Collections policy

Mission and Function

The mission of the Ferris State University Archives, a program housed within the library, is to preserve and present the history of Ferris State University and other designated special collections.   The program documents the history of the university through appraising and managing records throughout their life cycle. In addition, the Archives identifies, collects, organizes , describes and makes available for research records  of sufficient historical, legal, fiscal or administrative value to warrant permanent preservation.  The Archives encourages the use of the collections by staff, students and other interested persons for research, teaching and to support staff in the performance of their duties.

Scope of Collection

Our focus for collecting includes the following five areas:

  • Ferris State University
  • Mecosta County, Michigan
  • Optometry in Michigan
  • Printing industry in Michigan
  • Vocational education in Michigan

For Ferris State University records the university collects in the following categories: administrative units and academic departments, Ferris affiliated organizations, faculty papers and alumni papers.   Within the first two categories (administrative/academic units and affiliated organizations) the archives collects comprehensively and broadly. The goal is to create the creation, development, priorities and activities of every administrative unit, department, school or college.  Affiliated organizations collections share this goal.  Examples include faculty bodies, student organizations, alumni groups and support groups.   For faculty papers and alumni papers, the Archives collects selectively.  The Archives staff will evaluate these categories on a case by case basis.

The Mecosta County, Michigan local history collection collects material relating to the history of Mecosta County, Michigan.  The Archives collects selectively in this category, and in cooperation with existing collections with local libraries and historical organizations. 

Part of Ferris State University is the Michigan College of Optometry- the first optometry college within the state of Michigan.  In addition to collecting the records of the college as part of the Ferris State University collection, the Archives will collect comprehensively records relating to the optometry field in Michigan included but not limited to association records, licensing boards,  Ferris related activities  and selected optometry practices.

The final two fields of the Michigan printing industry and Michigan vocational education are also topics which are vital to the development of Ferris State University identity.  The Archives will collect comprehensively records relating to these topics including but not limited to: association records, organizations, project records, publications and Ferris related activities.  The focus of the collections are Michigan based and no attempt will be made to collect comprehensively on a national scale.

Types of Records Collected

The following records are encouraged for transfer to the University Archives relating to Ferris State history:

  • Administrative and departmental Records
  • Audio/video recordings (University events)
  • Artifacts of historical significance
  • Biographical information
  • Committee/task force records
  • Event programs and planning records
  • Financial records (summary statements)
  • Governance and policy documents
  • Grants records
  • Masters theses by Ferris State University students
  • Maps, blueprints and plot plans documenting physical growth and development
  • Office files (correspondence, memoranda, subject files about projects, activities, function)
  • Images and video records (People, events or campus scenes/buildings)
  • Student records

*The Archives encourages submission of records in all format types, including those which were born digital.

Personal papers of staff/alumni and other individuals as identified through the collecting scope may be asked to submit papers.   These may include biographical material, correspondence, diaries, notebooks, classroom materials, research files, article drafts, published articles, audiovisual material, photographs and digital files.

Acquisition/Selection of Records

The Ferris State University Archives receives  records through office transfer and by gift.  Under rare circumstances, purchase of items or long term loans with a formal agreement may be a possibility.  All donors are required to sign the donation form or a loan agreement.  These documents will list any restrictions relating to the donation.  At this point, if a donor wishes restrictions either on use or disposition of the collection  if a later candidate for deacessioning, it must be put into the agreement.

If a donation is found to be not within the collection scope, or has excessive requirements in terms of resources, it may be turned down by the University Archivist. 

Some records may later be determined to be of marginal pertinence to the Ferris State University Archives or its associated collection.  The Archives will attempt to find a more suitable repository for the record, and if none is available, remove them from the collection.