As summer rolls on, Spring Convocation comes to an end and life on campus slows down, the Office of the Registrar is gearing up for some extra busy months preparing for the Fall Term.
The office works as the circulatory system of Brock, ensuring the University is running smoothly on both the front lines and behind-the-scenes, and encompasses almost every aspect of student life, such as admissions, academic advising, answering Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) questions and graduating.
Since it has a hand in almost every aspect of student life, when the rapid switch to online learning began to complete the Winter Term due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team went into overdrive. For example, when the University announced the unprecedented grade change options because of disruptions due to COVID-19, the Record’s department were responsible for manually processing more than 3,800 individual grade changes on a tight schedule to align with Convocation deadlines.
“Over the past few months, every office has needed to rethink processes and service delivery while maintaining a commitment to customer service, academic integrity and confidentiality,” said Geraldine Jones, University Registrar and Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Services. “Our teams have needed to find creative ways to service students through chats, online appointments, emails and virtual calls, and in many cases, were the first units at Brock to implement some of these technologies.”
With the implementation of the physical distancing guidelines in effect, a maximum of five staff members from the Office of the Registrar have continued to work on campus to complete tasks that cannot be done virtually, such as mailing out offers of admission and student transcripts.
Staff members have also been focused on developing virtual alternatives to in-person events such as Spring Open House and Convocation. However, the team’s main focus is now on the upcoming Fall Term.
“The Scheduling team began to work with each Faculty to develop a plan for the fall that is in line with Public Health and University guidelines,” said Jones. “Looking ahead to the Fall and Winter Terms, that timetable includes about 11,500 individual components (lectures, labs and seminars) which need to be scheduled for asynchronous and synchronous learning.”
For the limited in-person classes that will take place in the Fall Term, new guidelines are being created including room capacity changes and opportunities for professional cleaning and disinfecting.
“Each unit has stepped up, whether it is Scheduling in re-constructing the Fall timetable in record time or Brock Central being available to answer questions from students and parents,” said Greg Finn, Provost and Vice-President, Academic. “Everyone is to be commended for the effort put into maintaining normal functions.”
Preparations are also in motion for units within the Office of the Registrar, such as Brock Central and Academic Advising, who are working through what in-person services can be provided, while Recruitment is working through what their usual on-and off-campus activities will look like in these unprecedented times.
“All functions of the Registrar’s Office were disrupted as a result of the pandemic,” said Finn. “However, the continued operation of the office is a testament to the commitment of the staff to ensuring their services did not adversely impact the University being able to deliver on its mission and vision.”