Topics Map > Employee Handbook > 1.2 Policy Statements & Employee Guidance

Records Retention – Guidance for Extension Employees

As an employee of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, you are required to follow the records retention policies of the Universities of Wisconsin and University of Wisconsin – Madison and state statutes that govern public records (Wisconsin State Statute 16.61). This article highlights specific Extension Records Schedules and Youth Protection Records.



This article is meant to introduce you to your responsibilities and directs you to the Office of Records Management at UW-Madison for training and help on managing your records. This article provides more specific information on records specific to Extension and shares tip-sheets on specific types of records.


This guidance impacts all University employees. 


(A glossary of all records related terms is located on the Records Management website. 

Records: The general definition of a record is established under Wis. Stat. 16.61(2)(b). Public Records are defined as “all books, papers, maps, photographs, films, recordings, optical disks, electronically formatted documents or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made, or received by any state agency or its officers or employees in connection with the transaction of public business.” 

Record Schedule: The timetable and description of a records series’ life cycle, including instructions for disposition.

Retention schedule: (also known as Records Disposition Authorizations or RDAs) is a policy document that defines an organization’s legal and compliance record keeping requirements and helps manage the records that the University creates throughout their life cycle. Under Wisconsin law, university records cannot be disposed of without a valid record schedule.   



Division of Extension staff are required to understand what records they create and the retention schedule for them. To learn more about these responsibilities, review the training provided by UW-Madison Records Management Program:

Record Management Training Resources for University Offices

All UW Record Schedules

Staff create records that can fall into a variety of schedules, the complete list is located here:

UW-Madison Records Retention Schedules and Disposition

Extension-Specific Record Schedules

Records schedules specific to Extension business are located here:

University of Wisconsin-Extension Records Schedules

  • Division of Extension Adult Program Participant Records 
  • Division of Extension Participant Data Sets 
  • Grant Documentation, Federal, Broadband 
  • Wisconsin 4-H Charters 
  • Wisconsin 4-H Membership Lists 
  • Wisconsin 4-H Adult Volunteer Records 

Youth Activity Record Schedules

There are record schedules for Youth Activities:

Universities of Wisconsin Youth Activities and Protection Records Schedules

Program Tip Sheets

See Extension Program tip sheets that provide more help for staff to understand what records they may be responsible for:  

  • See Positive Youth Development specific resources here: (Tip sheet ) 
  • See Extension Adult Program Participant specific resources here: (Tip sheet) 

Related UW Madison Policies and Resources

  1. Records Management for University Employees, Information Brief developed by UW Archives & Records Management
  2. UW-Madison Records Retention Schedules and Disposition – Website to search for Retention Schedules
    • Extension specific schedules found under UDDS/Department Specific Records> 47-UW-Extension
    • Youth Activities & Protection schedule 


KeywordsSchedule Youth Protection Adult Participant   Doc ID135270
OwnerRebecca D.GroupExtension Handbook
Created2024-02-06 16:35:10Updated2024-03-08 17:29:04
SitesExtension Handbook
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