I’ve always been fascinated by the origins of the university registrar. The AACRAO Registrar’s Guide (Lauren, 2006, pg. 2) tells us it was originally created at medieval Oxford University in either the fourteenth or fifteenth-century to, “preserve the integrity, accuracy, and privacy of academic records; to interpret institutional and governmental polices [. . .]; and to efficiently distribute these records in full compliance with applicable policies, laws, and regulations.” For such an old profession, in some ways nothing has changed, and in some ways, everything has changed. The core mission is the same and probably always will be, but the day-to-day work and those institutional and governmental policies always seem to be changing. This is also true for those working in admissions. I’ve been in the Registrar’s Office at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for almost 10-years now, but a day doesn’t seem to pass without me saying to myself, “I’ve never seen that before.” So, the question is, how do we keep up? How do we make sure the educators are educated?
For me, the answer is easy: UMACRAO. Those of you who attended the fantastic 2019 conference in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, heard me refer to UMACRAO as “our university.” Few of us attended college knowing we would eventually work in registration or admissions and none of us majored in “registrar” or “admissions.” So, UMACRAO is our school. It’s our place to learn and keep up with the ever-changing higher education landscape while learning from amazing mentors who pass the knowledge of the field down from generation to generation.
I’m just as proud to be a student of UMACRAO as I am of my alma mater, Northern Illinois University and my current institution, Mount Mercy University. I, however, also have the same concerns about UMACARO as I do my own institutions: How do we recruit more members? How do we get returning members more engaged? How to we stay relevant as higher education changes? How do we better leverage technology? How do we justify our cost? These are all questions I will ask the executive committee to think strategically about this year.
The one thing I know without question is that we can’t accomplish anything without you. Active participation from members is what keeps UMACRAO healthy and moving forward. I understand that right now you might think you don’t have time or you don’t have anything to contribute. I certainly felt that way 10 years ago walking around my first conference, completely lost. I feel very fortunate that shortly after that conference I decided to volunteer and started this incredible journey I’m on now. I encourage you to start your own journey. Volunteer for a committee, write for the newsletter, present at the conference, send us ideas for the website, mentor a new member, bring a new member, it doesn’t matter how big or how small your contribution. UMACRAO will be better because you made the contribution and you will be better as well. I know I am. I often think back to our predecessors at those medieval universities and feel so thankful that they laid the foundation for our incredible field and had the forethought to document it, preserve it, and pass it down for future generations to improve. I also realize that someday we will be the predecessors that future generations will look back on. I think we have a tremendous responsibility to continue to preserve and improve the field not just for us but for those future leaders. We can do that through UMACRAO with your help. Come on the journey with me.
Lauren, B. (Ed) (2006). The Registrar’s Guide: Evolving Best Practices in Records and Registration.
Washington, DC: American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers.