Evolution is a slow process according to scientists, measured in eons, not years. Sometimes change in the Registrar’s Office can feel like it ‘races’ along at glacial speeds too. Harold L. Pace, the Registrar at Notre Dame University, wrote an very interesting article for the most recent edition of College and University, called “The Evolving Office of the Registrar.”
He leads with a great quote by David Lanier, one that sums up my own experience:
Technology can turn the registrar into an invisible entity on campus. As faculty and students gain more direct access to data, there is less need to come see the registrar. Is the registrar a necessary position? Will the registrar disappear? (Lanier 1995)
Let me add that students and faculty not only have greater access to data, but also to services via the web (inter- and intranet). For example at Trinity Western University, students can register for courses online, make payments via online banking, view their schedules and invoices and statements via the student portal. They can also view and order their transcripts through the internet, and they are able to apply for graduation, re-admission, and numerous other things all without needing to leave the comfort of their own homes. This reduces the visibility of the registrar even further.
As you may have picked up from this blog, I – Grant McMillan, am on a bit of a program to make the position of Registrar more visible. I believe this is important because… well, you know the saying, “Out of sight – out of mind.” Too often, other areas of the university don’t even consider working with us because they simply forget that we exist. Yet someone has to make the admissions, course registration, payment, scheduling and records work for the university. Someone has to be responsible for the enrollment management goals of the university.
Read the article – it’s well worth your time. The journal is well worth the cost, as well. You can order it even if you’re not a member of AACRAO.