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Appreciating the Registrar’s Office (#1101)

Topics/tags: Thank you notes, short

TL;DR: Our Registrar’s Office Staff are amazing. They’ve been working incredibly hard this summer to support our students and our faculty.
I just want to say Thank You to this amazing team.

I added the short note above after writing a much longer musing, including way too much context. Here’s the original.

This summer has been hard for everyone in academia. At Grinnell, we’re comparatively fortunate; while we’re also worrying about what the fall will bring, trying to plan for a hybrid college, dealing with questions from students, families, and colleagues, striving to maintain the health of our own families, and oh so much more, we’re not (yet) worrying about whether we will continue to be employed. I appreciate that Presidents Kington and Harris have made continued employment of all employees one of their priorities.

Even knowing we’ll still be employed, it’s been a hard summer, one that requires a great deal of extra work from everyone. Faculty are restructuring courses. A huge number of people are figuring out how to prepare for a Grinnell that supports community health with on-campus students and also gives our remote students a Grinnell-quality education. And then there’s the switch from semesters to terms, which is requiring a host of changes and even more communication.

Change is hard. Change out of your control is worse. Change amidst uncertainty is even worse. And then there’s the whole issue of the pandemic. A lot of us are grumpy, agitated, frustrated, perhaps even lashing out from time to time.

I think it’s time for us to take a step back and remember that the others we are working with are also stressed, agitated, frustrated, more. And they are working incredibly hard. So I’m going to add a few thanks and acknowledgments to my regular mix of rants, musings, ramblings, and more.

Today I’d like to express my appreciation for the staff of the Registrar’s office. I don’t know all that goes on in a normal summer at the Registrar’s office. I do know that they have to gather all the data on the new students and enter it into Colleague. I know that information comes in and dribs and drabs, so it’s consistent work. I expect they do a lot of planning. They probably handle some questions about spring grades and the effects of spring grades.

This summer, they’ve suddenly seen an immense increase in their workload as they’ve had to support the transition from semesters to terms. Once again, I don’t know everything they are doing. But I know that they have had to do a lot of immediate planning, to coordinate with various groups on campus, have needed to gather and regather data (e.g., Here’s how it looks best to distribute your classes between Fall 1 and Fall 2; please let us know if you want to change everything) and enter it in the system, to manage the complexity of getting the various Ellucian products to deal with a different model, to safely remove students from the registration system, to safely switch courses from Fall Semester to Fall Term 1 and Fall Term 2 (delete and re-enter?), and oh so much more. Soon, they will have to re-enroll students, paying attention not just to the courses they were previously enrolled in, but also to how to manage conflicts.

As far as I can tell, all of that has come at the same time as their normally busy work dealing with new students. And they’ve had to do it in a compressed timetable, facing the same regular changes in direction that all of us have faced. Oh, yeah, they’ve also had to deal with more questions, with angry letters from frustrated faculty, with confused parents and students, and more. I do not envy them this work. I hope the College has found ways to express its appreciation.

In any case, I’d just like to say a public Thank You to the incredible staff of the Registrar’s office. Thank you for the work you’ve done. Thank you for answering my questions. Thank you for supporting our College. Thank you for the work you will continue to have to do. I hope that you’ve received multiple letters of acknowledgement. I hope that you’ll get some time to yourselves when all of this is done.

Thank you.

Version 1.0 of 2020-07-20.