Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Higher Education

First Advisor's Name

Benjamin Baez

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Norma Goonen

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Rebekah Schulze

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Eric Dwyer

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Registrar, role, perception, AACRAO

Date of Defense



The purpose of my study was to understand the experiences of university registrars, particularly their perspectives on their professional practice, development, and identity. Empirical research on university registrars is sparse at best. We do not know the real meaning of the position, how university registrars spend their time, and what is meaningful and gratifying about their role. There is not enough information on career paths that that they followed to become a university registrar. The lack of empirical studies about the true meaning of the evolving role is a problem needing study. My dissertation addresses the following singular research question: How do university registrars perceive their roles in higher education?

I used a qualitative interview study and document analysis to gain insight into the experiences of nine registrars from public and private universities that belong to the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officer (AACRAO). More specifically, my study used a semi-structured interview scheme adapted from Seidman (2013). The transcripts were transcribed entirely by me; then, these were coded and analyzed to identify four salient and emerging themes.

First, the dissertation explains the participants’ pathway to become a registrar. Second, the participants discussed what they really do by sharing their perspectives on their roles and responsibilities. Third, my study provides an insight into the participants’ perceptions on the challenges, emerging trends, and professional development associated to their profession. Finally, the participants discussed how they described their job when they are in family reunions.

The findings indicate that none of the participants were looking to become a registrar as part of their career path. Participants stated that they love what they do, and six of them suggested that they want to retire as a registrar. Participants indicated that diplomacy is the most important skill to have in this profession as it allows them to build collaborations with multiple departments within the university. Finally, implications include contribution to the literature of the role of the registrar and a call for AACRAO to work with institutions to develop programs to standardize the role of the registrar.





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