Registrars: Solving university crises (since at least 1910)

February 19, 2019
  • AACRAO Publications
  • Academic Policy
  • Academic Scheduling
  • Data Stewardship
  • For the Record
  • Identity Management
  • Professional Well-Being
  • Recordkeeping Compliance
  • Records and Academic Services
  • Reporting and Research
  • Student Academic Records and Academic Policy
  • podcast
Three cartoon figures work together to put out a fire with a stop watch visible in the background

Who says registrars aren't cool? No one who listened to the most recent episode of For the Record, that's for sure.

In episode 2, "History of the Student Record," podcast host Doug McKenna talks with Ethan Hutt, Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Maryland - College Park.

Kicking off the show, McKenna gives Hutt props for citing the Violent Femmes' song "Kiss Off" in his recent research. To wit, the lyrics state: "I hope you know this will go down on your permanent record," a line which offers punk culture insight into the real importance of "The Record:" what goes in it, who is in charge of it, and who gets to see it. That's a cool shout-out from one of the hippest bands ever, even if it is angsty and ironic.

From there, the conversation gets even more intriguing.

Registrars as problem solvers
Hutt studies the historical relationship between schools, the law, and education policy, and he identifies registrars as major problem-solvers as colleges and universities began to become more standardized in the early 20th century.

When looking at educational history -- especially the tools and metrics we use to describe, evaluate, and track the progress of schools -- registrars are front and center, Hutt says.

The podcast conversation starts with this early standardization of the record -- which occurs around 1910 (no coincidence that AACRAO was founded that year) -- and progresses through the major political, academic, technological, and social forces that affected the development of the student record since then.

Topics of discussion include:

  • The days when faculty kept grades a secret until graduation.
  • The evolution of the Carnegie unit.
  • The affect of transfer and mobility on transcripts.
  • How the G.I. bill impacted the student record.
  • The rise of the nontraditional student.
  • Recording informal education, competency-based learning, and testing.
  • The future of the student record.
Learn more and sign up to be alerted for new podcast releases.


AACRAO's bi-weekly professional development e-newsletter is open to members and non-members alike.