UW-Madison Records Officer

After nearly a decade serving as the gatekeeper behind the Records Management Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Peg Eusch, Certified Records Manager, is ready to go off the record, and into retirement.

“My career at Madison has been rewarding,” said Eusch. “It’s come full circle. As a graduate with deep family roots here, I’ve loved my time at Madison even more. I’m looking forward to the next phase of life, whatever path that takes, but I will miss my colleagues. I have moved the program forward, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Though Eusch has nearly four decades of records and information management experience, she’s been the sole individual behind organizing and advancing the main recordkeeping structure at UW-Madison since 2009.

“I have a unique position because I’m the only one on campus with this specific responsibility,” said Eusch. “I consult campus-wide and advise on a variety of records management issues.”

Her role includes everything from creating, updating and shepherding the University Records Schedule through the Wisconsin Public Records Board for approval, to developing systems and training materials to keep up with changing demands brought on by technology. Eusch is the person charged with ensuring the employees of UW-Madison understand proper records creation, management, retention, and overall lifecycle.

“I oversee recordkeeping best practices by utilizing the Eight Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles,” explained Eusch. “Documentation is important in how we function as a campus and state agency. Our records sustain our day-to-day work and answer questions about past decisions. They must be organized and accessible to meet our legal, audit, and retention obligations, while preserving our institutional memory.”

Eusch points to the growing focus from the State through Executive Order 189, which emphasizes compliance training for public records. This includes utilizing the Records Management Guidance for Departing Employees, which was endorsed by the University Records Advisory Group in 2016, and ensures appropriate steps are taken to organize records when employees leave campus.

“This past year has been especially rewarding. I was given the opportunity to mentor two students from the School of Information Studies who were interested in Records Management. I provided them projects in the form of a Shared Drive Re-organization for the School of Education Deans Office, and creating Vital Records Guidance for use with University COOP plans. This was later endorsed by the University Records Management Advisory Group in May. The projects provided the students with experience to move their careers forward, assisted the Records Management Program in organizing electronic records, and provided guidance to campus.”

Steenbock Memorial Library, where the Records Management office is housed.

As she prepares to depart on June 8, Eusch is coordinating the hand-off of her tasks with another individual with deep records knowledge: University Archivist David Null. Null will serve in Eusch’s position on an interim basis until her replacement is hired.

“Peg has truly raised the visibility of the program, and she did a great job of going through our records schedules, cleaning them up, working with campus and the State Records Center to get everything in compliance,” said Null. “We’re in a good place going forward, thanks to Peg’s tireless work.”

Because the organization and maintenance required in solid recordkeeping can be overwhelming, Eusch offered several tips, training materials, and other resources:

What is a Records Management File Plan?  A file Plan is a document that provides transparency in the management of university records. Departments and units should develop a file plan which documents their records management processes and where and how information is managed. For more information see the links below.  

University Records Retention Schedules

Additional records management tips:

  • Remember that management of records is not limited to physical documents but also applies to records in all formats and media such as electronic communications, photos, wav files, websites, social media, etc. These can be found in shared drives, collaborative spaces such as Box, OneNote, etc.
  • Start now.  Don’t wait for the end of the year or the start of the new one to organize your space.  Inventory the records your department/unit has in both electronic and hard copy format. Initiate efficient records management practices on a regular basis to avoid a pile up at the end of the year.
  • Utilize the State Records Center for inactive records.
  • Work to get department or unit records management processes documented into a file plan.  With staff turnover it is important to have processes documents to promote consistency.
  • Know the Records Retention Schedules that apply to your work area. Familiarize yourself with the retention periods and organize your hard copy and electronic files accordingly.

For more on Eusch’s extensive career, visit the Libraries news page. To learn more about University Records Management Program and how it impacts you, please visit the University Archives and Records Management site.