As students scramble to finalize course schedules, the Office of the Registrar is instituting a new system designed to offer more support to faculty and students.
The reorganization of the office into two units — those who support faculty and staff, and those who support students — has contributed to a smoother-than-usual start to the semester, said Interim Registrar Eileen Quinn. Under the old system, the staff served either the Graduate School or Yale College. Quinn said she hopes students notice the improvements, but none of the ten students interviewed said they had yet noticed any changes in the quality of services — though those students also said they have been satisfied with the Registrar’s Office overall.
“People are able to specialize more and respond more quickly to questions and issues as they focus on their area,” said Jill Carlton, who retired from her post as university registrar Jan. 4 and was a leading force behind the reorganization.
Quinn said she realizes that students would rather not “hoof it” to the Registrar’s Office in the first place, so she plans to continue to research ways to provide information for students online.
Shifting responsibilities, a physically rearranged office, and a new training room have altered how staff approach their work. Several staff members have physically switched offices so that student services staff can work in closer proximity to the reception area, where students enter with questions. Before the reorganization, two receptionists fielded questions, Quinn said, and had similar bases of knowledge.
Now, should a receptionist field a question and be unable to answer, that person can refer the student to the appropriate employee. Ruben Roman, who left his post as Department of English registrar in October to become assistant registrar, said he likes his proximity to the reception area.
“This affords me a better position to [help] the assistants at the front desk with any issues students might have that require more in-depth assistance,” he said.
Zoe Egelman ’13 said she did not notice any changes at the office when she visited last week to pick up a transcript, but most students interviewed said they have not had to reach out to the Registrar’s Office often.
“I haven’t really interacted with them very much,” said Zach Groff ’13.
While student support services focuses on improving information flow, the second unit is working to develop new online systems to streamline academic administration and train staff to use the new technology.
In December, one of the department’s offices was turned into a technology training room for departmental registrars, new employees, and even veteran administrators. Quinn said the room will eventually house six computers facing a large screen for instructor use. Associate Registrar Daria Vander Veer ’87, who oversees academic support for faculty and staff, said this semester that the training room was helpful in educating department registrars about an online system for managing and paying teaching fellows.
“There are lots of online tools with increasing complexity and increasing applications,” Vander Veer said. “It’s important that they know what they’re doing.”
Quinn said the new training room, along with the rest of the reorganization, was relatively inexpensive. Ruben and new administrative assistant Chris Pullen were hired as a part of the reorganization, but both replaced employees who had left and did not increase the size of the staff.
Carlton said an administrative assistant was needed because she found herself spending much of her time doing clerical work. Pullen, who officially joined the office Monday, will handle course proposal forms and all communication for the registrar and her staff, Quinn said, adding that composing mass e-mails consumed much of the staff’s time.
Yesterday’s snow kept all Registrar’s Office staff home except for Quinn, who said she manned the reception desk.