Jerry Ross

Jerry Ross at an open forum Tuesday. Ross is the current chief operating officer (associate director of operations) at the University of Florida and is one of the finalists for Iowa State's university registrar position.

Faculty and stakeholders attended the presentation and open forum given by one of the finalists for Iowa State’s director of the Office of the Registrar, Jerry Ross.

The forum was hosted from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesday at the Soults Family Visitor Center in the Memorial Union.

Topics of Ross’ presentation included managing students information, student transcripts, recruiting and retaining students and the incorporation of technology into the Office of the Registrar.

“Registrars are always working in trying to safeguard students’ data, but at the same time, free the data, so that people on campus have access to the data they need to make decisions,” Ross said.

Ross said retaining more students between their second and third years, even in small percentages, can provide huge dividends for Iowa State.

“It becomes even more important to retain and graduate the students that you have and the students that you do enroll,” Ross said. “This is where the registrar can help a lot when they are [a] fully engaged, visible leader on campus.”

Ross said if he receives the position he will plan to use modern degree audit tools, four year study plans and student advisers to ensure students are successful in overcoming barriers to reach graduation.

“These tools the Registrar’s Office is engaged in and sometimes manages can really impact student success,” Ross said. “Different types of learning and different types of academic records for retention and student success: the field environment is changing.”

Ross said the increase in competency and project based learning among students could change how Iowa State documents transcripts for future employers by including information on experiential learning.

“What could be even more meaningful is a comprehensive learner record that in more detail gives what the student has actually done,” Ross said. “Maybe it gives them their activities as a student leader or a student organization, one that can be verified. [...] Maybe it actually talks a little about projects.”

Ross also emphasized the establishment of solid procedures for students coming to Iowa State with transfer credits.

Ross said students can be easily frustrated when they find out dual credits from other institutions may not apply to a new university as significantly as they would hope. Ross said the transparency of a university’s credit transfer procedures would alleviate those stresses.

Incorporating technology to help Iowa State’s faculty and students compile, organize or retrieve data is important, according to Ross, but he said new tools must be properly vetted.

“Technology will not replace good advising nor will it fix bad advising, but having technology tools that are available at their disposal certainly makes their work easier,” Ross said. “The challenge in our field is technology is rapidly advancing. [...] The registrar needs to be a partner with a number of people on campus in deciding which tools to invest in and which tools not to.”

Ross obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science and history and holds a doctorate in educational studies and research from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Ross currently works as the chief operating officer for University of Florida Online and has worked as the registrar at Purdue University in Indiana.

The next candidate forum will take place from 11 a.m. to noon on Nov. 13 in the Soults Family Visitor Center of the Memorial Union. The name of the candidate is set to be released on Iowa State’s Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost website one business day before the forum.

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