Guidelines for Academic Department Records

Academic departments create many different types of records, including those that have short term value such as financial documents or routine correspondence and those that have enduring historical value such as annual reports, newsletters, and course syllabi. Departmental records with enduring historical value help to tell the story of the academic experience at the University of Puget Sound. It is important that these records are preserved and transferred to the Archives & Special Collections on a regular basis.  

What records should my department be sending to the Archives & Special Collections?
Be selective in the records that you are sending to the Archives & Special Collections. The archives does not have the space to accept records with short term retention value such as routine department correspondence or forms; however, we are interested in receiving those records that best tell the story of your department and how you interact with your students. These records will be valuable to future faculty and administrators at the university, as well as to researchers in the Puget Sound community and beyond. The following is a list of the types of records that you should consider sending to the Archives & Special Collections for permanent retention.  

•    Course syllabi  (send a sample every 5 years, not on an annual basis)
•    Reports and strategic planning documents
•    Department histories
•    Newsletters and other publications
•    Department meeting minutes
•    Records documenting major events
•    Curriculum reviews
•    Photographs and video of department events
•    Significant correspondence (documenting major department decisions)

This list provides some general guidelines associated with the types of documents that are appropriate for permanent retention in the archives. Prior to sending any documents, please coordinate with the Archivist & Special Collections Librarian to learn more about the process. Our Archives Transfer Request form must be filled out before any records are sent to the Archives & Special Collections. 

What should I do with departmental records that are not being sent to the Archives?
Records with no enduring historical value can be destroyed once they no longer serve a business purpose. If you do not need the records to perform your administrative duties and all fiscal and legal obligations for retention have been fulfilled, you can destroy those records. Documents that are copies of records you have sent to another department can be destroyed after two years. For example, if you are sending financial records to Accounting and Budget Services for processing and keeping a copy of the paperwork for your own records, you can destroy those copies after two years.  Accounting and Budget Services is the office responsible for keeping the original copy that you sent to them according to their department's retention schedule.

The Archivist & Special Collections Librarian is available for consultations about your records. Please contact archives@pugetsound.edu if you have any questions about these guidelines.