Random Rarities for Registrars

In the arcane world of registrars, there are some issues that arise that you know aren’t life-and-death but for which you would like to provide solutions that help and won’t create more work for you, your colleagues, or students. Sometimes it helps to have input from someone who’s gone before you and made all the mistakes (arrows pointing at this guy) so that you don’t have to duplicate them. In this spirit, I’ve created a new topic category I’m calling “Random Rarities for Registrars.” I will include a feedback mechanism for you to share your own solutions to these little problems so that our readers can benefit from other solutions that are better/easier/simpler/smarter than the ones I propose. The first issue I’ll tackle was raised by a colleague of mine in Vancouver, who asked:

“I have a situation where a student is needing us to re-issue a graduation certificate.  I am wondering if you have encountered this scenario and what guidelines should be applied; i.e. who has to sign?  Original signatories?  Original dates? Etc.?”

I’ve managed this two different ways over the years, but have come to realize that only one way is sustainable for the long-term. Years ago, when I first started out as a Registrar, the school (Briercrest College) kept a small pile of templates from old degree parchments under lock and key. These had all the original signatures in place and all we had to do was enter the name of the program and the date it was awarded. Eventually (you smart people saw this coming didn’t you?), the pile ran out and we couldn’t replicate the documents any longer. But we did our best to replicate them further by trying to get the original people (if they were still alive and available) to sign! Seriously. I’m a slow learner.

I don’t know who shook me awake, but someone must have. I saw the error of my ways and took the much easier route of reprinting without worrying about the original signatures. Now we tell students that we can provide a replacement document with the original date but we cannot always provide the original signatures if the people are no longer in the relevant positions. Also, because it is quite an important document we require students to sign a waiver that they have lost the original, and we charge a relatively hefty sum of money to replace it. It’s amazing how many of them, after hearing about the waiver and the cost, remember that they left it at mom’s. I think some of them assume it’s easier to order a new one than to ask mom to dig through that musty old pile of boxes in the basement for the original.

Here’s where I would like your input:

I suppose we could go the route of some institutions that only ever provide one document for students, and never replace a lost or stolen degree parchment. That seems overly hard-nosed to me. I don’t think it hurts to offer a reprint service with appropriate controls in place.

Does your school have a completely different take on this topic? If so, leave a comment!

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