Continuing to Support Students: A Q and A with the University’s Registrar

David Barrowclough

In this Q&A with Registrar David Barrowclough, he shares how the Registrar’s Office team is adjusting to working remotely but is steadfast in its commitment to serving students. Barrowclough wants students to know Fall 2020 and Winter 2020 registration is open, and he and his staff are available to help.

What’s surprised you about working remotely?

What has been the most surprising about working at home is how busy it has been. My colleagues have embraced the technology available to them, but that means juggling emails, phone calls, Skype messages, Teams messages, and more in a way that wasn’t present when in the office. For the most part, it has felt more efficient, but it has been a bit of a learning curve to have so many things popping up on my screen. It has been hard, though, not having those face-to-face conversations with students, faculty, and staff. There is something about the energy that you get from being in the same room that you just can’t replicate via email or Zoom.

Tell us about your collaborative virtual work environment.

I hadn’t been a heavy user of Teams before, but I'm really enjoying how it has become a place to connect and share. And Skype messaging reminds me of the old AIM days (really showing my age here), and individual personality really shines through with the choice of emojis. The Registrar’s Office team is using those tools to keep connected and to share information quickly, but we’re also checking in with each other and using humor to try to make the best of this situation.   

What are some of the ways things have changed for you at home?

My husband and I are both working from home now and, although we get along, it has shown us that we need a bigger apartment. No kidding, since working from home, we’ve signed a deal to move to a larger place! It is nice to have breakfast and lunch together and take the dog for a walk, but I have had enough of overhearing some of his work calls! It’s been a treat to have the windows open, wear shorts, and crank the music while I work. The downside is that you don’t have the typical cues that end the workday, so I find myself staying logged on later and checking emails much more often. I need to be better at creating some new routines to force myself to log off and take a break.

What are you looking forward to the most when we get past our sheltering and distancing?

Personally, I can’t wait to get back to eating out at restaurants. I love how the restaurant community has come together to promote take-out, but I miss the casual vibe of hanging out and having a meal at some of my favorite places. 

For work, I’m looking forward to seeing students back on campus. I had to go over to Waterfront the other day to pick up some files, and it was so sad to see the Student Services Center empty, and no one was in the courtyard. Typically it is so busy there that it’s hard to find a table, and there is the hum of conversation and laughter...it was tough to see it so bare. I also just miss the day-to-day of seeing my co-workers and catching up on the latest news in their lives.

Of all the ways our community has changed because of COVID-19, what is something you hope will continue even after we have a sense of “all clear?”

It’s been tough to launch registration for Fall 2020 and Winter 2020 remotely, but I’ve been so impressed with how students continue to reach out, ask questions, share stories, and express their desire to be back on campus. HPU has a sense of community already, but it is reassuring to see how we’re all continuing to bring that same sense to our online personas. 

I think one of the most important things to share is that the staff is working to roll with the ever-changing news, and we’ll continue to make adjustments in the months ahead. We‘re still here to help, we’re still open for business, and we still want the message out that registration is open.