SFU Records Retention Schedule and Disposal Authority (RRSDA)
Course Files

Description | PIB | Authorities | Retentional rational | Rentention and filing guidelines | Status

RRSDA number


Record series

Course Files

Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR)

All University Departments (General Records Series)

Retention periods

Records Active retention (in office) Semi-active (records centre) Total retention Final disposition
All departments holding these records: CY course completed + 2 years Nil CY course completed + 2 years Selective Retention by Archives

CY = Current calendar year; CFY = Current fiscal year; CS = Current semester; S/O = Superseded or obsolete; OPR = Office of Primary Responsibility; Non-OPR = All other departments.

Description, purpose and use of records

Records relating to the administration and delivery of academic courses.

Records may include correspondence, memoranda and email; class lists, class and exam schedules; course add / drop forms, grade change forms and grade lists; course outlines, reading lists, and sample examination questions; course book requisition forms; completed exams and assignments; instructor / course evaluations; instructor’s lectures, notes, working papers and teaching material; grade distributions and instructor’s course-end report; print-outs of internet pages.

Contents of course files varies from department to department; see Filing and Retention Guidelines for our recommendations on best practice for organizing these records. Some of the record types listed above have their own retention schedules:

See also:


These records are created, used, retained and managed in accordance with the following authorities:

Retention rationale

SFU Policy T20.01 requires retention of grade-related records for one semester following course. Students must normally request a review of grades within 60 days of receiving a grade. The FOI/POP Act (RSBC 1996, c. 165, s. 31) requires that personal information used to make a decision that directly affects an individual must be retained for at least one year. Beyond the total retention period, course administration records have no value. Teaching records (see below) have value for documenting curriculum history and establishing transfer credit equivalences and will be selected for archival retention.

Retention and filing guidelines

Do not file instructor / course evaluations or completed student assignments and exams on the course file: these records have different retention requirements which are easier to apply if they are kept as separate blocks of files. For instructor / course evaluations, see RRSDA 1998-034 (faculty) and RRSDA 1999-006 (TSSU employees); for examination papers and course assignments, see RRSDA 1995-018.

Arrange course files by semester and course number. The only course records of long-term, archival value are those documenting the content of the course:

Records relating to course administration will be destroyed. Course files should be structured (e.g. use file dividers) in such a way that the archival material is easily identified, while the remainder is easily removed and destroyed. The following classification is recommended (A = Archival; D = Destroy):

Teaching Records = Archival [Use for course outlines, reading lists, exam questions, research paper and assignment topics, instructor course-end summary report if produced, printed copy (screen shot) of course web home page (but do not file here print-outs of on-line documents used as teaching materials).]

Administrative Records = Destroy [Use for all records relating to course enrollment and time / room scheduling, class lists, add / drop forms, course book requisition forms, grade lists, correspondence and memoranda relating to course administration.]

Teaching Materials = Destroy [Use for photocopies, articles and publications, instructor’s lectures, notes and working papers, print-outs of internet documents. This material will be destroyed; instructors wishing to retain it should keep the material in their own personal files.]

As a student information resource, some departments make available copies of exam questions in publicly accessible binders (e.g. last 5 years). Continue to include a copy in the course file and destroy the binder copies when no longer required.


Records creators should note that this RRSDA applies equally to paper and electronic records and that they are responsible for deleting or transferring any records maintained in electronic form at the expiration of the total retention period (e.g. PDF versions, spreadsheets, database records, e-mail correspondence, etc.). Maintaining electronic copies of records with personal information after the recommended retention period places an undue burden on the University to continue to protect against unauthorized acces, use and disclosure of that personal information in accordance with the FOI/ POP Act and the records series status as a PIB.


Electronic records (including teaching records) can be transferred to the archives' digital repository. Please see "Electronic records transfer procedures" on Archives' website for details (TBD) in 2015/2016.


At the end of the active retention period (2 years), remove administrative records and teaching material for destruction. Course administration records contain personal information and must be destroyed by confidential shredding or deletion.


Box files (containing teaching records) and transfer the paper files to the University Records Centre (URC). For each box prepare a box contents listing, itemizing all files contained in the box. Always include ONE copy of the file list inside the box sent to the URC taped to the underside of the lid; keep ONE copy for your own records; and send ONE copy (paper or electronic) to the Archives (see Procedures for Transferring Records to the University Records Centre).


RRSDA is in force.

Approved by the University Archivist: 12 Oct 2000

Last revised: 26 January. 2015

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