Unsuccessful search leaves questions about registrar position


by Peter Kaspari

After conducting a nation-wide search and interviewing five different candidates for the position, Simpson is back at square one after being unable to find someone to serve as registrar. The position was vacated when John Bolen, associate academic dean and assistant professor of philosophy and religion, stepped down to return to full-time teaching. Since then, Simpson has been searching for a full-time registrar as his successor. Last semester, David Wicklund was brought in as interim registrar. “David was hired on a short-term contract to help us in the fall to prepare specifically for the changes to the curriculum,” said Steve Griffith, senior vice president and dean for academic affairs. “We hoped at the end of the semester we would have a new registrar in place, but that didn’t work out.” According to Griffith, the search began in August and later extended in order to get a wide group of applicants. “We interviewed five people and offered the job to someone, who turned us down, so now we’re in kind of a regrouping mode,” Griffith said. In the meantime, Todd Little, director of Hawley Academic Resource Center, has been appointed acting registrar. “The responsibility I have been given is to essentially help oversee the activities within the registrar’s office,” Little said. “I provide guidance and help support the staff as needed.” In addition to his temporary responsibility of overseeing the registrar’s office, Little continues to serve as director of the Hawley Academic Resource Center. “I’ve been splitting my time between the two offices,” Little said. “I’m still learning to balance and prioritize what needs to be done between the offices.” Although Little is now working between two different offices, Kara May, assistant director of Hawley Academic Resource Center, said this is not affecting their ability to help students. “No services have been slashed,” May said. “We’re still here, but there may be times throughout the day where Todd may not be in his office. If there’s something major, he’s just a phone call away. Between me and Student Support Services, we’ve got everything covered.” As for the future of the registrar’s office, Griffith met with the office staff last Friday morning to discuss the next steps. They decided to continue with the registrar search as planned. Griffith said the difficulty with finding the right person has to do with not only their technical skills, but their personal skills as well. “The position of the modern-day registrar demands a person who has a deep understanding and sympathy for an academic community,” Griffith said. “Nowadays, they also have to have a pretty significant technical skill to manage the programming of the systems that we use. Finding that balance is the hard part, and so far we just haven’t found the right person.” Despite this, Griffith said Simpson is committed to finding the best person for the job. “We’re not going to settle,” Griffith said. “We’re going to hire a person that is someone we really think can do a great job. We’ve had good candidates, and they’ve been great people, but at this point we just think we need to continue looking.”

Little’s job as acting registrar will end once a permanent registrar is hired.