RIM Guidance for Faculty
As a public institution, UFV is subject to legislation regarding records and transparency. Subsequently, the University, each of its offices, and each and every employee has the responsibility to demonstrate the proper care and management of its records. As an employee, that means:
- Keeping records for the appropriate amount of time (the retention period; UFV retention schedule under development)
- Keeping records in such a way that they are reliable and authentic; not damaged or destroyed
- Keeping records in such a way that they can be found and retrieved
- Being able to produce copies in the event of litigation, audit, or public records request
- Disposing of records promptly, in an appropriate manner, once the retention period has expired
Faculty members and instructors are encouraged to reference UFV RIM guidelines for managing records created in the course of business as an employee of UFV.
Maintain a centralized filing system
Maintain a centralized filing system and follow UFV's record naming conventions. Keeping records in multiple locations creates inconsistency and inefficiency in producing and managing authentic university records. It also complicates the application of consistent retention periods because of the existence of multiple copies stored in multiple locations.
University records should be moved and stored to UFV’s network drive. Work with your department assistant to ensure university records are stored on the department shared drive.
The following is a list of situations where it makes sense to move records, including e-mail or chat transcriptions, to a more enduring, shared location:
- When you want to keep all records on a particular person/project together in one place
- Records that colleagues will benefit from having access to
- Records with retention periods of 10+ years
- Important attachments (Save the attachment and delete the email)
- When you are leaving your position, any records that have continuing retention or value to the office.
University records vs personal records
Separate personal/intellectual property information from university records.
- Information collected in the research process is the intellectual property of researchers.
- Non-university records include such items as research and study notes, records relating to specific research projects, publications and personal communications of individual faculty, staff, and students.
- Research data includes:
- study participant information such as names, addresses, emails, phone number,
- experimental data such as responses to questionnaires, tasks, activities,
- research team meeting notes
- records of interactions related to research (e.g., participant consent forms), and
- faculty members’ and instructors’ research and teaching materials where the intellectual property belongs to the faculty member or instructor
Follow prescribed records retention rules (under development).
Faculty can open duplicate student files for their own personal reference and convenience, containing copies of original university records, if relying on one departmental student file is deemed too inconvenient or onerous. However, convenience copies are still considered university records and, therefore, university property. Convenience copies or duplicates should be managed in accordance with UFV’s transitory records schedule.
Make time to vet records for transitory status and dispose of them appropriately. University records are often created as a by-product of research and teaching activities. UFV is responsible for managing these records. In most cases, these records are considered transitory for faculty members as they are managed within the unit specific to the business of the record.
As an instructor/advisor, how long do I need to keep my emails to and from students?
The retention for e-mail is based on the content of each individual email. Emails or chats that simply request or provide information are transitory and can be deleted as soon as a reply is given or received. E-mails or chats that inform decision-making or could potentially be relied upon legally or financially are substantive and must be retained as per an approved retention schedule.
Examples of transitory emails or chats:
- Answer directional questions such as:
- "When is the test?"
- "What are your office hours?"
- "How do I apply for this program?"
- Provide generic information
- Contain information or links from a source such as a website, database, or content management system
Examples of substantive emails:
- Requests for a waiver or appeal
- Grade appeals
- Advising recommendations (in some cases)
- Address disciplinary and conduct issues
Managing e-mail and chat as university records
Email and chat platforms such as MS Teams is not intended to replace UFV’s learning management system (Blackboard).
UFV employees are encouraged to use MS Teams as a means for insignificant communication. Students should submit significant documents, appeals, assignments, etc., through Blackboard or UFV e-mail. If a record is created in teams, it can be downloaded and moved to a centralized storage area. Treat chat in MS Teams as transitory whenever possible.