The faculty perspective on collaboration with registrars

by Jon Jump, Associate Dean of the College and Registrar, Wabash College


Among many essential components for lasting success in a registrar’s office is a reputation for positive and productive collaborations with faculty.  April Hay, Indiana State University Registrar, facilitated an insightful discussion panel for an audience of registrars on “The Faculty Perspective” at the 2016 IACRAO Conference with the help of two faculty guests:  Dr. Marcos Fernandez, Associate Dean and Director of Academic Programs in the College of Agriculture at Purdue University, and Dr. Robert Guell, Professor of Economics and Interim Chair of Social Work at Indiana State University.   


Changing dynamics at all types of institutions are resulting in corresponding adjustments to organizational structures and reporting lines, enhancing the importance of fostering constructive relationships between faculty and administrative staff.  Drs. Fernandez and Guell treated their audience to an array of wisdom garnered from experience at their respective colleges, delivered with candor and humor.  Their advice for registrars included:

  • Present new ideas that will require faculty action and buy-in by rolling them out with many opportunities for pre-emptive action, across many levels.

  • Avoid talking about new initiatives as though they are already a done deal.  There are few ways to lose faculty support faster than to give the impression that their input will not make a difference.

  • It pays to respect the idea that faculty believe, rightly or wrongly, that they “own” the curriculum.

  • People will figure out the line of communication within an organizational structure that works for them, whether or not it follows the defined organizational chart.

  • Let someone else work out the bugs.  Faculty will quickly grow tired of working through the rollout of a new program still in need of significant fine-tuning.

  • Understand that they, like you, have principles that are dearly held.  Sometimes their principles and yours may be in conflict and it does not mean that one of you is wrong.

  • Be patient with colleagues.  Allow people to do what they are good at, and avoid forcing them to do what they are not.


Thanks to IACRAO, April, and Drs. Fernandez and Guell for a valuable session on ways to enrich the common work of faculty and administrative staff.