Making connections to help students succeed at the UO

October 6, 2020 - 9:51am

Editor’s note: Duck of the Week is a new section in Around the O Workplace that highlights UO employees and their work. Each story features an interview with one employee, in his or her own words, with light editing for clarity and length only.

Bonnie Gutierrez
Assistant Registrar of Operations: Degree Progress and Verification

How long have you worked at the UO?

I’ve been with the university nine years, and I have spent that whole time in the Office of the Registrar.

Tell us about your work:

I oversee a small group of specialists who process all of our incoming transcripts and transfer credits. I word that carefully because these operations have to do with credits transferred from other institutions, not admission.

I also provide a lot of support for our international students under the International Student and Scholar Services department, including degree and enrollment verifications since a lot of them have special paperwork that needs to be done for their countries, government, and sponsors. I also work closely with the Office of the Provost for course surveys as well. I do a lot of little things, but that’s probably what takes the bulk of my time.

What does your typical day look like?

When our offices were open and campus was more normal, our office space would be very busy. We would be working with departmental partners, helping students face-to-face and attending meetings out in campus communities.

Dealing with COVID-19 and working remotely affects the Office of the Registrar because we are very paper-driven. After this big shift, we had to course correct as fast as possible and move things online so that we could support students more robustly through email and other modes of communication like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

My day-to-day now is just facing a computer all day, all the time. We’re just trying to go on, trying to keep it as normal as possible. One day at a time.

What do you like about working at the UO?

I love working for the Office of the Registrar. I’ve been there a long time, and I love our team. I really enjoy working with our departmental partners under different capacities, since there’s a big difference between administration and academics. And that’s why I stay. I love my team and I love our people.

One of the things that’s unique about my relationship with the UO and our student body is that people get to know me and what I do. I have a tendency to get more passionate for those students who have been forgotten. Most students get through everything fine. They get through their classes, they get through advising, they just get it and they’re fine. There’s a small population, however, that just struggles getting the right help.

Over the years, departmental partners know who I am and hook me up with students to facilitate on the side. I help get students where they need to be. In the past, I built a number of relationships that have lasted the whole time the student has been with us. I get to see them in the beginning and I’m wishing them well when we’re dealing with graduation. That’s what keeps me around too, those little relationships that you build over the years. And they remember you. That is the sunshine that keeps me going.

How have you stayed connected with friends and family during COVID-19?

One thing that is important to my family is the outdoors. Look where we live! We enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, camping, and maintain that sentiment year-round. So even as the weather gets bad, we are the folks that continue to fight for going camping in the rain and going hiking anywhere. That’s what I like to do to stay centered because that’s my core: getting out in nature.

Bonnie Gutierrez is part of the Office of the Registrar

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