Guest Blog II: New Perspective Continued

Grant says, “Hey folks, you must like Emily because you almost set the record (2 views short) for the most people reading “Who Wants to Be a Registrar?” That’s great! Here’s Emily again for Part II of her three part series.”


Well, apparently I did okay on my first blog, so the request has been extended to make a 3-part ‘miniseries’.  Part II will answer the question:

What do I do?

The Office of the Registrar is responsible for an awful lot!  I don’t think I realized just how much when I agreed to take on this position.  Among many other things, here are some of the ‘big rocks’ in my job description:

  • puzzle-solving – from putting together timetables and exam schedules to scheduling classrooms to figuring out exactly how a student’s course choice can possibly fit into their academic plan or sorting out a mess of courses that are cross-listed five ways.  I’m convinced that those who work in a Registrar’s office can be considered for honourary members of Mensa!
  • reports – this is a significant part of my job.  Not just running reports, but vetting the data, and being prepared to explain or defend the data.  This can sometimes be the source of a lot of pressure.  Sometimes it’s incredibly mundane… like scrolling through 30,000 lines on an Excel spreadsheet to locate all students who took an internship course so that we can ensure the University purchases the appropriate insurance coverage (ever had your eyeballs turn into rectangles? J)
  • graduation! – the highlight of a student’s academic career, and while it is a high-pressure time for our office which is very involved from determining eligibility of students to robe rentals and event planning, it’s also my favourite time as we get to celebrate a milestone with students.
  • the HR aspect – something I was completely unprepared for.  I knew I was accepting a management position, but I was unprepared for what that meant.  Thankfully I have a great boss who has been mentoring me in this.  His door is always open, and he’s full of great advice.  I have to give him kudos and since this is his blog, it seems like a good place to do it! 🙂
  • making a difference – this comes back to believing in the mission of Trinity Western University.  Sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of how my work fits into the bigger picture, or how it directly affects students (see bullets 2 and 4 above!).  But I, and we, help students to navigate their academic career…help to remove roadblocks to education.  Or, occasionally, put a carefully-placed roadblock in their way (for example, sometimes putting a student on Academic Probation will give them a wake-up call and help them to re-evaluate their life and make a necessary change).

There’s a lot more, of course, but this is supposed to be a blog, not a thesis!  One thing that I particularly enjoy is that every day brings something new.  Because we work with individuals, there always seems to be something I haven’t seen or heard of before.  I like this because it helps me to constantly re-think our policies and procedures to ensure they are helping our faculty and students, and not becoming red tape or roadblocks (see bullet 5).  And it also helps to keep things interesting!

So that’s it for part II.  Part III will elaborate a bit on what I’ve learned in the last two-and-a-half years in the Office of the Registrar.


2 thoughts on “Guest Blog II: New Perspective Continued

  1. Hmmm… pressure. Today’s a good day to ask about this as I’ve spent my entire day working on a report 🙂

    I think it comes in several ways. First, reports always seem to be urgent in terms of time. For instance, today’s report is one of two very involved reports that I was asked to do to track some important metrics. I was asked and given the details on Tuesday afternoon… and asked how quickly I could produce them, as important decisions are being deferred pending the results of these two reports (…but no pressure… 😉

    That’s another source of pressure: the data in some of the reports I generate inform some pretty significant decisions at the University. That’s a lot of power 😉 But it’s also a lot of pressure. That data MUST be accurate!

    And reports are always are subject to intense scrutiny and interpretation. That’s really two sides of one coin. Scrutiny doesnt bother me much on its own. As previously mentioned, I tend toward perfectionism, so I scrutinize my own work myself first. However, data within reports seems to be considered as ‘open to interpretation’. And while I can rest a little in knowing that I’ve done my work in ensuring both the data and the report are accurate, as report-generator, I frequently feel in the position of defending my work.

    Dont get me wrong — it’s satisfying too (at least when I am not scrolling through 30,000 lines of raw data! 🙂


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