Academic journal article College and University

Community College Registrars as Leaders during Systems Implementation

Academic journal article College and University

Community College Registrars as Leaders during Systems Implementation

Article excerpt

Editor's Note: This is the last in a series of four articles related to the functional role of community college registrars and Web systems implementation projects. The result of doctoral research in educational leadership, the first article discussed the functional role of community college registrars during web-enabled student information system implementation projects; the second article focused on the role of registrars as mid-level managers during major organizational change, such as systems implementation; and the third article reviewed related literature on administrative role conflict and ambiguity. This article will focus on the registrar's role as a leader during technology change.

In 1984, Scarlett predicted that opportunities for college and university registrars to play a role in institutional leadership would increase. Scarlett noted the scope of registrars' work, the urgency of recruiting and retaining students, and an extension of responsibilities in relationships with other administrators.

Closely following the fears and revelry that characterized the dawn of the 21st century, Cohen and Brawer (2003) published the fourth edition of The American Community College. Their research indicated that the administrative patterns of community colleges showed evidence of a continuing emphasis on college functions. In the hope of optimizing results, this author's 2004 study of community college registrars identified their functional role with respect to Web technology implementa- tion (Lepley 2006). The study revealed that overall, 62.4 percent of community college registrars were very highly or were highly involved in implementing web-enabled technology systems (p. 52). Also, 67.4 percent of com- munity college registrars were very highly or were highly involved in providing overall guidance and direction to online processes (p. 54). More registrars were very highly or were highly involved in providing overall guidance and direction to online processes if their college used an in- house implementation strategy (76.1 percent), and some- what fewer of the registrars were as involved in providing overall direction to online processes if their college used an outsourced implementation strategy (57.1 percent) (p. 54). A large percentage of community college registrars whose colleges were implementing a web-enabled system were very highly or were highly involved in collaborating and serving as liaison with other departments, functions, or groups (88.4 percent) (p. 57). Registrars at colleges with no web-enabled technology implementation proj- ects in process at the time of the study were least involved in collaboration with other offices, functions, or groups, yet 78.3 percent of those registrars also reported very high or high involvement in interoffice collaboration (p. 57). The author's 2004 study further revealed that 47.5 percent of community college registrars were very highly or were highly involved in developing, delivering, and assessing internal employee training (p. 57). As described by Brooks (2003), the functional role of administrators such as midlevel managers may include interpreting vision and goals and coaching staff, faculty, and students' use of emerging technology as the college community prepares to function successfully in the 21st century.

LEADING TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE

Registrars and other administrators may benefit from learning transformational leadership techniques oriented toward change. Roueche, Baker, and Rose (1989) present a model for transformational leadership in the community college that can be promoted at all levels. The vision theme includes transformational attributes such as an orientation toward the future, positive outlook regarding change, appropriate risk taking, and modeling commitment for changes and the mission.

Nohria and Harrington (1993) propose several concepts geared toward cooperation and attempting either to prevent or to accommodate resistance to change. …

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