5 Effective Ways Registrars Can Engage Students
In an article for The Evolllution, Doug McKenna, George Mason University’s registrar, exhorts registrars to think differently about the registration experience as a means of engaging students early in their careers and boosting the odds that they’ll complete their programs.
McKenna said, “The modern and future registrar must understand what their students need. They must engage with students, meet students where they are and provide the support students need.”
Typically, he says, registrars are so focused on their connections with faculty and staff that they may neglect critical connections with students. He offers five ways to improve student engagement and for a better student experience.
- Recognize that the registrar’s office is a service office. It’s easy to get bogged down in administrative minutia, McKenna says, but recognizing the role the office plays in providing support — for students, faculty, staff, and others — is foundational to making meaningful connections.
- Remember that it’s likely the first time for students, even if it’s the 300th for you. Registrars process a lot of paperwork, but what may feel like your 300th grade change request, McKenna notes, is likely the first for a student. Serving them well, he says, can “change their life.”
- Leverage technology to simplify and expedite interactions. There are, says McKenna, better ways to connect and process information and positive changes and developments in technology that can connect processes and make them more transparent. He advises, technology “should only be thought of as a tool to make the students’ experience better.”
- Gain campus-wide efficiencies by using expertise in the registrar’s office to aid in course creation, class setup, scheduling, and registration support — for both for-credit and continuing ed courses.
- Be prepared for the “comprehensive learner record.” This will broaden the concept of the transcript to tie together students’ learning experiences beyond credits to include extra- and co-curriculars, micro-credentials, experiential learning activities, and more.
Through all of these, McKenna says: “It’s incumbent upon us to make those experiences positive, and we can’t do that if we’re not thinking about the student.”
“The modern and future registrar must understand what their students need. They must engage with students, meet students where they are, and provide the support students need.”
University Registrar, George Mason University