March 2010 Newsletter

March 11, 2010

As part of this month’s newsletter we’d like to invite all Records Coordinators to  the annual Records Coordinator Appreciation Breakfast to be held during Records Management Month.  This year’s breakfast will be on April 6th from 9:30 to 10:30 AM.  If you are a departmental Records Coordinator who would like to attend and you have not received an invitation, please contact us at before March 31st. 

Secondly, as you may have already noticed, looks a little different.   That’s because we’re pleased to announce that we’ve gone live with our new website layout!  After much hard work we hope we’ve created a website that is easier to navigate, easier to understand, and that provides you with more useful information.  Stop by and check out the new ways to look for information on records retention.  Take a moment and suggest a blog topic by commenting on this here blog.  Perhaps view a PowerPoint presentation of a training session you may have missed. 

We’re still working on adding a few more functionalities (full text search, anyone?) and tweaking a few things but we just couldn’t wait to share.  We’re also open to suggestions and comments so please feel free to let us know if there’s something that you would like to see. 

Finally, for those of you who like numbers and missed the monthly shredding amount updates, here are the statistics for February from R4 Services:

Pounds Collected from Executive Consoles


Pounds Collected from 95-gallon bins


Pounds Collected from Boxes


Total Pounds Collected


Tons Recycled After Shredding


Environmental Savings

  • 33 Trees
  • 13,405 Gallons of Water
  • 354 Gallons of Gas
  • 115 Pounds of Air Pollution
  • 6.32 Cubic Yards of Landfill Space
  • 7,852 Kilowatt Hours of Energy

Also, Procurement has been keeping track of the total amount of paper shredded and recycled since we started using R4 Services in June 2009.  For complete statistics, check out their website.


Ask the Records Manager: Student Exams, Papers, Etc

March 8, 2010

How long do I need to keep students’ exams, papers, and other class related material? 

Students don’t or can’t always claim their exams or papers or other class related materials.  Over time these unclaimed records can threaten to take over your office.   So what to do with them?

Both the Undergraduate and the Graduate Student Handbooks give you some guidance on the minimum amount of time these things should be kept. 

The course instructor is required either to return major papers and examinations to students or to make such available for students until the end of the following term. 

Spring Quarter materials are to be available until the end of the Autumn Quarter.

What does this mean for you?  Well, it means that you can clean our your office at the end of every quarter if you wish.  If you keep all of one quarter’s materials together and make sure they’re labeled with the quarter (example: WQ10) it will be easier to know what you can purge at the end of the following quarter.

However, this is the minimum amount of time you need to keep these items.  You are free to keep them longer if it makes sense to you for academic or business reasons.  As DePaul’s Director of Records Management,  I recommend that they be kept for a maximum of seven years from the quarter in which they were created.   Having a maximum amount of time keeps items from piling up into perpetuity.  I say seven years because this should last beyond graduation for the majority of students. 

Regardless of whether your keep the materials for the minimum, the maxium or some amount of time in between, whenever you decide to get rid of them they need to be shredded.  To comply with FERPA we need to make sure that any documents with grades on them are kept confidential.   Which means no throwing them in the trash can! 

Remember, purging the unclaimed student materials  on a regular basis will cut down on the overwhelming feeling of overflowing cabinets, surfaces, and shelves.    Ask your department’s Records Coordinator about participating in the University’s next Fun File Event or if your department has a shredding bin you can use.  Not sure who your department’s Records Coordinator is?  Feel free to contact me directly at

Hopefully that answered your question about what to do with all those student and class materials.  As always, I welcome comments and questions.  Ask away!

February 2010 Newsletter

February 26, 2010

Welcome to the February 2010 Newsletter!  There will be one of these posted each month as a round-up of the big announcements from the Department of Records Management.  In between we plan to post other announcements, answers to frequently asked questions, training invitations, and who knows what else.  If you have any suggestions for topics you’d like to see on the blog, please let us know!

And now,  on to the newsletter!

Is your department using or thinking about using Twitter?  Wikis?  Blogs?  Facebook?    How do you know if any of these contain important university records?  Do you need tips on how to manage them?  ARMA Chicago (the local records management chapter) is hosting their Spring Seminar on Tuesday, March 9th from 8:30AM – 4:00PM at UIC.  The Records Management department is offering to pay the registration fees for 4 Records Coordinators or their designees to attend this year’s Seminar offerings on Introduction to Web 2.0 and Web 2.0 in Practice. Attendees are welcome to attend for either the full day or a half day.   Both breakfast and lunch are provided.  Please contact us at if you would like more information.

Retention Schedule Updates:  The results of a records inventory survey that was sent out in the fall    indicate that one of the major categories of records missing from the Records Retention Schedule was scholarship applications and scholarship records. After some discussion these are being added to the Records Retention Schedule with the following details –

Record Group Number Responsible Department Records Group Retention Period Retention Event Action to be Taken
2.52 Various Scholarship Applications and Award Records 1 year Student no longer receiving scholarship Shred
2.53 Various Scholarship Applications – Not Awarded 1 year Decision not to award Shred

Reminder:  These retention periods are the minimum amount of time you should be keeping these records.  If you have a valid and defensible business need to keep them longer you should document that as part of your office procedures.

The second major update impacts Payroll and Personnel records.  Due to a change in Federal and Illinois law, records detailing the name, address, and occupation of each employee, the wages paid to each employee, as well as records that support or justify pay grades, increases, or decreases now need to be retained for 5 years post-termination instead of 3 years.  We’re still reviewing the Records Retention Schedule to determine which Record Group Numbers will be affected.  Although this mostly affects Human Resources and Payroll there may be a few Record Groups that pertain to other Responsible Departments that will change.  The Department of Records Management will keep you updated as to how this progresses.

The Office of Institutional Compliance has asked us to provide some Records Management Training modules as part of their Management Standards Training this Spring.  This training will be focusing on the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of Records Management and will include a hands-on exercise to help attendees locate records on the Records Retention Schedule.  Although you may  already know the basics of Records Management at DePaul, this will be an excellent refresher course or a great opportunity to introduce coworkers to records management basics.  There will be some information pulled from previous Records Management Training sessions as well as some new information.

More information about dates, times and locations will be coming from the Office of Institutional Compliance very soon.  Be on the lookout for an email inviting you to register sometime in March.  In the meantime, contact OIC if you have any questions.

Finally, thank you for taking the time to visit the blog.  Please take a moment to share the URL with colleagues, leave a comment, or contact us with any questions or ideas by emailing


November 17, 2009

Welcome to DePaul’s Records Management blog! Here you will find a monthly update “newsletter”, thoughts and comments on relevant records management news stories, examples of records management projects and best practices, and the occasional “Ask the Records Manager” post. Check back often or sign up for the RSS feed. And if you have any suggestions, ideas or questions you would like to see addressed here, please leave a comment or send them to