offices.
In regards to the Records Retention Schedule (RRS) there are just a few dates that are clearly defined, immovable, and universal. The two retention codes that I’m referring to would be FE and CE. Fiscal Years and Calendar Year ends have two clear dates (August 31 and December 31) that help agencies decipher when to get rid of certain records, specifically financial and academic records.
These dates are also immovable. Meaning if you have an FE or CE on the schedule, you know from the beginning the exact date that all of these things will be due for disposal. The other retention codes depend on other factors such as administrative value, student graduation dates, new hire information, employee termination dates, etc. Where the other retention periods require a closer eye to be placed on the records that may or may not be up for disposal, FE and CE provide the date for you.
With that in mind, it’s important to prepare for fiscal years and academic years as new records are created and up for disposal all at the same time. Here are a few suggestions that I’d like to provide for those with FE (Fiscal Year end) requirements.
- If your records go by FE on the schedule, organize your files according to the fiscal years, not academic years or calendar years.
- When switching from one fiscal year to the next, it’s best to keep all of the records in one place. This will help you when it comes time to dispose of those records. Keeping everything that will require an immediate disposal, in one location, will save you time and energy.
- Your focus should be on Records Retention, as much as it would be on other duties that are required of you during the start of a new fiscal year. According to the schedule, your department will have records up for disposal on September 1. The longer you wait, after that date, to dispose of the records, the further you go out of compliance with the State.
For help on dealing with the new academic year or the CE requirements, check out this blog post.
As most everyone has already seen, we’re rolling out the disposition logs with a deadline of October 31, 2017. It is not our goal to confuse anyone with these forms, but rather to create a process and a full supply of documentation that show Sul Ross’ compliance with the State. With that in mind here’s an outline of what you can expect for the foreseeable future.
- Final reminder that Disposal Forms were due last April. The deadline is now August 31, 2017.
- Those who turned their Disposal Forms in last spring have received their Disposition Logs, due October 31, 2017. If you have questions about the Disposition Log, check out this post.
- Those who turned in their Disposal Forms by the August 31, 2017 deadline will receive their Disposition Logs during this month. They have the same deadline of October 31.
- October 31, 2017 is the deadline for the Disposition Logs. Once those are turned in, you’ll be good to go until November/December.
- November 2, 2017 is our next in person training. If you have not yet attended a training, that will be your day to do so. More information will be provided as the date approaches.
- The next Disposal Form will be due December 15, 2017. This is to account for all of the CE disposition dates across the schedule.
- Departments who met the December 15, 2017 deadline, will receive their Disposition Logs.
- Disposition Logs will be due March 30, 2018.
- Those who did not turn in a Disposal Form or turned one in late will have the same March deadline as those that turned their forms in the previous December.
- Trainings and other help. This would be a great time to schedule an inventory. If you’d like more information about the inventories, please give us a call.
- The Records Retention Schedule Draft is due to the State by May 31, 2018. After this date, departments will have one year to make any other changes necessary to the schedule.
- A down month similar to April. We will suggest that departments schedule inventories at this time.
- Disposal Forms will be due August 31, 2018 to accommodate for the fiscal year end retention period requirements.
From here we will continue the same process as the year before. This is the schedule that the university will be on for the immediate future. If you ever have any questions along the way, please let us know.
The Records Management web page on the Sul Ross website will be arriving shortly. Before that happens I want to elaborate on the forms themselves and which ones will be required. (Links will be installed into this post as soon as the web page goes live)
- Records Retention Disposition Request Form
- This form is the new Disposal Form that was previously required. This form was recreated to explain the process better. These forms are intended for disposition request. Departments are requesting permission from the Records Management Division to dispose of their state records.
- Why do you have to have permission? To ensure that records are being disposed of and that they’re being disposed of correctly. The records being requested for disposition are subject to the Schedule. The Records Management Division (RMD) offers a second glance at the records that will potentially be lost forever. Retention periods are tested against the date ranges provided by the departments.
- Record Retention Schedule Amendment Request Form
- If you’ve gone through the Schedule and noticed some of the items listed are no longer used in the department. Perhaps you’ve looked at the Schedule and found that some of the current retention periods do not accurately demonstrate how long an important record should be kept or disposed of.
- The Amendment Request offers departments the chance to record any changes (additions or deletions) that they’d like to make from the Schedule. When the new Schedule is approved, these additions and deletions will no longer be allowed.
- This form offers extensive instructions.
- Inventory Request Form
- Those that have been to the training’s know a little bit about the inventory process. The inventory request form will help the Records Management Division organize inventory requests and improve the efficiency of the on site inventories.
- The form consists of several parts.
- Requester information
- For a single inventory date (one day at a time) only two individuals in a department will receive an inventory. If you’re scheduling for your entire department, please be aware that two offices or office spaces will be done one day and the other two can be done the next. Special circumstances such as a department which has three individuals in the department may have one inventory date.
- Job Description
- The job description is required of all requester’s. This is to help the RMD determine which records an individual may be creating based on items listed on the Schedule.
- If you’re unsure where to find your job description, Human Resources has them listed on the website.
- Office Floor Plan
- The purpose of this next part is to shorter the amount of time spent in the inventory process. With a floor plan the RMD will have an easier and faster time, helping the requester’s locate their records. When the inventory begins the floor plan will be used as a bouncing off point. The locations of records listed on the floor plan will be checked off so that records do not go overlooked.
- The floor plan does not have to be perfect. Please do not take photos and send them via email. The preferred format is a paper drawing with lots of boxes and squares indicating furniture. From there the requester can write in where files are located. If you’d like to see a sample floor plan, email Kayla Waggoner at email@example.com.
- List of Records
- In this section the requester can list what types of records their creating on a daily basis or where they are managing the records. Paper files are okay to list but really the RMD is looking for some knowledge on the part of the requester as to where records are created.
- If you create requisitions for your department, list Banner. If you’re department is on SharePoint, list SharePoint and OneDrive. Do you manage the department’s web page? What about the social media accounts.
- Requester’s should pause and think about how records are created and where they are maintained during their life cycle.
- If you have any questions about the inventory process there’s a few things to do.
- Be looking for posts on this blog that discuss the inventory process.
- Attend one of the training’s titled “Conducting an Inventory”.
- Call Kayla Waggoner (x8124) for more information.
If you have any other questions along the way, feel free to contact us.
Training sessions are currently being offered in person to those at the Alpine campus and soon-to-be online for those at the RGC campuses.
Here are a few things to know about the training’s:
- The training’s are always a good opportunity for those needing one-on-one help to ask their questions.
- There is a total of six training topics that everyone will need to improve their knowledge of Records Management. They include Record Retention Basics, Reading the Schedule, Organizing State Records, E-Records, Archival Process, and Conducting an Inventory. These sessions are not designed for individuals to pick one and leave another. They build on each other. For your benefit, trainees are encourage to hear all six topics discussed, and preferably in order.
- The training’s have been combined to equal only three days worth of training sessions with two topics discussed each day. The following is a break down of what topics are discussed at each training session.
- Record Retention Basics and Reading the Schedule
- Where did Record Retention come from?
- What does the legislation say about the Records Management laws?
- What is a record and who are the record holders?
- Why would you want to practice good Records Management techniques?
- What is the schedule and where can I find the schedule?
- How to read the schedule.
- The rules regarding changes made to the schedule.
- Organizing State Records and E-Records
- What is the difference between Records Retention and Records Management?
- Why is organizing your records important?
- Tips and tricks to organize records effectively.
- What is classified as an E-Record and how do they fit into the Records Management program?
- What about emails?
- How to properly retain and preserve records on your computers.
- Scanned copies and Microfilm requirements.
- Social Media and Text Messages
- Archival Process and Conducting an Inventory
- Why the records need approval from an Archivist?
- What do the I and O Archival codes mean on the schedule?
- The process of communication between departments at the University Archives
- What is an inventory and why is it important?
- Summary of the Inventory process
I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the upcoming training’s. If you have any questions between now and then, please contact April Aultman Becker or myself. Contact information is found below or on the tab titled “About Us.”
Records Management Officer: April Aultman Becker, firstname.lastname@example.org, (432) 837-8121
Records Management Coordinator: Kayla Waggoner, email@example.com, (432) 837-8124