Award Date

12-1-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Psychology & Higher Education

First Committee Member

Mario Martinez

Second Committee Member

Vicki Rosser

Third Committee Member

Doris Watson

Fourth Committee Member

Christopher Stream

Number of Pages

195

Abstract

Colleges often put an emphasis on the student experience and the student as a "customer" that should be courted, tracked, and understood. Yet, there are few academic studies that address the administrative roles that oversee the offices with direct student contact. All colleges have a registrar's office, or an office responsible for much of the institution's infrastructure from enrollment to graduation. Gunn & Backes (1992) point out, "In a climate where schools are competing for the best students, something as simple as making the registration system run smoothly and efficiently for the student can have major impacts, providing services that do not detract from the student's educational experience has been shown to be an important factor in retention" (p. 183). The registrar's office has a central role in the administration of a college or university. The lack of research on this position equates to a gap in knowledge and a potential gap in service to students and to faculty.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether registrars, as managers, perceive themselves as exhibiting behavioral complexity (and to what extent), controlling for demographic variables (individual characteristics, institutional characteristics, and job complexity variables) that may influence their complexity level.

The study used an adaptation of an instrument founded upon an empirically and academically based model known as the Competing Values Framework (Quinn & Rohrbaugh, 1981, Cameron & Quinn, 1999). The instrument contains four quadrants with constructs addressing: Relating to People, Managing Processes, Leading Change, and Producing Results.

The registrar respondents indicated managerial behavioral complexity with mean average scores above the established minimum for each quadrant. The constructs of Managing Processing and Producing Results were scored highest while Relating to People and Leading Change were scored slightly lower. The individual characteristic of gender was both a positive and negative indicator of behavioral complexity (positive for female, negative for male). Majoring in the hard sciences was a negative indicator of behavior complexity while working at a private for-profit institution as well as the number of direct reports that the registrar oversees were both positive indicators. From a practical perspective, the results of this research give the registrar population, as well as other higher education administrators, a framework against which to measure themselves. Registrars could use the lower ratings in certain quadrants as inspiration for change or as indication they may need more training, coaching, and direct attention to leadership constructs (Relating to People and Leading Change). The results could also be a mechanism for fostering culture change at the registrar's institution if the culture has resulted in a situation where certain quadrant constructs are valued over others.

Keywords

Behavioral Complexity; College admission officers; College registrars; Competing Values Framework; Leadership; Management; Universities and colleges – Admission; Universities and colleges – Administration

Disciplines

Educational Leadership | Higher Education

Language

English


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