When she graduated from Goshen College in 1990, Jan Kauffman never saw herself moving back to Goshen.But over the summer, Kauffman started her new role as the registrar.
The registrar’s office takes care of student academic records, but that includes a number of different responsibilities that most may not be aware of.
Between registering students for classes and handling transcripts, the registrar is also responsible for setting up the master class and exam schedules. Kauffman also deals with the academic progress of each student and addresses any problems if a student isn’t meeting those standards. She works alongside faculty advisers to make sure that students are working towards the requirements for graduation.
Those are just a few of the many things that Kauffman is in charge of. With so many responsibilities in a new position, the potential to forget something goes up.
“There are many behind the scenes tasks that I do not always know I should be doing,” Kauffman said. “I am nervous that I am missing something important or that in the many interruptions that happen throughout the day that I will lose something.”
Despite some nerves, Kauffman has been well prepared for this role.
She recently received her doctorate from Bowling Green State University in leadership studies. While at BGSU, Kauffman had an assistantship where she gained a better understanding of the general education system at a large university, as well as a closer look at how the provost office and overall undergraduate education program worked.
“My doctoral studies in leadership and my dissertation topic on dialogue and mid-level leadership will continue to find its way into my work as I am constantly interacting with people,” said Kauffman. “People want to be heard and respected, and how I, as a leader, approach others will impact how people respond to me.”
But Kauffman has experience beyond a large state university. She graduated from Goshen, so she understands GC from a student perspective. She also spent some time working at Eastern Mennonite University in the student life department, which gives her knowledge of the inner workings of a small Mennonite college from a staff perspective.
“What has brought me back is my desire to be a part of Mennonite higher education,” said Kauffman.
She’s striving to be a unifying leader, with a teamwork mentality.
“I desire to lead with humility and to find ways to bring people together, to allow difference to enhance us, as we are better together,” she said.
She is a curious learner, and this position provides her with an exciting opportunity. Kauffman is most looking forward to “learning to know people and engaging in important and meaningful conversations with faculty, staff and students.”
“There are quality people here who are passionate about their work,” she said. “They are doing some very interesting things, and I am curious to learn from others. I am becoming more and more curious about life as I get older.”
Kauffman would like the chance to get to know students’ stories, but she also wants them to know hers. This is only a small glimpse of Kauffman’s story, and while she doesn’t like coffee, she would enjoy sitting down to a cup of tea, with the chance to learn something new.
She loves a number of different authors like Brené Brown and Glennon Doyle Melton, who focus on being honest with one another, even when it’s hard. Kauffman has taken those messages to heart.
“I believe we can do hard things,” she said. “In the most challenging places in life, growth happens and God works in real ways.”