by Tina Falkner, AACRAO President; Director, Office of Student Finance, University of Minnesota
Carla Boyd (Registrar, University of Minnesota – Duluth [UMD]) and Ken Myers (Registrar/Associate Professor, University of Minnesota – Crookston [UMC]) successfully combined levity and data usage/visualization to help attendees understand ‘the role of the registrar.’ Both presenters shared real-life tools they have employed on their campus to enhance understanding, compliance and collaboration with campus partners (even with faculty). Both campuses have used readily available institutional tools (including Google G suite's Site, Analytics, and Data modeling tools and Microsoft Excel with conditional formatting) to easily, securely and with "0" financial resources, deliver important operational information and data to their campus communities. In higher education's changing landscape, registrars must embrace transformation, educate ourselves, and be the "peer coach" of our faculty, staff and administration as well as be the academic "referee" in order to best meet the needs of current and future students.
Based on repeatedly-asked questions and time-of-year-relevant information, the non-public Google site at UMD put important and often disparately located student records information at the fingertips of faculty and staff of the UMD campus. Simply putting this information in one easily accessible location reduced the the faculty support workload not only for registrars but for departmental support staff. Additionally, surfacing standard classroom utilization and occupancy data in Google Data Studio allowed the UMD facilities department to quickly assess impact and generate solutions in the middle of the night when a heavily used building was suddenly unavailable which impacted hundreds of classes and thousands of students. UMC employed the simplicity of Excel to highlight compliance (or lack-there-of) with institutional policies; even though not a direct driver, these spreadsheets brought out competition and transparency among different campus academic divisions and resulted in dramatically increased compliance.
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