|About the University
Western Washington University is an energized community with more than 16,000 students, 160+ academic programs, and six locations across Washington state. Western’s main campus is located in Bellingham, Washington, 90 miles north of Seattle and 60 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia. This coastal community of 83,000 is nestled between Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands and the peaks of the North Cascades. Western offers the student focus and faculty access of a smaller college, but with the academic choice, opportunities for research, multicultural diversity, and room to grow of a large university.
Western is recognized nationally for its successes, from being named the top master’s-granting institution in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years in a row by U.S. News and World Report, which also named WWU as one of the best public schools in the West for veterans, to its recognition as one of the most sustainable, green campuses in the nation by the Sierra Club.
Western’s goal is to build a stronger Washington by being an international leader in active learning, critical thinking, and societal problem solving, as evidenced by the university’s 7th place ranking among more than 600 master’s-granting institutions for the number of graduates who go on to earn a research Ph.D. from the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates. After its initial classification in 2010, Western was again one of 118 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification in 2020.
Western’s record for academic excellence is underscored by finishing third in the nation, tied with Stanford University, as producers of prestigious National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholars, third place among master’s-granting institutions nationally for Fulbright Scholars, and second in the nation among medium-sized universities sending graduates to the Peace Corps. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Academic Workplace report named Western as one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, winning honors in two categories: teaching environment and tenure clarity and process.
|About the Position
Western Washington University seeks its next Registrar. The successful candidate will be an experienced, innovative, and thoughtful leader who has a strong understanding of best practices in student registration and records, and understands the role of the Registrar in strategic enrollment management. Western’s Registrar will be capable of managing challenging and complex situations, interpreting policy, and contributing at both a strategic and tactical level to the work of the Division of Enrollment and Student Services and to the campus at large. While performing critical responsibilities for the university, the Registrar will focus on supporting the academic enterprise, advancing academic initiatives, creating an administrative structure that forwards student success, and promoting the University’s mission and vision. The fostering of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community is a cornerstone of Western’s mission. Western seeks a professional who is skilled in change management and communicates a vision for a Registrar’s Office serving a public university with an undergraduate student population of approximately 15,000, a growing graduate student population, and multiple locations.
Reporting to the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management (AVPEM), the University Registrar ensures the integrity, accuracy, and security of all academic and educational records of Western students and works with campus partners to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations, as well as those of other regulatory agencies. The Registrar provides strategic planning, direction, and supervision for the Registrar’s Office and manages all operations within that office, including the student information system, registration, scoring services, student academic records, degree evaluation and the awarding of degrees, commencement, student certification services, transcripts, athletic eligibility and certification, residency review, transfer credit evaluation, course scheduling, publications (schedule of classes, catalog, and university calendar), exam scheduling, and enrollment reporting and data. Oversight of certain tuition waiver programs, and residency classification are also among the Registrar’s responsibilities. The University Registrar serves as a member of the Enrollment and Student Services leadership team, contributes to strategic enrollment management (SEM) planning, and is responsible, in part, for the execution and evaluation of a number of SEM initiatives. The University Registrar also serves as the athletics certification authority; administers all functions of confidential student records, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA); supervises various institutional certification functions such as veterans’ benefit eligibility; leads the development of the academic infrastructure, to include secure administrative systems for maintenance and reporting of student and course information; consults on the development of and administers university academic and administrative policies affecting students and courses; manages a dynamic team of six direct reports and a total of 20 staff members plus a significant cohort of student employees, overseeing all training, supervision, and evaluation of staff; and develops and administers an annual operating budget of approximately $2.3 million.
Western is looking for a candidate with:
- Strong communication skills: interpersonal, written, and verbal;
- Effective interpersonal relationship management skills;
- Demonstrated calm, even demeanor in times of stress or situations of conflict;
- Knowledge of an enterprise-wide student information system and processes and management of that system;
- Demonstrated understanding and championing of the broad aspects of diversity among students, staff, and faculty;
- Demonstrated mindset of prioritizing student identities, inclusivity, access, and equity;
- Demonstrated ability to grow, develop, and mentor professional staff, while building a dedicated team;
- Successful record of interacting with professionals across disciplines;
- Significant experience in budget oversight;
- Ability to work harmoniously and collaboratively with students, staff, faculty, administrators, and other constituents;
- Strong understanding of administrative matters across higher education;
- Proven experience as a listener;
- Expert understanding of FERPA and data security;
- Experience leading on issues of the protection of confidential student records;
- Proven ability to understand the big picture before making a decision;
- Proven record of accountability and follow-through;
- Knowledge of non-traditional student populations (including transfer) and best practices for enrollment services for those populations;
- Proven focus on progress and orientation toward the future, staying abreast of new trends and best practices;
- Demonstrated ability to blend a vision for the future with a recognition of successful work and practices currently underway;
- Demonstrated track record as a problem solver; and
- Demonstrated ability to work in a shared governance structure.
- Provide executive leadership and oversight to all Registrar’s Office functions;
- Oversee the examination and validation of all aspects of student academic records and the accuracy of such;
- Establish effective relationships with faculty and academic partners across campus, collaborating on issues relating to curriculum, university policies, and other areas of Registrar responsibility;
- Oversee all commencement ceremonies;
- Ensure the accurate awarding of academic credit in accordance with university policy;
- Oversee centralized scoring services;
- Work closely and collaboratively with partners on campus to ensure appropriate security of data and protection of sensitive and personally identifiable information;
- Oversee course scheduling and exam scheduling;
- In coordination with the Faculty Senate and the Academic Coordinating Commission, maintain and publish the university catalog;
- Coordinate the publishing of the academic calendar and related calendars;
- Oversee the effective use of systems for student information (Banner), document imaging (Hyland OnBase), academic planning and degree progress (Degree Works), course scheduling (25Live), and university catalog (Curriculog), and other systems;
- Administer all functions relating to confidential student data, including FERPA training and FERPA compliance;
- Issue official transcripts and certifications, ensuring compliance with FERPA;
- Devise proactive initiatives, using data and systems, to assist in the overall effort to address challenges in retention and graduation rates, including the achievement gap;
- Create and maintain an environment that promotes diversity, equity, access, and inclusion;
- Supervise, train, manage, evaluate, and develop staff within the office;
- Advise and consult on academic policies, curriculum data management, and other academic matters on a regular basis, including with colleges and departments, the Provost’s Office, the Vice President for Undergraduate Education, the Graduate College, the Faculty Senate, Academic Coordinating Commission, and the Office of Continuing Education;
- Represent Western on a variety of state-wide committees and organizations in support of inter-institutional policies, agreements, and data management and reporting; and
- Manage the budget of the Registrar’s Office, which includes both funding from the state and from revenue generating sources.
In addition to the responsibilities outlined above, the division and the search committee have identified the following opportunities and challenges:
- Western’s enrollment has been growing in recent years, and the university is engaging in a strategic enrollment management planning process. The Registrar will play a key role in that planning process and a key role in the implementation of aspects of the plan. Of particular importance will be strategies targeting improvement to Western’s first year retention rates and closing the achievement gap among demographic groups in retention from the first to the second year of study.
- One result of recent enrollment growth has been a strain on classroom availability and other space challenges. The Registrar will play an important role in partnering with the academic units and governance structures to assess classroom utilization, facilitate classroom scheduling, and make best use of block scheduling. This is an ongoing discussion that must balance the varying needs of colleges and departments. The successful candidate will have experience partnering with faculty leadership to solve complex problems related to competing demands for resources.
- The Registrar will be expected to lead the Registrar’s team in their work with Enterprise Application Services (EAS) to support the upgrade of the student information system to Banner 9-Self Service. This is only one of several important technology-related projects that are currently underway, all of which require integration with Banner and leadership by the Registrar. Hyland On-Base is being implemented at Western, and the migration of documents from our discontinued document imaging system will be critical. The Slate CRM is being developed and rolled out and will require partnership with EAS and with the Registrar. Western’s enrollment growth has outpaced our systems capabilities. This is a time of significant change and strategic development of our technological systems on campus, and the Registrar will play an important role in that effort.
- The Registrar will need to be a true collaborator and a team player. The successful candidate will be a highly capable listener, with exceptional social intelligence and the highest integrity, who understands the importance of building coalitions. The Registrar serves an important function in linking Western’s academic and administrative environments. Across the university, there has been some data collection that has been localized, and there have been some offices and areas that have compartmentalized their work. The Registrar must establish relationships across all parts of the university in order to bridge data, systems, and operations. The Registrar will be most effective if committed to a culture of collaboration, partnership, and transparency.