Advising to Graduation | ACPA

Three times a year, the Graduation Team in the Registrar’s Office sends several hundred emails informing students that they did not meet the requirements for graduation. The week we send the denials is inevitably filled with emails and panicked phone calls telling us “they didn’t know about Requirement X” or “Advisor Y told me I was ‘all set.’” Telling a student they didn’t graduate because of missing one or more classes is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my career. I can see the betrayal my students feel at the hands of their advisors and the school, as they  are often at a complete loss about what to do. I’ve had students cry, yell, punch my desk, lose a work VISA or job opportunity, beg, and even try to make deals with me and my team.

Continue reading at: Advising to Graduation | ACPA

Being Homeless: Or, Not Having a Functional Area

I am the Registrar Registration Administrator at the Boston University School of Social Work. Sounds like a fairly impressive title, right?

As those of us in Student Affairs know, titles are sometimes not totally indicative of what we actually do. Mine is actually fairly accurate to be honest. Where I find myself lacking in some way is that I often feel homeless when interacting with other #SAchat people. The functional areas which are closest are Academic Advising and Enrollment Management, but I’m at best on the fringes of most conversations as they tend to focus on literal advising and admissions respectively. I’ve also seen the Registrar’s office under Academic Affairs, which brings a whole new set of prejudices and confusions on both sides of the Student Affairs/Academic Affairs coin (and I believe we ARE both parts of the same coin, but that’s not really part of this post–I’m saving that for another time). To make this post more relevant, I’m assuming that Registrar is within Student Affairs as that is my training and how I view my current position*.

In a nutshell, I take care of everything from the day a student pays his/her deposit: on-board incoming students; track academic progress/success; plan semester schedules with the departments, then help the students plan their programs around that; grad review and tracking; maintaining student records; and updating/implementing policies/procedures to make things run more smoothly for students and the school. Honestly, I generally like what I do, and it’s well-suited to many of my skills and preferences.  It makes me wonder where the other registration-type people are; I’m the only one I know outside of my counterparts here at BU; it’s kind of lonely. Maybe there’s a #SAReg hashtag and I’m missing it (just checked–nope)? Does #EMchat or #AcAdv talk about reg issues when I’m not looking?

 

We talk a LOT within Student Affairs about functional area, but where can one make a home for herself when she doesn’t quite fit in? How does one reconcile a preference for one functional area with a  job in another one?

 

 

*For the record, I learned as I wrote this that CAS lists “Registrar Programs and Services” as a functional area for which they have developed standards, so we are considered a “thing”.  And then we have  American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers, which leads me to believe that professionally at least, Registrars count themselves within Enrollment Management.

Unexpected Learning from 9/11

Bates Complex at SSU, where I lived for 2 years
Image from SSU Website

Sometimes we don’t realize we’ve learned something until after the fact. Sometimes LONG after the fact. There are going to be plenty of 9/11 posts today, but as I took a walk on campus during lunch, I reflected back to this day 11 years ago when I was in my 4th year of undergrad at Salem State.

I hadn’t yet left for class when I found out, and my roommate came back early from her class to confirm that yes, this was happening and school was cancelled. I, like many others on campus, holed up in my room, alternating between the news and more light-hearted television when the news became too much to deal with. I was living in Bates Complex,  the upper-classmen apartments, and remember going up to the kitchen at one point & looking out the window into the courtyard. It was eerily empty, even for noon on a Tuesday. Then, a door across from me opened and a student walked out–he was dressed in fatigues and carried a bag on his back; the bag looked full.

As I wandered campus today, I wondered how many of the students I passed would have been doing the same exact thing if they had been students then. It’s a rare day around here when I don’t see at least one student wearing a military uniform, and those are probably not the (hundreds? thousands?) here who are, like the lone student at SSC back in the day, in the Guard and not as visible.  Then I began to wonder about how many students my colleagues and I are seeing today who have been directly affected by what happened. Did that student from 11 years ago ever return? If not, was it because he dropped out, or did he not return from wherever he was sent? Or was he so deeply damaged physically or mentally that he couldn’t return to his studies? If he did return: was he just lucky enough to not be shipped out? did he lose any buddies who weren’t as lucky? The questions are endless.

If I really want to pursue Academic Advising, I need to learn more about this population of students, to understand why that image continues to feature so prominently in my memory of the day. I have begun to understand why the need for specific Military & Veteran Affairs departments or personnel on campuses is so great. if my questions are innumerable, how many questions do Veteran students have?