Managing Files of University Leaders
University leaders, such as Officers, Vice Presidents, Associate or Assistant Vice Presidents, Deans, and Directors, often have multiple responsibilities across and outside the University. Their files may be arranged alphabetically, chronologically, or by functional areas. These files usually include correspondence, reports, and publications; files on committee leadership or participation; records pertaining to University projects, initiatives, events, and awards; records about departmental operations, subordinate offices and direct reports; and reference materials. Many of these files may be highly confidential in nature.
Records created or received by University leaders are an integral part of Notre Dame history. Because of the unique nature of files maintained by University leaders, offices are strongly advised to (1) discuss archival and records management practices with the University Archives and (2) work with the Archivist for Records Management to develop office-specific records retention schedules.
Generally, files of University leaders should be regularly "broken" - annually, or at least every few years. Breaking the files means that additions will no longer be made to the first set of files and that a second set of files is created for all new material. Breaking the files each year based on the academic or fiscal year is a common approach, while breaking the files every three or five years is an alternative. The earlier set remains at the office for reference until the files reach an inactive status, at which time they are transferred to the Archives as one coherent set of records. You will always have a set of active files readily at hand, and at least one set of semi-active files that may be needed for reference purposes. The oldest files will be regularly transferred to the Archives for historical preservation, but can be referenced by the office of origin as needed.
For example, the paper files of a University leader might be organized as follows:
At the end of 2012-2013, the 2010-2011 files will be transferred to the University Archives. Then Cabinet # 1 will be re-used for 2013-2014 files.
A separate space should be used for administrative, financial, personnel, and other categories of records that are reflected in the University's general records retention schedules. Another area might be designated for personal papers (files involving family, friends, or non-University activities).
Electronic files should be maintained with a parallel filing structure:
The 2010-2011 electronic files will be transferred to the Archives at the same time as the 2010-2011 paper files.
Please refer to Filing Essentials for additional filing tips and examples, or contact the Archives for individualized consultation.
Prior to a leader's transfer to another office or departure from the University, please review Preparing to Leave a University Position and contact the Archives for on-site records appraisal.
This page was last updated May 23, 2012