One of the chief jobs of the Registrar is to manage university data, particularly data related to students. It follows that we get a lot of requests for data and reports. I’ve written before about how we can lead with data
One way we can lead through data management is by helping to ensure that other departments that require student data are able to get what they need. For example, just yesterday I was working with our Financial Aid department because one of their staff discovered that a student’s grade point average she was working with didn’t match the transcript grade point average. According to her records, the student wouldn’t have been eligible for financial aid. This could have had serious implications for that student. So we asked some questions and worked with the IT department to determine the best way to get the proper data.
Doesn’t this seem a little obvious, though? Isn’t this pretty basic?
Well, yes and no. It is our job to provide the university with the data it needs to do its work well, and on that level it is very basic. But we work in very human organizations, and I’m regularly reminded that humans are problem solvers by nature who will often seek what seems to them is the easiest, most straight-forward solution possible. Yet our organizations, and therefore our data, are very complex. In their eagerness to solve a problem, people don’t always choose the best solution. After all, how can they best choose when there are thousands of data points which they don’t collect and only have vague ideas about anyways?
Here’s my tip.
If you are like me, your brain is probably wired with the default switch that says “out of sight, out of mind.” If the Registrar is never in sight, how do you expect to be thought of when a problem needs a solution? However, if I’m walking around to other departments on a regular basis, I get a chance to be “in sight, on the mind”. People see me and say, “Oh, you’re the Registrar – maybe you can help.” This is the point of that most scientific management theory: Managing By Walking Around.
It’s a highly technical theory…
If you’re around, you can be included. If you’re not around, well, hopefully people will think to call you before they try something. But I wouldn’t count on it. If you are concerned that this might be a waste of time (this is a common complaint about this management theory), consider this: if you’re part of the solution, when push comes to shove there will be supporters in your camp. If you’re not part of the solution, or you’re constantly too late to be able to do anything, you’re not exactly doing the work of a leader. When push comes to shove… <ominous music plays in the background>
Here’s to being part of the solution. Here’s to you, Leader!