S4E8: Moving from a Small School to a Big School

Doug McKenna |
November 15, 2022
  • AACRAO Publications
  • For the Record

Moving from a Small School to a Big School

There are many different types of institutions of higher education in the United States, and making a shift from a small institution to a large institution can feel daunting or even overwhelming. Four registrars who have made that shift at least once (or more) in their career share their insights on that experience along with what they learned at the smaller institution and what they wish they would have known earlier in their career. And finally they share words of advice for newer registrars or people who are working toward becoming a registrar.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bigger is not necessarily better--there are many fine people doing important work at small institutions; this episode is not an advertisement for large institutions;
  • A small institution may give you the opportunity to be exposed to a significant number and type of responsibilities, take advantage of this and learn as much as you can;
  • A large institution may require different skills to navigate, and take time to learn the culture and what they expect of the registrar position at that institution--each institution is different, regardless of size;
  • You may have to move around to find opportunities for advancement; “you may have to move out to come back”;  
  • Keep an open mind, master the art of graceful recovery, have a support group, get uncomfortable to keep growing; get involved and say yes to opportunities. 


  • Catherine Mund, University Registrar, University of South Florida
  • Julia Pomerenk, Assistant Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management and University Registrar, University of Oregon
  • Kelley Brundage, University Registrar, Kansas State University
  • Paul Robinson, Associate Vice Provost and University Registrar, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

References and Additional Information:

  • Small College Listserv:
    This Google Group is for members who are registrars at small colleges. To join send an email to <scr-l+subscribe@aacrao.org>. After sending a message to this address you will receive an automated reply from Google asking you to confirm your request. In order to join the group, you must reply to this message to confirm the request.

Core Competencies:


Business blog about moving into a big company: https://zapier.com/blog/starting-at-a-big-company/