Story by Anna-Jo Stuart, Opinion Editor
Photo courtesy Aquinas College
Aquinas College has hired a new Registrar after the retirement of Cecilia Mesler. Elizabeth Flores will be taking on this position and heading the Registrar and Academic Advising department.
Flores has a long history at Aquinas, starting as a student. She majored in International Business and Spanish. In 2000, she began working at Aquinas in the School of Education. Since being a student, Flores said that she always felt “connected to the community.” She “believes in the mission” of Aquinas: to create students who are prepared to lead and make a difference in the world.
Thus, when the position in the School of Education opened at Aquinas, Flores found herself a good fit and began her career at Aquinas. She moved to the Registrar Office in 2015 as the Assistant Registrar. Flores describes herself as “a detailed person” that “likes to bring people together” as she collaborates with teams at work. She feels lucky that she has found positions at Aquinas that allow her to serve its mission.
The transition to Registrar was smooth, as Flores had experience as the assistant and then interim Registrar until she was officially hired into the position. The Registrar department is “all about the record functions of the school,” according to Flores. Everything from course schedules to grades and transcripts are maintained in this department for current students and alumni. Flores’s position also involves being the Head of Advising, and working to support the advising system at Aquinas.
The position of Registrar opened after Cecelia Mesler retired after many years at Aquinas. Mesler was also an Aquinas graduate who was loved the community. Flores is thankful to Mesler for fostering such a positive environment in her department.
Flores attributes her easy transition to becoming the new head of the department to Mesler, as she describes her as a very dedicated and experienced Registar who helped prepare Flores for the role.
Mesler began her career with the Registrar in 2000. Her time in her position saw many changes in the department and at Aquinas. Mesler says that a major change during her time here was the movement of academic advising systems from paper to online, as well as the way that Aquinas advises its students. She saw a focus on making sure students were successful at Aquinas, and created special advisors tasked with assisting at-risk students. Mesler comments that while she does miss Aquinas’ students and staff, she believes that Elizabeth Flores is a great choice for the new Registrar.
The Registrar department has come a long way in the past 19 years, though Flores does have some changes planned. She believes that the department always has the ability to “get better and improve” in their service of students, staff, and faculty, while not losing the “personal touch” that is special at Aquinas.
One project near completion is a collaboration with The National Student Clearinghouse. This collaboration would allow for more efficiency in receiving transcripts post-graduation via the use of technology to send digital transcripts. They are currently only sent by mail from Aquinas. The department hopes to have this up and running very soon.
A larger-scale project in the works is a degree audit system that will be available through MyAQ. This will be an electronic version of the required course checklists that students and advisors currently use in a paper format. This system will automatically check off completed courses taken by students, and will make it easier to determine what courses still need to be taken. The Registrar department is working closely with ITS, and hope to have it ready to go by the fall. This large transition in the advising process will require training for both faculty and students, and ample feedback from both parties.
Overall, Flores says she is “excited for the future and honored to have been given the opportunity” to make an impact at Aquinas.