Over the course of the last 14 years I have both served as a Registrar and conducted several dozen registrar’s office reviews as an AACRAO consultant. It is with this perspective that I offer the following.
An external review provides another set of eyes on the complex and far reaching practice wheelhouse associated with the registrar’s office. There are many reasons we get asked to provide an external perspective on policy, practice, staffing and use of technology. Sometimes the request is based on a goal of the administration to move a particular agenda forward by helping the institution understand the road blocks to change and serving as a sounding board for those involved in the processes. Other times, we are engaged to help an institution streamline their business processes or evaluate the use of technology compared to other institutions.
One of the most common parts of these types of consulting engagements is the opportunity to work with the staff and help them learn how to identify policy and procedural roadblocks and pinch points which when addressed increase efficiency and student satisfaction with the service provider. More than one institution has been able to take the observations and recommendations provided in the report and leverage them to reconfigure staffing, gain buy-in for funding for additional technology implementation resources and update policy to reflect leading practice.
Another type of engagement is where the person requesting the review is looking for someone to confirm that what he thinks needs to be done is, in fact, a reasonable and good idea – a touchstone of sorts. These engagements are meant to reaffirm what is being done well and provide a broad-based experiential perspective on what could be improved upon and why. To be clear, there is no “one size fits all” relative to how a registrar’s office should operate or be staffed. However, there is value in learning what other institutions are doing well and how those leading practices could be applied at your institution.
The final type of registrar’s office review is the most rare of engagements, the routinely recurring review. Institutions that engage in this type of review apply the same type of logic of an external academic program review to institutional services as well. That is, the institution sees value in an external perspective even if nothing is going “wrong” or needs to be “changed” but rather just checking in routinely to learn how their unit functions relative to others in the field. If you have interest in learning more about a registrar’s office review, please visit this page
If you have any questions about Registrar’s Office reviews through AACRAO, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-355-1056.
by AACRAO Senior Consultant and Director of Research Dr. Wendy Kilgore