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On the record: NIU offers assistance with records management

May 11, 2020

NIU has a commitment to the efficient and reliable maintenance of its records, and a program that ensures valuable records are identified, preserved, easy to locate and retrieve when needed.

“Basically, it is knowing what you have, where you have it and how long to keep it,” said Ethics and Compliance Officer and Records Officer Sarah Garner.

The Ethics and Compliance Office works behind-the-scenes to ensure the university’s records are properly maintained. They provide direction and support to departments and divisions about how to accurately identify, retain and dispose of records in their possession.

“We assist departments in creating an efficient and economical record retention system so they keep the records that they are required to and not get buried in or overwhelmed with paperwork and documents,” Garner said.

University records are considered records of the state of Illinois – whether they are in paper or digital format – and may not be destroyed without the advanced approval of the Illinois Records Commission.

The Records Management Reference Manual for Illinois State Government Agencies can help guide an employee through the life cycle of a record, and individual departments’ requirement to maintain a consistent records’ management schedule.

“Departments simply need to make sure their records are identified in a record schedule and then follow the retention procedures found in that schedule,” Garner said.

If records are not identified in a record schedule, the department should contact the Ethics and Compliance Office in order to inventory the records and create a schedule.

“It is a simple process and departments have one-on-one assistance from our office throughout every stage, from creation of the record to storage and destruction,” Garner said. “You can feel the department’s sigh of relief when they are able to destroy records they have been holding on to that are due for destruction.”

Go to NIU Records Management to learn more.