UCLASS | Archives and Special Collections

UCLASS – Archives and Special Collections

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UCLASS is the acronym for the University Classification System. UCLASS is a hierarchical classification system that organizes records based on function and activity. The levels of the hierarchy are designated as Blocks (function), Primaries (activity), and Secondaries (transaction or matter being discussed). Actual physical files and electronic folders are represented at the Secondary level.

UCLASS is designed to:

  • Give offices a standard framework for classifying files in a rational way that makes records easy to file and retrieve.
  • Standardize communication across campus by using a common vocabulary of titles and descriptions for each record series.
  • Provide continuity on campus when staff move to other departments.
  • Provide a structure for deciding which office is primarily responsible for certain records and which records from the same series in other offices can be destroyed.

What if a record doesn’t fit?

Every Block has a “General'”Primary. If you can determine which Block or function a record fits under, but none of the corresponding Primaries seem to capture the activity represented by the record, then file the record in the “General” Primary. For example, if you’ve chosen the Block CR Community Relations, but none of the existing Primaries listed under that function seem appropriate, classify the record under the Primary CR001 Community Relations – General. Contact us if you are accumulating a number of records in the “General” Primaries. There may be a need to research a new activity or Primary to be added to UCLASS.

What shouldn’t be filed in UCLASS?

Only records should be filed according to UCLASS. Non-records are published materials made or acquired for reference, and stocks of publications or forms. These materials should be placed in a reference storage area and weeded on a regular basis.

Basic Principles of Applying UCLASS

  1. Choose the Function or Block:

    What is the main function to which the document is referring? Scan through the Blocks to determine an appropriate match.

  2. Choose the Activity or Primary:

    What is the activity that is being discussed or documented? Scan through the Primaries listed under the Block you have chosen to determine an appropriate match.

  3. Choose an appropriate name or Secondary file heading.

    Use the file naming and file coding conventions to create a descriptive Secondary file title.

  4. Where do I file..?

    Learn more

Understanding UClass

Each Block in the University Classification System represents a main function or area of responsibility of the University. There are 12 Blocks or major functional areas. Every record in every office can be classified according to one of these Blocks. AC Academic Operations Activities involving curriculum and program development and review, admissions, enrollment and registration of students, liaison with educational institutions, evaluation of instruction and of students, teaching skills, development and student experiences with travel study, exchanges and practicum programs. AD Administrative Services Administrative liaison with external organizations, including associations, societies, clubs, agencies, committees and councils; and liaison with University clubs and associations. It also covers the booking of facilities and equipment, and administrative activities at the unit level including support staff meetings, the coordination of staff vacations and leaves, and the development of internal office procedures. CA CapitalAssets Activities involving long-range campus planning including building priorities; the management of offsite University properties; and the various aspects of space management including the construction of new buildings, the use of existing space, and the alteration and development of University campus properties. CI Collections & Information Management Activities relating to the administration and management of collections and information sources on campus, including library, archival, and museum collections, and the corporate record. It includes planning and acquisition, outreach activities, and the risk management of these collections and information sources. CR Community Relations Activities relating to the development of effective relations between the University and its stakeholders, both internal and external, and to the expansion and development of private financial support for the University. These include Senate activities, alumni relations, convocations, and special events designed to promote the University. FM Financial Management Activities reflecting the financial administration and management of the University including the direction of budgeting, tuition planning, provincial funding, and the management of revenues, funds and trust accounts. GV Governance The governance function involving the overall control and direction of the policies, functions and activities of the University. It includes activities of General Faculties Council and Board of Governors committees, senior administrative groups, and faculty councils. It also includes risk management, insurance coverage, legal matters, government relations, and University endowments. HR Human Resources Activities relating to the employment of University personnel such as appointments, promotions and dismissals; leaves and holidays; compensation and rewards; staff training and development; benefits; staff planning; and staff relations and collective bargaining. Records contained in this block include documents concerning individuals, and correspondence of a policy or general nature. IN Internationalization Activities related to internationalization and international development, including the development of linkages and partnerships with international bodies, and the creation and management of international development projects. RE Research Activities relating to esearch and technology transfer as it relates to University operations and the promotion of the University’s research expertise. Also includes activities related to chairs and professorships; sponsored research; research ethics; research partnerships with industry including business, industrial, technological and research organizations, and with community organizations; and liaison with research bodies including institutes, centres and groups. SS Support Services The provision of institutional support on campus to students, faculty and other clients including the operation and maintenance of University buildings, security services, motor vehicles, and technological and learning support. ST Student Services Activities relating to the provision of student programs and services, including those for international students, Indigenous students and special students. It also covers activities related to student health and wellness, student awards and financial assistance, and student associations.

Each Block is composed of a number of Primaries which represent the activities that support the Block’s function. The number of Primaries varies for each Block. For example, the AO Academic Operations Block has 16 Primaries or activities that support the main function of academic operations on campus. The first Primary of every Block is a “general” primary, designed to capture any records that fit the function of the Block, but are not currently represented in the specific Primaries.

  • For example: AD001 Administration – General
  • The balance of the Primaries varies for each Block, depending on the types of activities represented.
  • Each Primary has an statement of the type of activity reflected by the records in that primary
  • Each Primary may also have Cross-References to related Primaries in the same Block, or in other Blocks and may also be linked to a Retention Rule if one currently exists for that activity.
  • For example: AD200 – External Organizations:
Activity: To document University personnel’s external administrative involvement and liaison with associations, societies, clubs, agencies, organizations committees and councils. Also to document University personnel’s attendance at conferences and seminars. Recors may include correspondence, agenda packages, nominations for positions, requests for information, questionnaires, invitations, press releases, conference packages and membership information.
Cross Reference(s):
Retention Rule(s):

Each Primary can be further divided into Secondaries. Seondaries represent records that are the result or evidence of actions and transations that fulfill or support the activity represented by the Primary. Physical files or electronic folders containing records are represented at the Secondary level. The first three Secondaries of each Primary are standard:

  • 0 – Policies
  • 1 – General
  • 2 – Case files

0-Policy Secondaries

The “0 – Policies” Secondary files should contain the final version of any policies and procedures that govern the activities represented by the Primary. These files/e-folders then become an easy reference file for policies and procedures. Records documenting the process of creating new policies should be filed in GV575 Policy Coordination.

1-General Secondaries

UCLASS follows the “general to specific” rule for filing records. If it is unclear if the matter discussed in the records will advance any further, always file these records in a “1 – General” Secondary. Never create a subject file/e-folder for only 1 or 2 records. Avoid using the “1 – General” Secondaries as “miscellaneous” files/e-folders. This will only make it difficult to find a document later. Rather, “1 – General” Secondaries should be used as “holding” files until a matter develops. Once it is clear that a matter will create more documentation, a new Secondary can be created for those records with a separate title.

2-Case Files Secondaries

Not all Primaries may use the “2 – Case Files” secondaries. Use these only for those Primaries that may require a Case File series. For example:

All Subsequent Secondaries

Units can name and/or number all subsequent files/e-folders at the Secondary level as appropriate.