Executive Director Update - June 8, 2017

Yesterday, AACRAO released the report from the Transcript Disciplinary Notations Work Group. The association established the Work Group in April 2016 in response to growing interest from AACRAO members, new and proposed state legislation, and the increasing focus on public accountability of colleges and universities for the safety of their campuses. The Work Group, comprised of ten AACRAO members who represented diverse institutional types, positions, and geographic locations—chaired by Kristi Wold-McCormick, registrar of the University of Colorado Boulder, and coordinated by AACRAO Board member Lara Medley—was charged with developing guidance regarding the use of disciplinary notations on transcripts.

This topic is not new to AACRAO or the higher education community. In the 1940 AACRAO publication The Work of the Registrar, author Alma H. Preinkert references a 1932 American Association of College Registrars special committee on discipline on records and their recommendation that "the transcript should include disciplinary action that is still active at the time of issuing the transcript." While it was noted that student transcripts should only contain information about academic status, disciplinary actions that affected a student's ability to re-register were viewed as "academic" and therefore should be recorded on the transcript. The recommendation to place disciplinary notations on transcripts persisted in various AACRAO publications and communications into the 1970s.

Changing societal norms, the emergence of new technologies, and expectations for student privacy—including FERPA—have all impacted our views on the use of disciplinary notations on transcripts. Today, the issue of transcript notations is embedded in the broader discussions of campus safety, particularly concerns about sexual assault. Two states now mandate the use of disciplinary notations on transcripts and numerous other states are exploring the issue.

The recommendations from the Work Group provide guidance to higher education institutions on how to address disciplinary notations on transcripts and the various options that institutions have at their disposal for notification purposes. Moreover, in addition to attempting to standardize practices on this issue, the Work Group also strives to promote fairness for all students involved in violations, for both victims and offenders.

For more information, please join us for a live, free webinar on Thursday, June 22, 2-3 PM ET to discuss final report recommendations, implications for institutions, and AACRAO next steps.

Many thanks to the Work Group for their efforts and insights on this important issue. I encourage you to read the report and hope that it will inform discussions on your campuses. AACRAO will continue to monitor this issue at the state and national levels and will keep you informed as the landscape continues to evolve.


Mike Reilly