In the first of a new series that focuses on non-faculty departments at Carrington College this month we fixed our spotlight on the Registrar Department. We spoke with Beth Barilla, National Manager Registrar Operations – Academic Affairs, about the role of a registrar and how you, the students, benefit from their activities. Beth is new to Carrington having joined us in June, but she has been in the field for 30 years, and brings a passion for education and huge experience to the role.
So, Beth, before we get started, tell us a little about your position?
“Each local campus has a campus registrar where the students can come in and request services. As National Manager of Registrar Operations, I’m responsible for the registrars at each of our 11 Carrington College campuses. I’m the National Registrar, so in addition to managing a team of about 25 people, I create policies, procedures, job aids, systems, things like that…all behind the scenes.”
Can you tell us what a campus registrar does?
“Their primary role is to support the students through their lifecycle on campus. They are the glue that holds everything together, and the gatekeeper that makes sure that a student’s academic records are compliant, and accurate. They support the students by creating their academic records, they make sure that attendance and grades are accurate as they are posted in the student system. They issue student schedules, and issue official transcripts after graduation for licensure or employment. They can do degree audits to show how students are progressing and they can assist the students with technology issues, via the Students’ Portal for example.”
How many people will be on the campus registrar team?
“It depends on the size of the campus; each campus has a registrar, but some larger campuses may also have an assistant registrar, as well as administrative help. There are about 20 to 25 people in my team across the 11 campuses. Some campuses only have one person, but some of the larger campuses may have as many as 3 in the team.”
How does a student first meet the campus registrar?
“Students are introduced to the registrar during their orientation after enrollment; the registrar will visit the group orientation to outline the services that particular campus can provide to them.”
What access does a student have to the registrar?
“A student can walk into the registrar’s office and request services as needed; so generally the registrar is available to students and faculty to help at any time; their door is always open.”
What are some typical questions that students ask of their registrar?
“It’s really quite varied, but I would say that the most common questions are things like: ‘Has my instructor posted my grade yet?’ ‘When is my next class?’ ‘What does my schedule look like for my next session?’ ‘How do I get a transcript?’ ‘I’m getting ready to graduate, what do I do?’ Those are the kind of questions we get…”
Does the campus registrar monitor a student’s academic progress?
“Yes, they do. For example, if a student is experiencing academic difficulties, the campus community will reach out to the student and help explore if there is anything the school can assist them with, to help them to be a successful student.”
Can Carrington graduates still utilize the services of their campus registrar?
“Absolutely – Carrington Alumni continue to have access to their campus registrar. For example, if a graduate is looking to move on to another academic institution to continue their education and needs an official transcript for the new institution, the registrar’s office would provide that service.
The same is true if an alumni is looking to gain licensure for employment in their field, and they need to have official documentation of the classes they have taken, that would be done via the official transcript that the registrar would provide.”
How does the registrar job at Carrington differ from the role at a university like ASU?
“It’s quite different because we have a rolling population of students at any given time. Our registrars really need to be nimble to service our students at all different points in their college lifecycle.
As an example, today a Carrington registrar could be enrolling a student who is starting their program next week, but they could also be registering a student who is changing their program mid-session, as well as graduating a student from their program. They are working on different aspects of a student’s record at all times.
At a 4 year school at this time of year, the registrars know that it’s Fall, so new students are coming in, so they can put on their ‘new student’ hat and almost disregard the rest of the community for a couple of weeks. We don’t have that ability; we’re constantly serving the student community from all different levels regardless of what time of year it is. Honestly I think it’s amazing how nimble our registrars are.”
It sounds like an interesting job; if someone wanted to become a registrar, what attributes and qualifications do they need to have?
“They need to have excellent customer service skills because they are servicing a wide variety of individuals – students, faculty and alumni. They also need to be extremely detail oriented because, as I said earlier, they will be the gatekeeper of vital academic records. Their work needs to be pristine.
They also need to have a great knowledge of academic programs, understanding the rules and regulations behind the programs too. They need to have a passion for education, for servicing a community of students from a non-public viewpoint. And by that I mean, most of their work is invisible until something goes wrong. The registrar is the backbone of the student community.
There is no particular degree or credential required, but a registrar generally needs to have an undergraduate degree because they are advising students on academic programs, and they need to have that familiarity.”
Thanks for your time Beth; I think we all have a better understanding of the role a registrar plays in campus life and of their importance to student success at Carrington College.
Don’t forget that a campus registrar is there for you on your campus, so be sure to take advantage of the services they offer.
Program availability varies by location.