MISSOULA – The University of Montana’s new registrar readily admits the work of her office often goes unnoticed against the backdrop of busy campus life. But as the keepers of all campus academic records, Maria Mangold and her staff know they are an important thread woven throughout each student’s academic story – from orientation, to graduation and beyond.
And for Mangold, who was promoted to registrar in December, the connection to students is one of the most satisfying aspects of every job she’s had at UM.
“Our work is sprinkled throughout with student contact,” she said of the Registrar’s Office. “I accepted this job because I never want to be out of touch with the student experience.”
Mangold’s commitment to students began early in her career when she worked in various advising and student support positions at Roosevelt University, Loyola University, DePaul University and the University of Chicago.
Soon after starting as an academic adviser in UM’s College of Humanities and Sciences in 2010, Mangold quickly immersed herself in campus and would eventually go on serve on the University’s Staff Senate, including Staff Senate chair, and on the inaugural Women's Leadership Initiative cohort.
“I’ve always felt I needed to connect with opportunities, and I wanted to help students do the same,” Mangold said. “I wanted a deeper engagement with the University for me and for my students.”
Before being named interim registrar in July 2020, Mangold served almost three years as registrar and director of student services in UM’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law.
“I found law students so passionate about their studies, and they make huge sacrifices to get their degree,” Mangold said. “I really enjoyed helping them make the path easier.”
Alex Dreussi, a second-year law student, called Mangold his “one-stop shop” for information and help during Dreussi’s first year in law school, adding that Mangold was also a source of encouragement and kindness.
“Maria was able to help me with enrolling in a dual degree program, registering for classes, finding offices in the grander UM campus and helping with any issues I encountered,” Dreussi said.
Ali Bronsdon, a third-year law student, said that Mangold sees students beyond their academic studies and approaches individuals as a whole person.
“When I had questions about my schedule, exams or grades, Maria was happy to help,” Bronsdon said. “But what I am most grateful for is Maria's willingness to work with me to get through a semester when life outside of law school became especially difficult. It was a huge relief to know that no matter what was going on, I could knock on Maria's door and she would have my back.”
Mangold said UM’s whole-person approach came to the fore for her personally in the COVID-19 epidemic, when she was transitioning to the Registrar’s Office while still doing her work at the law school and raising three children of her own.
“The family-friendly atmosphere here has been a huge help for parents,” Mangold said, adding that her children love coming to campus and have always felt welcome.
Mangold encourages everyone at UM to take advantage of UM’s Office of Organizational Learning and Development department to enhance their skills and professional abilities.
“We are getting better and better at providing pathways for staff to grow as individuals and members of the UM community,” Mangold said. “That, in turn, helps to break down silos between us.”
In the coming months, Mangold said she and her staff will look to implement technology upgrades to the Registrar’s Office and deal with the ongoing issues posed by COVID-19.
“COVID has been a challenge, and we’ve really seen here at UM how you can step up to the challenge and learn from both your successes and your challenges,” she said.
Mangold’s leadership during the pandemic was a key factor in her selection as registrar said Reed Humphrey, acting provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. He said these skills will do much to enhance the registrar’s role on campus.
“Her experience in a variety of student-centered roles, coupled with her leadership skills and vision of the Registrar’s Office as the nucleus of academic operations within the University, will ensure her success,” Humphrey said.
Mangold sees a bright future for UM.
“We see strength here in our ability to reinvent ourselves,” she said. “People want to be here, and if you seize the opportunities, UM is a place where your passions can take flight.”
Contact: Maria Mangold, University of Montana registrar, 406-243-2412, email@example.com; Reed Humphrey, University of Montana acting provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, 406-243-4689, firstname.lastname@example.org.