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Tom Jennings: The Son of a Teacher and a Dedicated Registrar

Tom Jennings, TC's Registrar, has come to his position through years of climbing the proverbial ladder. "I'm the son of a teacher, and so, when I received the opportunity to come to work at Teachers College in 1967 at the age of 22, it was really a treat."

Jennings began working in the Office of Building and Grounds, became the Secretary to the Space Committee and eventually was in charge of assigning classroom space. After two years, TC's long-time and legendary Registrar, Roland Rinsland, who had become Jenning's mentor, offered the young man the position of Assistant Registrar in 1969. Jennings rose to Associate Registrar and served as office manager and worked with students in areas of teacher certification until 1979, when he left the college to assume the position as Registrar at Long Island University's C.W. Post campus.

"It was with mixed emotions that I accepted the position. Once there, I was asked to take on additional responsibilities of being registrar for approximately six of their eight campuses," he said. He added, "While I learned how to do new things I missed not having a direct relationship with the education department and with teacher certification."

Jennings moved on to City College in 1987 where he took on several positions, including registrar, director of state aid, and director of the computer center. According to Jennings, "Many of the people at City College were Teachers College trained, and so it helped to renew my dedication to teacher education."

With the retirement of Dr. Rinsland in 1996, Jennings accepted the position as Registrar and Director of Doctoral Studies at TC. "I returned home. I'm living proof that you can go home again. Because I really do love the place. It's a pleasure to come to work with a smile on my face."

Once back, Jennings set to work on what he perceived were challenges that needed to be addressed. "I was concerned," he said, "about using college computer systems in a way to efficiently record data so that students, faculty, and staff would have access to whatever information they needed in a timely fashion."

"I also thought it was important to become proactive with students in areas of teacher certification," he added. "The process is very involved and now I consider myself capable of understanding what are the rules and regulations and I'm able to relate the information to students. I meet with students in the pre-service programs at least once a semester to go over the requirements and help them through the transition to teaching in the public schools."

Speaking about the student body at TC, Jennings enjoys extolling them. "We attract the cream of the crop. We have the best here and we do an excellent job with them while they are here. TC students are unlike any other."

Jennings is happy to provide students with some tips when they are in need of answers to pressing questions." First," he said, "read the catalog carefully. It is a contract with you, the student, and it's important for students to be familiar with it."

"Second," he added, " make yourself aware of what's available on the College's Web site."

"Third, use our technology. Besides registration on the Web, we have touch-tone registration. You can also view your grades on-line."

"But, if you have an important problem that needs an answer don't hesitate to work through your department or my office," he said. "My door is open and students can come and see me at any point in time. Seeing students and working with them is the best part of my job."

Reminiscing about the College, Jennings said, "It's really exciting to be part of an institution that places its faith in you. It's the people that make the place and the people we work with are wonderful."

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