“Graduation in July 2006. Hallelujah! Thirty two more days,” said Registrar Connie Seymour during a recent interview about the trials and triumphs which she and fellow staff members have endured since returning to New Orleans with Dillard University.
Seymour spoke openly about some of the challenges which have transpired in the Registrar’s Office.
One such challenge is transferring the mass amount of grades and credits for students who studied at other institutions for the fall semester of 2005. “We’ve been getting many transcripts and that’s with two semesters back- to- back, and we also have to do audits and have everything ready for seniors to graduate,” said Seymour.
Staff members continue to fulfill duties
There were also concerns establishing how grades and credits would be transferred from the other institutions. The initial recommendation was to bring over the grades and courses so that grades factored into the GPA. However, that was not possible because the system could not handle bringing in the various course names and numbering format, said Seymour. “We accepted the credit hours and there is a notation which states what grades students made at other institutions but it does not affect their GPA.”
Another duty which Seymour will undertake is to come up with a procedure of issuing duplicate degrees for those who lost theirs due to Hurricane Katrina. The challenge will be securing the permission of all living presidents to scan their signature so that they can be applied to the degrees issued during their reign. Another challenge is to find out what she has to do to legally use the signatures of the deceased presidents. The process also entails the typing and printing out of degrees.
”We do not just service the students who have returned to Dillard but also graduates who have been affected by the hurricane,” said Seymour
“It’s been a challenge. We have lot more work to cover and less staff to do the job,” she continued.
Since the hurricane the department has been understaffed with the original six member group now reduced to four.
Staff members optimistic about the future
The office is currently staffed with Seymour; Paul Mortimer, administrative systems analyst; Aletha Barnes, supervisor of student services, and Arnelle Dykes a graduating senior who is working full time as the transcript-coordinator. The other roles of receptionist and Assistant to the Registrar are being filled by the four staff members. Most members are relatively new with one who joined the team in January, two who have held their post for a little more than three years, and Seymour who has worked as registrar for approximately seven years.
However, even with the various hurdles which they have had to overcome they were able to process grades for Session I while registering grades for Session II, and complete the degree audits in preparation for graduation 2006.
Dykes said that she admires the performance and the administration, “this is new to all of us but we are doing well.”
Mortimer said that he is optimistic about the progress which they have made despite the department’s uncertain beginning. “Everything is working out. Getting students organized is our primary goal,” he stated.
”I’m proud that we were able to make the best of the given situation. It’s given us a greater sense of community,” continued Mortimer.