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

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#SAFirstJobs–“Things might have been different, but they could not have been better. | This Side of Theory”

This has been the hardest contribution to a blog series I’ve written

July 21, 2011

“Yes, I’ll gladly accept the position, thank you so much for your consideration.”

“Start date? Well, my mother died 2 days ago…thank you…so I know that they want me to start ASAP, but I need some time to…yes, thank you…I can’t do anything before August 1. Thank you for your kindness, yes, I’ll be in touch with the department.”

Continue reading at: Things might have been different, but they could not have been better. | This Side of TheoryThis Side of Theory.

A Day in the Life of a Graduation Coordinator #dayinSA

What does my day look like?

As the Graduation Coordinator in the Registrar’s Office at UMass Boston, I manage all aspects of graduation (note, I did not say Commencement!) for Undergraduate and Graduate students. I report to one of the Associate Registrars, and have a team of three who help ensure the accuracy of student records, including degree audits, notes, transfer and test credits, and degree posting.

Continue reading at The Student Affairs Collective » A Day in the Life of a Graduation Coordinator #dayinSA.

#SAReflects–“Embracing the Wind”

One last re-blog from The Student Affairs Collaborative. This was my first contribution, reflecting on 2014.

To many people looking at the story of my life, 2014 wasn’t a phenomenally significant year—I didn’t move to a new institution; no changes occurred within the Registrar’s Office, or even at UMass Boston for that matter; my involvement in professional organizations maintains the status quo. Even my personal life has been fairly consistent.

Continue Reading at The Student Affairs Collective » #SAReflects Embracing the Wind.

#MySAPath–“Expecting the Unexpected”

It seems I like contributing to blog series, which I’m better at than keeping my own blog. This is another post to The Student Affairs Collaborative from January 2015 about my career path.

My student affairs path is not as neat as one might initially imagine. Some might even say I’m not quite on the same path as most other student affairs professionals. I guess only time will tell.

Keep reading at The Student Affairs Collective » #MySAPath – Expecting the Unexpected.

What IS Behind the Curtain?

In Time to let them see behind the curtain. Are we overselling a career in Student Affairs?, Tim St. John asked “What was your path to Student Affairs like?  Were you prepared for your work?  Any surprises?  Share your story.”

One of the concepts beaten into highly promoted in my Advanced Student Affairs Theory course was storytelling–our story informs who we are. So, when I went to answer Tim’s questions, I knew it would warrant more than just a comment.

My path was a little different from most. I discovered that Student Affairs was something I could actually do for a living about 6 months before graduation–before that, I just thought the staff I worked with on RHA and in the Campus Center just happened to fall into a pretty cool job. I didn’t have time to experience any kind of mentoring, let alone the deep mentoring Tim was able to experience. Once, as part of the Gay/Straight Alliance, the e-board was invited to meet with the Board of Trustees as part of a bid by the Campus Center & Student Activities to get more support–the biggest groups were given half hour meetings to discuss what we were doing with our money & how we benefited the school. This was probably the coolest thing I did as an undergrad, and gave me a little insight into how things work.

Higher Education is not all parties and icebreakers (for the record, I loathe icebreakers, and ‘woo’ is as far outside of my vocabulary as a word can get when one understands the meaning of a word). It’s not even all advising and mentoring students. For 5 years, I worked in benefits at Brandeis–I’m not sure I could have had less student contact, but everything we did was driven by student needs in staffing and faculty. Today, I work in Registration, and can safely say that I am the only person I know in this functional area (other than my counterparts and colleagues in other BU schools); even my Twitter feed is empty of other Registration people (as far as I know). Obviously people are finding their way into this area, but how?

Honestly, I’m happy I found this position as it’s MUCH more in line with my strengths and personality than a job in, say, Student Activities or Res Life would have been. But I can also honestly say I would not have thought this was “Student Affairs-y enough” if I hadn’t finished my MS in 2011 when the job market was so terrible. I’d like a little more student contact sometimes, but I get plenty, and most interactions allow me to put my education to work, actually helping students matriculate and proceed to graduation.

Student Affairs is a lot bigger than Res Life, Orientation and Student Activities, and future SAPros don’t often get to see these ‘hidden’ areas and duties until they are well-invested in the field with a master’s degree and suddenly tasked with creating a budget; or sitting in committee meetings for 3 days a week; or find that working in Orientation as a summer intern is way different than doing it 40 hours/week for 50 weeks a year.

How can we teach these skills to future SAPros? Should we? Do SAPros need a Masters in the field, or is there room for other educations levels/types?

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.