Everything the UW community creates and receives is considered a public record. To be compliant with state law, every employee has the legal responsibility to demonstrate proper care and management of the records they create, handle, and receive. Here are some of the most basic steps that faculty can take to manage their records appropriately.

Teaching Records

The Student and Curriculum section of the UW General Records Retention Schedule lists retention information on all records associated with students and curriculum. Below are some tips on handling the most common teaching-related records.

If Using Canvas:

If Not Using Canvas for Course Materials:

  • At the beginning of every new academic quarter:
    • Create a “big bucket” folder for each course. This folder can contain all course materials, readings, assignments, etc.
    • Organize like so:
  •  Course Records
    •  [Course Name or Number - Quarter/Year]
    •  LIS414 Spring/2022
  • At the end of every academic quarter:
    • Move all your loose files into the big bucket course folder.
    • Save this folder for at least one additional academic quarter. After which, if no longer needed, delete the folder.

Research Records

The Research and Grant/Contract section of the UW General Records Retention Schedule lists retention information on all records associated with research. Below are some tips on handling the most common research-related records.

Once a Research Grant/Contract is Awarded:

  •  Research Records
    •  [Name or Number of Study - Sponsor]
    •  FastABCs - NIH

Once a Study has Closed:

  • Move all the research data and administration records for the study into that primary folder.
    • Label the folder with the calendar year the study closed
    • Add a note with the date the folder can be deleted
    • Organize like so:
  •  Research Records
    •  [Name or Number of Study - Sponsor] - [YEAR] CLOSED_[DELETE+6Y]
    •  FastABCs - NIH - 2019 CLOSED_DELETE 2025

Faculty Search Records

The records created, received, and used as part of the search process for new faculty appointments need to be properly managed. Follow our Records Related to Faculty Searches resource for detailed instructions on the records at each stage of the process and the best practices for managing them for the legal retention period.


  • Keep outside work & personal records separate from UW business
    • @uw.edu email addresses should only be for UW work
  • Create a folder for your professional organization membership activities. Label by organization and year. Retain as long as you are actively referencing the records.
  • Delete regularly based on legally-approved retention periods – build regular cleanup into your quarterly workflow
  • Delete transitory records daily, including transitory emails with students
  • If you are on a committee, each person does not need to retain their own copy of the minutes and agendas. Designate one person to retain the records, like the chair of the committee, for the full retention period
  • Destruction Hold: If any records in your possession are subject to an ongoing or anticipated audit, litigation, investigation, or public record request, you may not delete or destroy those records until the hold has been lifted.

Learn More

  • General Records Retention Schedule: A comprehensive list of the most common types of records created at the UW
  • Online Trainings: brief recorded trainings you can view at your leisure, including how to manage student records
  • Best Practices for Folder Structures: A comprehensive detailed analysis of how to structure electronic folders based on content type
  • Interested in live trainings or hands-on consultations? Our ROT Squad is here to provide customized, free consulting focused on helping you manage your records regardless of format
  • Contact our office: recmgt@uw.edu