“Serve the student right the first time because students make payday possible,” Karen Lee Murphy tells her staff members.Murphy became associate vice president of academic affairs and registrar at Broward College in October 2017 after working full time at the institution for 23 years. She had previously earned an associate degree at the college, arriving as an international student.Being at the college long enough to observe three presidents and a range of leadership styles helped her develop her own leadership approach. Teamwork is key, she said. She learns her team members' strengths and weaknesses and then pairs them with colleagues who have strengths that support them. That's the first step in helping them grow as leaders and prepare for the next level, she said.On Fridays, the office holds trainings and team meetings. Plus, Murphy touches base with her three team leads in the morning and evening. They stay in touch as needed throughout the day by text message. They have learned that email is less likely to get read, Murphy said.Murphy, who has completed customer service training through Disney, expects a high level of service for students from her staff members. They answer the phone by saying, “How can I serve you?” And Murphy calls the office number on occasion to make sure they are answering it that way. “The registrar gets folks who are red hot,” Murphy said. Staff members in the Registrar's Office need to remain calm and find ways to help them, she added.The office is always busy, so Murphy makes sure staff members have some time to relax and to bond. For example, the office shared a Thanksgiving lunch and an end‐of‐year lunch during winter break. Murphy had them sit together at a table, family‐style, but they couldn't sit next to someone they work with directly. When staff members know and trust others in the office, they feel like part of the team and are eager to pitch in and stay late if needed, Murphy said.Murphy also stresses the need for staff members to take breaks. For example, she insists they take a lunch break, even if that means sitting outside at the fountain to reset. And she models prioritizing family time and taking vacation. Even when she is very busy, she spends a few hours with her family at dinner time before finishing up her work later in the evening.Taking time away helps staff members be more creative, Murphy said. The processes in the office can be mundane, but Murphy doesn't want her staff members to complete them in a robotic way. She asks staff members what changes they would make if they could change anything. She implements their best ideas, striving to choose improvements from each staff member. And she reminds them their work is about serving students and changing their lives. Even if a student is yelling, chances are the student just doesn't understand something and needs to have the staff member explain it and then help. And a problem the student is having might be something that affects many other students. In that case, staff members can make a big difference by solving it.Email Karen Lee Murphy at email@example.com.Collaborate to create effective technologyWhen officials at Broward College started shopping for a new student information system, they couldn't find a product that had all the features they wanted in their price range, said Karen Lee Murphy, associate vice president of academic affairs and registrar.They decided to join a group of institutions collaborating with Workday to design a new system. When she was associate registrar, Murphy left the office for two years to work full time on designing and developing modules in the new system. As registrar, Murphy continues to lead work on the student records and registration module currently being developed.“This is not my first rodeo,” Murphy said. She was involved in implementing the homegrown system developed by the Florida Community College Software Consortium 19 years ago. The maintenance on that system has become too expensive, and the new system offers the opportunity for a cloud‐based, mobile‐optimized system that addresses cybersecurity issues, Murphy said.
The Successful Registrar – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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