Program Rationale

To help ensure that Marywood University continues to thrive in the Information Age, the Records Management and Archives Program enables Marywood to achieve the following objectives.

Reduce the University’s risk of legal and fiscal liability

Records retained for an insufficient period can cause serious hardship to the University through criminal penalties and fines, loss of rights and money, adverse inferences at trial, or charges of obstruction of justice or contempt of court. In contrast, records retained beyond their required retention period can be subpoenaed during litigation and used to the advantage of the opposing party. The Director of Records Management and Archives develops retention schedules for the University’s records in order to provide greater assurance of Marywood’s compliance with federal and state legal requirements and the recommendations or requirements of professional associations and best practices adopted by University departments. By systematically destroying records in the ordinary course of business, according to a documented, developed, and approved records management program, Marywood University significantly reduces its risk of legal and fiscal liability in the case of litigation or an audit. Whenever the Records Management and Archives Department is advised that litigation or a government investigation has been initiated, or that a lawsuit is being considered or will be filed, the systematic destruction of relevant records is suspended until final disposition of the charge or the action.

Reduce labor costs by measurably increasing staff efficiency and productivity

Research has proven that up to 90% of records storage costs are actually labor costs. For example, if an employee who earns $20,000 a year spends 25% of his or her time searching for data that is filed among other documents that are being stored longer than necessary, then the institution is paying $5,000 a year for inefficient records management practices, just in that single employee’s labor. The disposition of obsolete records saves time and increases operational efficiency by reducing the volume of records that must be searched for information. Thus, staff spend less time searching through unnecessary information to retrieve data and have more time to accomplish the goals of their departments. Because the Records Management and Archives Program is involved in every stage of a record’s life cycle, it promotes efficient practices in the creation, maintenance, and retention of University records. This saves time—and therefore money—for everyone who uses those records.

Reduce storage costs and expand available office space

Disposing of obsolete records substantially reduces the volume of records stored in campus departments. This, in turn, reduces unnecessary maintenance costs and expands the availability of expensive office space. Similarly, the Records Management and Archives Program promotes the cost-effective and space-effective use of computer technology in the creation, maintenance, retention, and preservation of Marywood University records.

Reduce document discovery costs

Once a department's records are inventoried, then the discovery phase of an audit or lawsuit—when all relevant documents are collected, organized, and analyzed—takes less time, reducing attorney’s fees.

Enhance the control of information

The reduction in the volume of records, coupled with the increased organization of remaining records, decreases the possibility of lost or misfiled records and speeds the retrieval of data. With fewer lost and misfiled records and faster data retrieval speed, the University obtains greater control over its information. Policies and procedures of the Records Management and Archives Program bring a consistent, University-wide approach to Marywood’s records management practices, helping department heads to cope with the accumulated records in their custody. Likewise, the Program’s official records retention schedules assist office personnel who, understandably, may be reluctant to destroy certain records. By checking their departments’ records retention schedules on the Records Management and Archives Website, department heads and personnel may easily review the records series for which their departments are responsible and the authorized retention periods and disposition methods for each records series.

Increase the security of vital records

During each department's records inventory, records are identified that are vital to the life of the institution if a disaster strikes. These records are backed up, according to established plans, to protect them against natural and human-created disasters.

Increase administrative effectiveness

As the University’s records are inventoried and scheduled for retention and disposition, the retention schedules are posted to the Records Management and Archives Website. By publishing these schedules online as soon as they are authorized, the Program facilitates administrative access to these records, enabling the University’s administrators to make effective decisions based upon the most complete and up-to-date information possible.

Enhance service to students, faculty, staff, and administrators

When University employees have ready access to records and information, they are able to provide faster and more effective service to the entire University community.

Provide records management training and support for University personnel who are required to participate in the Records Management and Archives Program

The Director of Records Management and Archives provides training sessions for departments and offers continuous support by answering records management questions and revising or creating new records retention schedules as the needs of each department change.

Maintain an archival repository and research center

As a repository for all Marywood University records of historical and enduring value, the Archives serves as Marywood’s institutional memory. It identifies, acquires, preserves, and maintains records that chronicle the University’s development and ensure its continued existence. As a research center, the Archives makes non-restricted parts of its collection accessible to trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the public.

Provide archival reference and research assistance services

To promote awareness and the study of Marywood University’s history, archival reference and research assistance services are available to members of the University community and the public.

Enhance the security of archival records

University records scheduled for permanent retention in the Archives are housed in a secure, temperature- and humidity-controlled facility and are stored in acid-free containers, using current best practices in archival preservation.

To ensure the integrity of Marywood’s confidential records, including the personal information of students and employees, the Records Management and Archives Department provides members of the University community and the public with appropriate levels of access to records in the University Archives.