Campus Spotlight: Office of the Registrar

There was plenty of uncertainty around what classes would look like this fall—would they be in person, fully virtual, a mix of the two? As decisions were finalized, the Office of the Registrar was key in executing the plans, often working under very tight deadlines to make the process as seamless as possible.

From changing the data and processes in the Student Information System to working with other units across campus on classrooms, grading, and courses, the registrar was responsible a range of tasks and had to report and share data to inform decisions on major changes.

“Our first priority was to make sure that support from our office never wavered,” said Amy Hammett, university registrar and director of student information systems and services.

Staff from the registrar’s office participated in workgroups to help inform decision-making. The office was also involved in efforts to support in-person and remote instruction, working with other schools and departments to come together beyond traditional respective responsibilities to make best use of the university’s inventory of potential teaching space. Then, as plans changed for both classes and classrooms, they had to evaluate the impact changes would have, respond and make adjustments, all while maintaining other day-to-day activities. 

Many of the changes the registrar implemented would have been no small undertaking during normal times, but short timeframes during the COVID-19 pandemic added an extra layer of complexity. More than 2,500 classes during summer and fall had to be updated to reflect a change in mode of delivery. Then, when the decision was made to limit residence hall occupancy, changes had to be made once again.

On a technical level, the registrar’s team had to ensure the Student Information System continued to work and enforce academic policies required by each school as students registered for courses. 

In addition to responding to course changes, the registrar’s office also had to determine how to get May graduates their diplomas following the virtual commencement celebration. The team not only worked to get more than 2,500 diplomas—plus special inserts—out to graduates, but also offered free certified electronic diplomas due to the delays the pandemic caused.

Now, as the office looks ahead to spring course registration, Hammett said the staff is at the ready and will continue to respond as they have throughout the pandemic.

“Our small but dedicated staff worked tirelessly to anticipate and respond to changes and also helped others at the university who were called upon to respond to COVID-related changes,” Hammett said.

Moving forward, the registrar’s office will continue to collaborate with several units across campus, including Undergraduate Studies, Student Advancement, school registrars, and University Technology. Hammett also expressed gratitude toward the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost Don Feke, in particular, for providing guidance and insight and seeking feedback from the office.