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G’day, my name is…Jim Tisdale

The Registrar is an important problem solver on campus.

By Nathan Solheim

November 7, 2017

James TisdaleRegistration for spring semester is open, and we thought it would be a good time to check in with Jim Tisdale, MSU Denver’s Registrar. While Tisdale wears many hats as part of his job, “chief problem solver” is the most important. The Registrar’s Office plays a huge role in the student and faculty experience.

We caught up with Tisdale and asked him to tell us more about the role of the Registrar’s Office. 

So first I have to ask you about “G’day;” are you Australian?

[Laughs] No, that’s something I picked up living in Dubai; American English speakers were in a small minority.

What’s your job here at MSU Denver?

I’m responsible for overseeing the processes of registration, graduation, transfer credit evaluation, and assigning classroom space. We also maintain student records and ensure that FERPA is complied with across the institution.

Above and beyond all that, my job is to be a guide to students, faculty and staff to help them through any issues they may have. As I remind my folks, we know the policies and procedures, but our jobs are not to just quote them. Rather, to help if we can or say, “I can’t do it for you, but will get you to the person who can.”

How do you approach your position here at MSU Denver?

One of the first things I heard when I got here was “Roadrunner Runaround.” I thought, “Hmm. Well OK—there’s something I’m going to get on right away.” My personality is such that I can see things from other people’s perspective. I ask, “How would I like to be treated that way?” And if I don’t like it, why would students like it? Same thing with faculty—if the grade submission process is cumbersome, for example, let’s sit down and figure out how to make it better.” Process improvement is in my DNA (for you MBTI enthusiasts I’m an INTJ).

What’s one of your accomplishments in your time here?

The most important is regaining the reputation that we are problem solvers. We are go-to people and work with you to help however we can. We’ve made tremendous strides in a short time, thanks to my crackerjack team (all 23 of them as well as my student staff).

You’ll also find I try to make decisions that are best for all Roadrunners: students, faculty and staff. I don’t care where the best idea comes from. You’re welcome to challenge me and if your idea is better than mine, we’ll go with it. You’ll find me very approachable, as folks who know me will tell you.

Can you give an example of a problem you’re working on?

I’ll mention classroom scheduling. It’s been issue because we share a campus with CU Denver and CCD, so each institution has to come to the table early in the game to request their space needs. MSU Denver has traditionally been the last to the table. We changed that. Now, the Systems Management team has received rave reviews from faculty and deans about how smooth that process is running and about the problem-solving they’ve done. I have to add that many others of my staff have received compliments about their outstanding customer service.

You’ve held many positions in academia. In your view, what makes MSU Denver different?

I’ve worked with over 170 different colleges and universities both as an employee and a consultant; I have never seen a place like MSU Denver. When I came for my job interview I picked up a copy of The Metropolitan in which Dr. Jordan was quoted as saying Roadrunners are scrappy. And I said, “Yes, scrappy, this is where I want to be.” It means you’re moving and shaking. Dr. Davidson said much the same thing when she first came to campus.

You’re into all kinds of music and play several instruments. How did you catch the music bug?

I’m a Renaissance kind of guy with a plethora of interests, always digging into some new subject. When I was in high school I played in the band, first clarinet, then oboe (because they needed somebody to play it), and finally the bassoon (same reason). I did draw the line at tuba, but only because I was living in Evergreen and didn’t want to haul that a mile to the bus stop every day.

Need help? Contact the MSU Denver Registrar’s Office.


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