about the archives
information for researchers
about our collections
search our collections
records management
research resources
line spacer
site map
contact us
line spacer
archives home
notre dame home

RM Home > Tips and Training >

Preparing to Leave a University Position

When Officers, Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors, and other University leaders are planning to leave the University or transfer to another administrative unit, offices are advised to contact the Archives for an on-site records appraisal.

For all other University positions, follow these steps for paper and electronic records so that your colleagues and successors can quickly find the information they need after your departure.

1. Separate personal records from University records.

  • University records are University property.

    University Records are defined as recorded information created or received in the course of conducting University business and kept as evidence of such activity. This definition extends to records in any media or format, including paper files, electronic files, email, film and print graphics, audio and video recordings, and any other form of recorded information.

    Departing employees are not permitted to take University records with them.
  • Personal records are personal property.

    Records that do not pertain to University business, such as family photographs, personal correspondence, or records of participation in an outside organization, are not University records. Pursuant to the University's Intellectual Property Policy, certain scholarly and research materials may also be excluded from University ownership.

    If your personal records fit within the scope of the Archives Collection Policy, please consider donating those records to the University Archives.

    All other personal records must be taken with you upon your departure from the University.

2. Separate active files from inactive files.

  • Active records must remain at the office and be accessible to appropriate parties.

    Records are active if they are regularly consulted in the course of business operations. Examples of active files may include records pertaining to current students, recent committee meetings, upcoming events, or ongoing projects.

    Make sure active files are well organized and accessible to the person or people who will assume your responsibilities.

    If you are staying with the University but switching to a different office, leave records with the originating office. In other words, do not take "Office A" records with you to "Office B."
  • Inactive records should be either transferred to the Archives or destroyed in accordance with records retention schedules.

    Records are inactive if they are no longer used on a regular basis. Examples of inactive files may include records pertaining to separated students, previous years' committee meetings, past events, or completed projects.

    Pursuant to applicable records retention schedules, inactive records should either be destroyed or transferred to the Archives before you leave the University.

3. Clean out the clutter.

  • If your active or inactive files include unnecessary records like duplicates, rough drafts, notes or other materials with only short-term significance, remove and destroy those unnecessary records.

4. Use records retention schedules.

  • General and office-specific records retention schedules will help you know what to keep, what to purge, and what to transfer to the Archives.

    Review records retention schedules to identify University records and to distinguish between active and inactive records.
  • Apply the proper Office Disposition to records that have passed their Office Retention periods.

    In records retention schedules, the Office Disposition is typically either "Destroy" or "Transfer to the Archives."

    Visit Destroying Records for more information on records destruction.

    Visit Transferring Records for instructions on transferring records to the University Archives.

In Summary

Before leaving the University or transferring to a different office, review the records in your care. Identify personal records and take them with you. Leave active records well organized and accessible for appropriate parties in your office. Use records retention schedules to identify inactive records and determine whether to destroy them or transfer them to the Archives. When a University leader is planning to leave a position, contact the Archives for an on-site records appraisal.

Please contact the Archives for further assistance.




This page was last updated January 4, 2013