Purdue Profiles: Pat Springer

January 17, 2012

Pat Springer, graduate records manager for the Graduate School Records team. (Purdue University Photo/Mark Simons)

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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 36 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.

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 uphold 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. For example, we will access the record if the student is submitting a request for a waiver to a deadline or policy, a change in the plan of study, or has questions about the current plan.

Another 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.

The third 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 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.

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 in 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 to for a management position in this area.

What is your favorite part of the job?

Every session we line up the graduate candidates in the Armory for the commencement exercises. I really enjoy being a part of that excitement. I always feel a great sense of achievement knowing I was able to play a small part in helping these graduates achieve their goals.