- College registrars should widely engage with different efforts on campus, according to research recently released by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, or AACRAO.
- Registrars should be "actively involved in student engagement across the student life cycle," according to 79% of AACRAO members who responded to a survey.
- And 88% of respondents said registrars should be involved in strategic enrollment management.
Registrars traditionally touch core elements of college operations — course registration, lists of classes, records of student grades. AACRAO brands itself as representing a dizzying number of responsibilities, including records management, admissions, enrollment management, information technology and student services.
The association started looking at the role of the registrar on campus after higher ed software provider Modern Campus offered a sponsorship. In June, AACRAO asked its members for their opinion of what a "modern registrar" should be at their colleges. The association received responses from 922 people at 731 institutions and systems in eight different countries. Nine respondents then took part in a July discussion about being a modern registrar and staying student focused.
A resulting report argues that many people don't fully understand the role of the registrar but that the position can greatly influence academic affairs and student success policies. Registrars can access a wide range of data and use it to improve college operations, according to the report.
"A registrar may use data to help others make decisions about course offerings, the class schedule, student persistence, student retention, academic calendars and other academic-record-related processes," it says.
But registrars' traditional role is still the most important one, survey respondents said. Asked about the most important functions for a registrar to focus on, 86% identified academic records. This function far outpaced the next most common answers of policy at 61%, data stewardship at 38% and curriculum at 35%.
But strategic enrollment and student engagement polled highly as focus areas for the "modern registrar." AACRAO maintains that successful registrars are more than the gatekeepers of records and emphasizes institutions being student centered.
"The registrar’s portfolio is central to an institution and engaged in aspects of academic affairs, financial aid, data and technology, compliance and records management," Wendy Kilgore, senior director of research at AACRAO, said in a statement. "Through this portfolio they create, maintain and are continuously engaged in improving the student experience and student success."