Faculty and Academic Staff

Faculty and Academic Staff

Unclassified Staff Personnel Records GRS


The University of Wisconsin System comprises fifteen distinct institutions, many of which create and receive records that are similar in purpose and utility. In the interest of efficiency, therefore, this records schedule identifies categories of records that are common to all University of Wisconsin institutions, so as to avoid making each institution secure a distinct retention schedule for the same categories of records.

This GRS is a revision of one approved by the Public Records Board in November, 2008. This revision addresses the changes brought about by the implementation of the Human Resources System (HRS), a PeopleSoft application (April 2011). HRS is an integrated system and incorporates all human resources, benefits, and payroll operations across the UW System. The implementation of HRS represents a major paradigm shift from mixed recordkeeping environment (paper and electronic) to one in which the official records (data) are mostly electronic, and likely to become fully electronic in the future.

This GRS covers the retention and disposition of records relating to unclassified UW System employees (faculty and academic staff), graduate student employees (research assistants, project assistants, and teaching assistants), volunteers, and employees in training.

The implementation of HRS introduces several factors that impact records retention. They are described in Section III.


This General Records Schedule governs the retention and disposition of records associated with the following HR functional areas: 

--Recruitment and hiring
--Evaluation including tenure and indefinite appointment
--Staff development
--Termination of employment
--Grievances and complaints
--Other personnel-related documentation. 

Faculty and academic staff personnel processes are governed by Faculty Policies and Procedures in effect at each institution and by Chapter 36 of the Wisconsin Statutes.The provisions of this GRS apply to all institutions and employing units in the University of Wisconsin System.


The following factors should be kept in mind in interpreting and applying records retention requirements outlined in this document.

HRS , the Human Resource System, holds the official human resource and payroll information received, generated, and maintained on University of Wisconsin System employees, however; UW institutions and employing units will continue to maintain HR records including supplemental systems. This means there is a shared responsibility for records retention. Records series will indicate whether HRS, UW institutions have responsibility for retention of the original record. In some instances, there is a shared responsibility for records retention.

Storage media and retention. This GRS does not address storage media or implementation strategy for records retention.


A. Preservation of Historic Records.
Historic records are those that must be retained indefinitely because of their historical character. Historic records stored only in electronic form must comply with the legal requirements set forth in: Regent Policy Document 3-2: University of Wisconsin System Public Records Management; and Chapter Adm 12: Electronic Records Management-Standards and Requirements. It is expected that some human resources records will be classified as having historical or permanent value to either UW System or the employing UW System institution.

B. Use of the Records Series Approach.
The records schedules included within this document were developed using the "records series" approach defined in Wis. Stat. § 16.61(2)(c).

C. Use of Flexible Scheduling or Big Bucket Approach.
Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP, systems, like PeopleSoft, provides the capability to create a wide variety of reports and queries to the system. The flexible scheduling or 'Big Bucket' approach means that some items within the GRS cover records in multiple series and/or electronic systems that relate to the same subject matter, business function, or work process. All the series/systems covered by a big bucket item have the same ultimate disposition. The records within the bucket are either all permanent or all temporary and, if the bucket is temporary, all the series/systems within it have the same retention period.

D. Destruction Authorization.
The records schedules included within this document establish minimum retention periods for each type of record. The disposition of each record is assumed to be destruction after its minimum retention period. However, expired records may be retained beyond the retention date in the discretion of University administrators.

E. Records to be retained.
In accordance with Wisconsin law, records to be retained are those defined as in the Wisconsin Statutes as "public records," that are made or received by any university employee in connection with the transaction of university business. See Wis. Stat. § 16.61(2)(b). Public records do not include the following:

1. Duplicates maintained by a university employee only for convenience or reference and for no other substantive purpose.

2. Unsolicited notices or invitations which are not related to any official action taken, proposed, or considered by the University of Wisconsin System.

3. Drafts, notes, preliminary computations and like materials intended for personal use by an individual university employee or prepared by a university employee in the name of the person for whom the employee is working.

4. Routing slips and envelopes.

5. Materials that are purely the personal property of a university employee and have no relation to his or her office.Records that are not "public records" under the definition may be destroyed at the discretion of university administrators.

F. Duplicate personnel records and shadow filing systems.
While retention periods outlined in this GRS apply to the official record, the maintenance of duplicate records and shadow filing systems is common in the personnel process. If any unique material is present in a file, it is no longer a duplicate but represent another original record. It must be maintained the same period of time as the original record.

H. Definitions
Internet Applicant— (Definition retrieved from the Dept. of Labor 2-28-2011). An Internet Applicant is defined as an individual who satisfies the following four criteria:

  • The individual submits an expression of interest in employment through the Internet or related electronic data technologies;
  • The contractor considers the individual for employment in a particular position;
  • The individual's expression of interest indicates the individual possesses the basic qualifications for the position; and,
  • The individual at no point in the contractor's selection process prior to receiving an offer of employment from the contractor, removes himself or herself from further consideration or otherwise indicates that he or she is no longer interested in the position.


All recommended dispositions provided within this schedule may be carried out by University of Wisconsin administrators except that records may not be destroyed where required to be retained by law or policy including, but not limited to, a pending public records request, lawsuit, audit, or legal hold.