Murray State officials are bracing for the unknown this month, following Registrar Tina Collins’ resignation over the summer to take a similar position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Collins, who held the registrar position for nearly a year and a half, will leave Friday for the registrar’s position at UAB, leaving Tracy Roberts, associate registrar, as interim.
The registrar at UAB is an executive-level position, a step up from Murray’s registrar, which is a director’s position in the administration, giving her more managerial effect and a larger salary, she said.
“It was basically an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” she said. “Because of the size of the university – it’s a larger university – and because the level of responsibility is going to be increased for me, that’s what attracted me to the position.”
Collins said she has worked in enrollment management at various universities since she was 16. A passion to help students obtain their academic goals has driven her to establish as much face-to-face action as an administrative role permits, she said.
“Every role that I was in, I always had a direct effect on students and on what the students’ goals were,” she said. “And that’s really what made me fall in love with enrollment management, because I have a direct effect on students’ goals.”
The University employed Collins only months after 2009’s implementation of the Banner System, leaving her office responsible for its maintenance and updates, she said.
Under her leadership, the office developed the Banner System so students can order enrollment vertifications, apply for graduation and order transcripts, all online – matching pace with larger universities’ initiatives, she said.
Collins added lately she has been involved in looking at viable products to replace Murray State’s degree audit system.
“We’re looking at a degree audit system that’s more interactive and with which students and advisers can just get a clearer picture of where students with regards to their progress toward a degree,” she said.
She will not be present for the system’s implementation, she said.
Collins said she thinks her most dynamic contribution to the Office of the Registrar was her will to allocate management.
“I think I’ve been most positive in my office in empowerment – empowering those people to do the wonderful jobs that they’ve been doing forever, without having to consult the registrar on every issue,” she said.
That is the factor Provost Bonnie Higginson said she found most refreshing about Collins’ work.
Higginson, who is responsible for the search committee effort to find Collins’ replacement next spring, said Collins’ management style compelled Higginson along with the search committee two years ago to hire her in the first place.
“She had a different management style,” Higginson said. “And she was determined to have people in leadership positions. Whereas, in times past, every decision would have to go through the registrar.”
Higginson said the process of selecting a new registrar will begin later than usual – next spring – because the University is focused on other administrational acquisitions, allowing Roberts to assume both her role as associate registrar and the position of registrar until that time.
Roberts, who held the interim registrar position before Collins, said she hopes to maintain some of the changes Collins made to the office while accelerating some academic policy changes.
Some policies Roberts mentioned included a reform to the requirements necessary to receive a baccalaureate degree.
“There are so many rules it takes to get a baccalaureate degree,” she said. “Are all of those rules necessary?”