In Focus News

Changes for the registrar

“We have to have this information and we have to have these records. The question whether (or not) Dal can be doing some of that statistical analytic information for us.”

The departure of long time staff member Elizabeth Yeo signified the beginning of a restructuring process in the registrar’s office. A statement issued by the university shortly after Yeo’s Dec. 31 departure from the school explained how King’s will be consulting with a business analyst to see what aspects of the registrar’s office can be combined with Dalhousie.

(Photo: Jesse Laufer)

President George Cooper said that these aspects can probably be found in the offices’ data handling. Last year, an external review of the registrar’s office said it could be made more efficient by moving more “back office functions” over to Dalhousie.
Some of these functions include the storage and use of the personal data of students. Currently, the Dalhousie and King’s registrars use the Banner System to handle all that data – each student has a Banner number within this system that starts B00. This system sorts and stores data inputted by students as they register for university. Over time, the university adds in relevant information such as your major, minor and grades. That’s how Dal Online knows if you’ve met prerequisites or not.
According to Adriane Abbott, the advancement director, not all of this data is used only in the registrar’s office. Some it has to be exported and manipulated into new datasets. The registrar’s office is currently directing media enquiries to the advancement office.
“We have a tremendous amount of data reporting that we have to do (for) the government and also for registrarial purposes that isn’t about individual records, but general things, like how many students are from Nova Scotia, how many from Vancouver?” Abbott said.
“If all your students are coming from Nova Scotia you need to know that because you need to know where to direct recruitment funding and where to send recruiters.
“We have to have this information and we have to have these records. The question whether (or not) Dal can be doing some of that statistical analytic information for us.”
According to Jim Fitzpatrick, bursar and interim registrar, the process of consulting with the business analyst began on Jan. 15. Fitzpatrick didn’t know exactly what inefficiencies the school hopes to cure, what functions of the registrar will be moving to Dal, or how much money the university hopes to save in the process.
“It’s impossible to say until we have the work done.”  Fitzpatrick said he was familiar with financial end of the Banner system from his time at Dal, and the system is pretty efficient.
Although making the registrar’s office more efficient is part of the restructuring, the main reason for it comes from the need to cut costs in the face of falling government funding and enrolment.
However, according to Cooper, students shouldn’t worry that the registrars will be moving to Dal.
“This would have the effect of allowing people in our registrars office to concentrate more on student centric activities. Student centric activities being recruitment, admissions, advising and life after King’s.” said Cooper. “In other words, the kind of face-to-face more personal student centred work of the registrar’s office.”

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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