February 13, 2018

Purdue Profiles: Nicole Barr

Nicole Barr Nicole Barr, graduate records manager in the Office of Graduate Records. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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Nicole Barr is the graduate records manager in the Office of Graduate Records -- and until her graduation in December 2017, she was also a graduate student.

Barr is originally from Rockville, Indiana, and received a Bachelor of Science in finance with specializations in economics and English from Indiana Wesleyan University. She began working at Purdue in the Office of Graduate Records in November 2011. Since 2014, she has been taking one or two classes per session toward her master’s degree in learning design and technology at Purdue.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I lead a team of four full-time staff and three student workers, and together we oversee current student processes through final degree clearance and maintain historical academic records. My day-to-day responsibilities vary somewhat within this scope based on the time of the year. Most days include offering some form of training, whether that be explaining policy implications relevant to a particular scenario or hosting a more formal workshop. Certain times of each session are more focused on strategic planning for the Records area, such as establishing and communicating key deadlines or proposing and managing improvement efforts. Nearly every day also involves reviewing and approving individual graduate student forms such as plans of study or graduation audits, and miscellaneous projects as assigned by myself or others.

What kind of insight do you feel like you had as a graduate student working in graduate records?

Being able to see administrative processes from both professional and student lenses has proved valuable to me on several levels. First, being a student and also talking with other students informally has helped me identify ways that the Records area could better scaffold students through the administrative requirements of their degree program. It has also made me even more committed to simplifying processes where possible for the mutual benefit of students, staff and faculty. On a personal level, this time of being staff and student has given me a greater empathy for our many graduate students who are juggling career, program requirements, and family responsibilities at the same time. It can be a challenge!

What's your favorite part about what you do?

There are many things that I love about my role, but one my favorite aspects of it is the opportunity it provides me to interact and collaborate with colleagues across the West Lafayette and regional campuses. I work closely with department faculty and staff on a regular basis, and many of the technical and process improvement suggestions we have implemented in recent years have come out of insights gleaned from these relationships. I have also had the privilege of being a part of several significant multi-office initiatives, such as the integration of IUPUI graduate processes into Purdue’s homegrown Graduate School Database. Initiatives such as this take tremendous effort behind the scenes, but it is all the more rewarding to see them come to fruition. I am thankful for the small role I was able to play in this project and others, and excited see the historically paper-based Records area continue to pursue technical and process innovations through the help of our many campus partners.

What are some things that you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love to read (fiction, nonfiction, cereal boxes), spend time with my family, and travel -- especially when the travel involves hiking or camping. I also love to run, and am an assistant coach for a half marathon training group in the area. 

Writer: Kelsey Schnieders Lefever, kschnied@purdue.edu

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