Adding Value

Yesterday I chronicled my experience with someone who was slightly upset that I was a gate keeper – actually, I think he was upset because I said he had to abide by a university policy that he didn’t particularly like, and he wanted to go over my head to someone who could “really make a decision.” 🙂

I wanted to follow up with a discussion about how to keep the Registrar’s profession from being thought of as simply a rule-following, or gate-keeping position. I mentioned something about adding significant value as a partial solution.

How do you add significant value?

I think the Registrar’s position is uniquely situated in the university or college such that we have access to a ton of data and student  records, and is also a key customer service point. We’re often responsible for everything from admission to graduation, with a large portion of strategic enrolment management under our responsibility. We often have a very good idea how decisions might effect students and enrolment trends. In this position, adding significant value means offering our research abilities and our experience to influence decisions and policies.

An example of this might be if you notice graduation rates decreasing. Perhaps the time it takes students to graduate from a particular program, or college, or area has been slowly increasing, or students simply aren’t graduating at the same blistering rate they were three years ago. When program reviews are being implemented, do you insert yourself into that review process? Is your data part of the review?

Another example might be when you notice that the number of students transferring to your university or college has dropped. Is your system robust enough to know where the decline has occured? For us at TWU, we’ve noted a very specific decline in transfer students. As you likely know, 5 colleges in the Province of BC suddenly found themselves being newly crowned as universities. These schools started as two-year feeder schools for universities or as diploma-only schools. Now they’re offering 4-year degrees and their students are not transfering to the traditional universities like they used to. We know this and have specific numbers that demonstrate it. Could you track that information? What will you do about it? I’ve made the Ministry of Education in BC aware of it, and our senior management is aware of this and as a result, we’re modifying our transfer policies and practices to respond. I’m not sure what, if anything, the Ministry will do – I can’t control them – but they need to know the effect of their decision (or the Premier’s decision).

How do you add significant value? How do you use your unique placement to influence decisions and decision-makers? Share your stories! Help us all bring more value to those we work with.



3 thoughts on “Adding Value

  1. Another “value add” for Registrars is functioning as institutional memory. Through personal memory and by record keeping, we can often function to remind others what decisions we made about courses, programs, recruitment, financial aid and so on, and why we made those decisions.

    I’ve been at King’s for 20 years now, and frequently find myself in this role. Recently, for example, a proposal was made to accept a certain institution’s degrees for admission to our BEd after-degree. I recalled our specific definition of what were acceptable degrees, and was able to document that decision as part of that program’s accreditation. (From 1994! — why do these things stick in my brain?)

    I don’t think this role, however, is limited to those of us who have been in our positions for a long period of time. Our offices and systems should allow us to retrieve this kind of information as needed by the institution even if we are new in the role. By so doing, we can help our institutions avoid missteps, and to stick close to our core purposes.


    1. Thanks Glenn. I agree. I often refer to the Registrar as a hub of a wheel with spokes going out to all parts of the institution. That puts us in just the right position to be the institutional memory. But back to 1994!? Wow, you have quite the memory!


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