Pat Springer

Graduate Records Manager,
Graduate School Records

As graduate records manager for the Graduate School Records team, Pat Springer oversees operations relating to graduate student records from first registration through graduation. In more than 25 years, she has authorized more than 35,000 graduate degrees and certificates. Springer brings more than 37 years of experience at Purdue to the team of five, each of whom personally check hundreds of graduate records by hand during the candidate process.

Pat Springer

What does the Graduate School Records team do?

We manage the academic records for all graduate students enrolled at the West Lafayette campus. One part of that is ensuring that all students meet the graduation requirements set forth by the Graduate Council. We also monitor departmental graduation requirements through an audit process at the end of the student's program.

How do you keep track of so many student records at one time?

We have records that are in three groups. One group contains active records for registered students. These records are accessed when students submit required documents for processing or to answer inquiries from graduate departments or students.

Another group of records we have are for candidates, or students who are anticipating graduation during the upcoming session. Candidate records are audited at the beginning of the session and are maintained in the candidate files as long as the student remains on the candidate roster for that session. At the end of the session, after the final audit process is completed, those records are returned to the general files.

The third group contains imaged records, which are records for inactive students or students who left the University after receiving degrees. Generally, we don’t work with these records unless there is a question and the record needs to be retrieved.

How does the auditing process work?

Each session we have over a thousand graduate candidates and we audit each candidate’s record at least three times. At the beginning of the session, we receive a list of candidates from the Registrar’s Office. We update and maintain this list in cooperation with the graduate departments. We pull each file and do an initial audit. The results of the first audits are sent to the departments, who notify students of any outstanding issues that need to be addressed.

At the end of the session, we do a final audit on each candidate’s record to check grades, ensure appropriate documents have been submitted and confirm that previously noted issues have been resolved. If all issues are resolved, I notify the Registrar's Office of which records should have degrees posted to them.

After the degrees are posted, I go through each record one last time to make sure that the correct information is posted. Once that final process is completed, we return the records to the general files and the process will start over again for the next session. There are a lot of checks and balances with this process, which help ensure the integrity of every graduate degree Purdue awards, and I take great pride in being a part of that.

What about this position drew you to it?

Before I took this position in 1984, I had worked for about 10 years throughout the Graduate School, including the admissions and records areas. My familiarity with the system prepared me for managing the records area. I also enjoyed working with the graduate student records and wanted to have a small part in helping the graduate students earn their degrees.

What are some new initiatives your office is implementing?

It has been a goal of the Graduate School to use more electronic methods, and through the efforts of several staff members in the school, we are working toward that goal. For example, earlier this year, the Graduate School began using a new electronic process that allows us to image our academic records and share them with other graduate programs.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Knowing that, even in a small way, I was able to help the graduates achieve their goal of earning a graduate degree.