New Registrar welcomes students and staff

Image courtesy of Luke Jenkins ’26.

When people think of Vassar’s newest faces, they think of first-years. Chock-full of palpable insecurity, bursting with excitement, elbow-deep in the Deece’s ice cream freezer. Lost in this sea of unfamiliar faces, however, are our newest faculty and staff. The people arriving on their first day of a new job. One such recent arrival is Angela Anderson, Vassar’s newest Registrar. Despite her office’s active role in registration, many students are wholly unaware of exactly what the Registrar does. To assist the curious (or clueless) student, I talked with Anderson herself, to receive an overview of the services the office provides, and to learn more about one of our newest staff additions. 

Tucked away on the first floor of Main’s North Wing, below a festive string of balloons, is the team responsible for maintaining every student’s academic record–past and present. This is the primary responsibility of the Registrar and the Registrar’s office. They also administer class registration, oversee the add/drop period, manage classroom schedules, issue diplomas and handle transcripts. Anderson adds: “There’s a lot of small things, that have to do more with the student information system, so like changing address[es], changing phone numbers.” If students have a chosen name they’d like to submit, the Registrar is responsible for enacting that change. The list goes on. It’s a mountain of tasks, but Anderson has steadfast confidence in her crew. “We have a wonderful team with a wealth of experience and knowledge.”

Anderson arrived for her first day at Vassar on Aug. 1, with a long resume stretching coast to coast. Born in Kansas, Anderson attended college in her home state and then moved to Colorado with her husband, serving as Registrar, Assistant Dean and briefly as Director of Human Resources at Northeastern Junior College. After 20 years in Colorado, she moved to Washington, and a few years later, to Connecticut, serving as Registrar at Eastern Washington University and the University of St. Joseph, respectively.

Her answer to the “why Vassar” question: “This is a special place … [T]hat I could join the team was just exciting to me.” After working at a two-year college, a large D1 university and a private Catholic university, Anderson is excited to be immersed in liberal arts and back in a position where she interacts more directly with students, not just policy and procedure. Her experience at the larger Eastern Washington University helped her discover her preference for smaller schools. With Vassar’s enrollment well under 3,000, she’s exactly where she wants to be.

As the add/drop period comes to a close, Anderson reflects on her first registration period, one that was busy but successful, with just a few snafus. She knows it’s a stressful time for new students. “I just try to reassure people it’ll be fine.” Anderson maintains that if you submit an add/drop request in time, the Registrar promises to honor it. The process might take a day or two, however, because the system only notifies the office of requests the morning after the form submission. “Patience goes a long way.,” she explained.

The Registrar office is one of the first Vassar institutions new students make contact with. In some cases, it can also be the last. Being responsible for managing academic records like transcripts, Anderson emphasizes how that might be somebody’s last interaction with the school. “If they have a bad experience getting their transcript, that’s not something you want them to take with them.” 

Anderson has no notes on how to improve the welcome Vassar gave. “Everybody’s been super friendly, from students to faculty to staff.” People pop in to introduce themselves at her office, three doors down from the Registrar’s counter. Its hidden location makes Anderson feel like the conversations are intentional, an act of kindness. And at the end of the day, there’s nothing that says “welcome” more than balloons that quite literally say “welcome.”

 

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