RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION
Reporting to the vice dean of the law school with a dotted line to the university registrar, the law school registrar provides inclusive, strategic leadership and direction in all aspects of course, class, and student records, as well as scheduling, catalog maintenance, and compliance reporting aligned with law school and university policies. The registrar will:
- Serve as a visionary and thought leader in identifying, developing, and implementing new and effective technological solutions to tracking data and reporting.
- Supervise and cross-train the registrar’s team to provide proactive, comprehensive, constituent-centered academic services to students, faculty, and staff.
- Interpret, implement, and enforce federal, American Bar Association (ABA), New York State Education Department (NYSED), and college and university policies and procedures regarding student records, courses, and academic requirements.
- Serve as the primary contact for matters relating to student information and courses.
- Ensure the integrity and confidentiality of student records, both paper and electronic, and oversee the use of the PeopleSoft student records system per federal, state, and institutional student data privacy requirements.
- Finalize and certify degrees for law school students in coordination with academic departments and programs.
- Work closely with the dean of students to ensure support for student scheduling and record-keeping needs.
- Support the university in implementing new student data systems and testing current systems.
- Serve as primary liaison to academic and administrative offices within the law school and across campus.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
Successful candidates will have both exceptional data management and people skills, with evidence of progressive experience overseeing registrar functions and staff. Excellent analytical, reasoning, problem-solving, organizational, and leadership skills are essential. Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of university policies, state and federal laws, and best practices in compliance and student records. Candidates must exercise sound judgment, creativity, and the ability to work well within a team of professionals and diverse students, faculty, and staff. Superior written and oral communication skills are a must, as is the ability to appropriately handle sensitive, confidential information. Excellent analytical, reasoning, problem-solving, and organizational skills, as well as proven experience connecting diversity, inclusion, and well-being practices to business goals, are essential. A bachelor’s degree is required; a master’s degree is preferred. Expert knowledge of relational databases and PeopleSoft is preferred, as is law school experience. Successful candidates will be:
- Effective leaders capable of assessing, training, cross-training, and directing the staff, articulating priorities, and improving registrar service standards.
- Hands-on leaders skilled at all registrar functions; ready to assist when and wherever needed, but capable of delegating as appropriate.
- Dedicated to the registrar profession and the continued professional development of the registrar staff and themselves.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
The registrar’s position is currently vacant. There has been difficulty permanently filling the role since the last long-standing registrar resigned during COVID. A consultant from AACROA has provided recommendations for moving forward, and a recent interim registrar has worked to document key policies and procedures.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
The law school registrar will join a community of school and college registrars at Cornell University. The registrars across campus regularly meet for training and peer consultations. There is tremendous opportunity for professional growth as a registrar in a community of like-minded professionals.
Law school faculty, students, and staff seek a leader who will improve service and restore confidence in the office. A recent AACROA report outlines a pathway forward, and the university registrar is ready and able to support a leader who can make positive changes.
Cornell Law takes pride in being a small law school that offers personal attention to students, but the registrar’s current staffing and training levels make it challenging to deliver the expected level of personalized service. The registrar staff seek a hands-on leader who will support them by creating a work environment that empowers them to do their best work, supports their development and cross-training, and creates a vision and plan for the office that allows for them to work proactively rather than reactively.
As a unit of Cornell University, the law school is responsible for connecting its record-keeping, scheduling, and compliance reporting to university systems. The law school utilizes its own software for most registrar functions, while other law school programs are directly integrated into the university’s PeopleSoft system. In consultation with the law school dean and staff, program directors, and the university registrar, the law school registrar must assess how to improve functionality, including improving data transfer methods and eventually migrating some or all systems to PeopleSoft.
The law school offers a wide range of programs for its size, including an online MSLS and an LLM program in partnership with Cornell Tech. Additionally, some law professors teach courses for other divisions of Cornell University. These programs utilize different scheduling and record-keeping systems. The new registrar needs strong communication and problem-solving skills to determine how best to serve multiple student and academic program record-keeping and scheduling needs.
Law schools have unique needs (especially regarding American Bar Association reporting and exam scheduling and administration), so law school experience is preferred. At the same time, university compliance reporting and other needs demand someone with a strong understanding of relational databases and student records systems, preferably with PeopleSoft. Recognizing that one person is unlikely to have strengths in all areas, the law school will launch a second search for an assistant registrar who can complement the knowledge and skills set of the new registrar. Spelman Johnson is working with the law school to create a timeline for that search that will allow the newly appointed registrar to participate in the final hiring decision of the assistant registrar.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
After a reasonable interval, the success of the new registrar will be measured by the following criteria. The new registrar will have:
- Assessed staff position descriptions and skill levels, recognizing staff capabilities and working to train staff and set clear expectations for service.
- Created and initiated the implementation of a plan to improve efficiency and accuracy in registrar practices.
- Restored confidence in the registrar’s office, especially by improving communications and quickening response time to student, faculty, and staff requests.
- Continued to audit, refine, and document registrar policies and processes.
- Addressed compliance reporting issues.
- Improved data transfer issues from the law school’s systems to the university’s PeopleSoft system and developed a timeline and a plan for system migration and integration.
OVERVIEW OF THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTRAR
The registrar’s office works to provide the best service to students and to provide this service and valuable information in a timely and efficient manner. The work of the office of the registrar interacts with many aspects of the Cornell Law School community. The registrar provides overall leadership in student enrollment, grades, registration, records, course management, room scheduling, and data reporting in alignment with college and university policies and serves as the primary contact for matters relating to student information and courses.
In addition, the registrar will be accountable to and partner with the university registrar on issues related to compliance with university-wide policies and state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to students’ academic records.
Founded in 1887, Cornell Law School is a top-tier law school, currently ranked 12th by U.S. News & World Report. Cornell Law offers a JD program, a one-year LLM program for international students, a one-year LLM degree in law, technology, and entrepreneurship degree at the Cornell Tech campus in New York City, an online MSLS program, and a doctoral (JSD) program. Cornell Law School’s nationally ranked faculty includes 41 tenured and tenure-track faculty and 15 clinical professors in the legal research and writing program and in clinics at the local, national, and international levels. The law school supports its students’ success through its unique combination of inspiring theoretical, doctrinal, and experiential teaching with cutting-edge scholarship in a supportive, intellectually rich community.
THE STUDENT BODY
Total JD enrollment: 609
Entering JD students: 211
Men: 54 percent
Women: 46 percent
Number of states represented: 33
Number of countries represented: 10
Total General LLM Enrollment: 132
Total JSD Enrollment: 9
Students to faculty ratio: 5 to 1
As a university founded to be a place where “…any person can find instruction in any study,” diversity and inclusion are at the core of Cornell University’s values and mission. Cornell strives to be a welcoming, caring, healthy, and equitable community where students, faculty, and staff with different backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn, innovate, and work in an environment of respect and feel empowered to engage in any community conversation. Cornell Law School is among the nation’s most inclusive top law schools and has been since its founding. Its multidisciplinary approach to legal education and the dynamic campus community make for an environment where all students have the tools to excel.
Jens Ohlin – Dean
Jens Ohlin became the Allan R. Tessler Dean and Professor of Law on July 1, 2021. He previously served as interim dean (January-June 2021), vice dean (2017-2020), associate dean for academic affairs (2015-2017), and director of faculty research (2013-2015).
His scholarly work stands at the intersection of four related fields: criminal law, criminal procedure, public international law, and the laws of war. Trained as both a lawyer and a philosopher, his research has tackled questions as diverse as criminal conspiracy and the punishment of collective criminal action, the philosophical foundations of international law, and the role of new technologies in warfare, including cyberwar, remotely piloted drones, and autonomous weapons.
Ohlin’s latest research project involves foreign election interference and the use of disinformation as a mode of statecraft by foreign actors. In a series of books and essays, he has explored how democratic states can marshal international and domestic legal tools to combat this new form of cyber interference.
Ohlin is also a dedicated teacher and the sole author of three casebooks in three different fields: international law, criminal law, and criminal procedure. He is also co-editor, with Claire Finkelstein, of the Oxford Series in Ethics, National Security, and the Rule of Law, a steering-board member of an international working group researching secondary liability for international crimes, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Rhonda K. Kitch – University Registrar
Rhonda Kitch is the university registrar. She has served students in higher education for over two decades, ranging from experiences in residence life, financial aid, retention and student success efforts, admission, a career and advising resource center, and for the last 16+ years, registration and records. Kitch has been an active member of Upper Midwest ACRAO, as well as American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), presenting and serving in various roles in both organizations. She currently serves as president of the AACRAO board of directors.
Cornell takes pride in offering generous benefits to support and enhance health, wealth, and wellness. For information on the benefits offered at Cornell, see here.
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position and questions about the status of the search may be emailed to Sharon Meagher at email@example.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The public salary range for this position is $90,000-110,000. Exceptional candidates may qualify for additional compensation, including relocation assistance.
Visit the Cornell University Law School website at https://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/.
Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. Cornell is a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities. Cornell also recognizes a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations.
Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff of all identities and backgrounds. Cornell strongly encourages individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.