AACRAO congratulates Rebecca Mathern, recipient of the AACRAO Research Grant

Rebecca Mathern, University Registrar at Oregon State University,  is the inaugural year recipient of the AACRAO Research Grant.  The grant consists of a $2,000 stipend to be used towards the completion of an advanced degree. Mathern is undertaking her Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy work at the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University.

Mathern is researching the role that upper-level, non-executive managers play in a shared governance model. According to Mathern, most research on shared governance looks at presidents, faculty, regents, trustees, and board members, but doesn’t speak directly to the role of administrators who are engaging with faculty on the detailed work--specifically, the role of the registrar in curriculum management.

“Faculty are making decisions based on the information they have, but they only see one slice of the pie,” Mathern said. “Registrars see all the students who have problems resulting from the way the institution decided to set up rules regarding curriculum. This isn’t necessarily problematic course content, but repeat rules or course listings -- the administrative pieces of the curriculum that can have a negative impact on students. If registrars can be part of the conversation, that can help faculty understand the impact of curricular decisions on students and make decisions that are the most advantageous to students.”

This winter, Mathern will send out surveys to registrars and curriculum leaders at 196 large, four-year public research institutions, and she will present her findings at the 2018 AACRAO Annual Meeting. She has also contributed two chapters to AACRAO’s book on the subject.  

“I’m so pleased to be recipient of this grant,” Mathern said. “I’m very excited that my research may be able to bring evidence to bear on this topic. I think all registrars can have an impact working with faculty within the shared governance models used at their institutions.”

The 2018-2019 research grant application process will start in May of 2018.