Program Goal & Objectives
The goal of ISU's Records and Information Management (RIM) Program is to fulfill legal requirements by bringing each academic and administrative unit of the University into basic compliance with relevant laws and requirements. Records can be effectively managed throughout their life cycle * (creation, maintenance and use, and disposition). Records management techniques include managing files, determining retention periods, furnishing inexpensive storage, and disposing of records or transferring permanent records to University Archives. (click image to enlarge)
Records Management may seem like a set of new concepts, but, for the most part, every office on campus already practices some type of records work as a matter of course: making purchases; handling things like travel, payroll, and grades; and the hiring, evaluation and promotion of faculty and staff. Everyday records are created in a number of formats. It is important to realize that once they are in use throughout ISU, the ISU Records Retention Schedules will result in consistent, efficient maintenance of the records that are vital to the continued success of the University.
Getting Started at ISU
Beginning in May 2000 Idaho State University initiated an institutional Records Management Program. While guided by the State Board of Education Higher Education Records Management Guide, a number of factors have influenced the progress of the Records Program at ISU. To date, the focus of the first stage, the institutional survey, has been on areas in critical need of relief from older records, either through approval for destruction, or transfer to University Archives. These areas include: Office of the Registrar, Human Subjects, Financial Services, Graduate Studies, Physical Plant, and some portions of the College of Technology. A physical inventory of the holdings of the University Archives has also been undertaken.
The Records Manager has visited offices across campus performing surveys of the record types/series, which ISU commonly produces. Many offices have participated. A demonstration project in the College of Technology took place during Fall 2001 and Spring 2002. About 60% of the College of Technology's records have been surveyed to date.
Records Surveys and Inventories
These processes are described elsewhere, at Records Inventory. Time is involved to do this properly, but the benefits have already been felt in offices across campus. 23 tons of outdated records were approved for destruction from Financial Services' records and destroyed by a vendor in October 2001. Other offices have avoided the purchase of additional file cabinet since they discovered they were maintaining files they did not need. One office has located a set of records from the earliest years of the University, thought to be long-lost.
Briefings on how to survey and inventory records, and answers to common questions about records life spans, security and confidentiality are given during office visits. In the future, more formalized workshops will be given at regular intervals to present these concepts more widely, and to give updates on requirements as rules change.
What to expect
In the coming months each area of the University will be visited. For many departments these visits may only be with their main office, with departmental staff conveying records guidance and information at appropriate times for other staff and faculty. This does not mean that individuals are discouraged from contacting the Records Management office directly. Please do.
Once the records surveys have been gathered a summary document will be compiled that shows which records departments routinely create and maintain, and how long they should be kept. An ISU-wide version of this document, upon approval, will go to the State Board of Education for approval. Following that approval, departmental sections will be created for ease of use. Until this process is complete, please contact Records Management with questions about how long to keep records.