A light at the end of the tunnel

By James Keller

Though it became a one-man race, the selection of the next University of Calgary Registrar went on as planned last week.

Due to the upcoming retirement of Registrar Dr. Gary Krivy, the U of C Advisory Selection Committee for the Registrar was charged with selecting an individual to fill the position. The committee shortlisted two applicants who were invited to make a public presentation and attend meetings with various campus groups. Each had an opportunity to voice their thoughts to the committee.

"The process really gives the community an opportunity to hear what candidates would say," said Associate Vice-President Student Affairs Peggy Patterson. "The process is very important to students. It affects the way students access information."

One of the two finalists, David Hannah, Registrar at the Technical University of British Columbia, withdrew from the process prior to the public presentations. However, David Johnston, Senior Associate Registrar at University of California, Davis, went ahead with his presentations and meetings on Feb. 21 and Feb. 22. The committee does retain the right to turn him down.

"The selection committee met [when Hannah withdrew] to discuss what the options were," explained Patterson. "We made the decision to proceed with our evaluation [of Johnston] and developed several scenarios should he not be selected."

Students’ Union Vice-President Academic Nic Porco, who met with Johnston during his visit to the U of C, also stressed the importance of the open selection process.

"It’s important for a new registrar to make an impression-we’re the first line of defence," he said. "It gives us a better understanding of how they feel about students and how competent they are."

The duties of the Registrar include keeping student records, providing that information to students and faculty, interpreting and enforcing university regulations and developing services like the Infonet and Degree Navigator.

In light of these duties, Patterson emphasized the importance this decision will have on undergraduate students.

"Because of our commitment to ensuring the undergraduate experience is a positive one, we want to make sure the process is very important," she said. "Students are directly affected by what the registrar brings."

During his Feb. 21 presentation, Johnston stressed the importance of his role with students.

"The students that are coming in are service-oriented," he said. "Students are paying a lot more. People are making consumer decisions when they come to university and bring customer expectations with them."

Although few students attended the presentation, Porco is pleased that SU representatives were able to meet with Johnston.

"The position is pretty wide ranging," he said. "The main benefit for the SU is to give feedback. A lot of it is being respective to students, understanding what they are going through and compassion, which is often missing in a bureaucracy."

The Committee will make the final decision early March.

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