Unbeknown to most students, the Registrar’s Office at Keene State College has been operating understaffed.
Registrar at Keene State College Barbara Cormier said it first started at the end of 2015, e. In late 2015 and early 2016 multiple staff members in the Registrar’s Office retired. Cormier said more were hired to fill the gaps left by these retirements. However, last year a volunteer separation was offered by the college. Meg McIntyre for the Keene Sentinel reported on Dec. 10, 2017, that this consisted of a lump sum payment to the faculty or staff member and included either six months of medical coverage or another $2,500 lump sum.
Paul Cuno-Booth reported for the Keene Sentinel that about 50 staff members at Keene State accepted this voluntary separation. This resulted in two early retirements from the Registrar’s office.
According to Cormier, Keene State considers the Registrar’s office as fully staffed at seven employees, however, by next week, the department will be down to just three. There is no impact on customer service because of the staffing problems, said Cormier. The staffing issues are more of a problem internally, she said, as she had to handle more tasks at once than usual. This has resulted in only minor issues, like a few students getting their graduation audit late. Another issue the Registrar’s Office dealt with while understaffed was students affected by dropped classes showing up with a grade at the end of the semester.
Cormier explained this problem the Registrar’s department had to deal with while understaffed. It was a issue with Canvas where students who dropped a class at the beginning of a semester had that same class show up again at the end of the semester with a W(ithdrawl). According to Cormier, this problem was originally thought to be a small issue with only a handful of students affected. However, they soon realized it was a far more widespread issue. In the end about 100 students were affected. The issue had never been seen by the Registrar’s office before, but the Registrar Technologist was able to find a solution. Cormier said she is confident the problem will not reappear.
When asked about the situation, Laura Seraichick, Chief Information officer of the IT department, referred The Equinox to the Registrar’s office.
When four students all of different classes were asked about registering for classes, they all responded that they had no issues registering and adding classes despite the understaffing at the Registrar’s Office.
According to a Keene Sentinel article written by Cuno-Booth, Keene State is cutting 5.5 million dollars from its 2019 budget. This is in response to Keene State enrollment being down 29 percent in the last five years. Cormier explained that one result of the Voluntary separation policy is that it doesn’t take from each department evenly. “There can be a mass exodus from one department and very little from another,” said Cormier. However, despite the loss of staff to her department, she seems in agreement with the policy. “It will get a little worse before it gets better,” Cormier said.
Teddy Tauscher can be contacted at email@example.com