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14 December 2022
A Registrar’s Handbook Launch
In a first for South African universities, A Registrar’s Handbook has been launched as a guide on how to navigate the tertiary education governance and academic administrative landscape. 
Dr Nita Lawton-Misra paging through
A Registrar's Handbook.

A Registrar’s Handbook is a useful tool for current and aspiring Registrars and is the creation of nine university Registrars, led by Dr Nita Lawton-Misra, Registrar at the University of Western Cape. 

Co-authors include external stakeholders who contributed their time and expertise to the handbook.

UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor Professor Tyrone Pretorius praises the Handbook in his review and says: “Dr Nita Lawton-Misra is commended for assembling expert contributors who provide clarity and context on the Registrar’s role in the university sector. The timing of this Handbook is impeccable! It comes at a time when poor governance has resulted in many organisations crumbling to the ground.”

In her review Ambassador Nozipho January-Bardill, the Chairperson of Council: Nelson Mandela University, writes: “Corporate Governance and Executive Management in institutions of higher education are only as effective as the people who lead both Council and the Administration. They set the tone and can build or break our universities. Registrars are the glue that binds the two centres of power in the machinery and keep us honest and on track.”

Lawton-Misra says the idea of the handbook was conceptualised when she realised the gap that exists in training individuals to take on the role of a university Registrar.
A Registrar’s Handbook is available in
hardcopy and electronic format.

"The idea was to put together something that aspiring Registrars, even current Registrars, would be able to use as a guide. I think that when many of us took on the role we had to depend on our own common sense, our experiences, and the wisdom of the collective to ensure that we were able to do what needed to be done. We found that there was an absence of any formal capacity training for Registrars. Yet this role is one of the most significant at the university.”

At the launch of the book, Registrars and invited guests listened to keynote speaker, Professor Themba Mosia, the former Chairperson of the Council on Higher Education.

Mosia says: “This is a very constructive piece of work, and it gives a good account of what a Registrar is and what they do, and I think it’s something that needs to be shared. The journey of a Registrar is not an attractive one, and it isn’t easy… but it is rewarding.”

It’s envisioned that A Registrar’s Handbook will be a useful tool for university managements, council chairpersons and Registrars to acquaint themselves with the role and responsibilities of the position, as well contribute positively to the governance of universities.

A Registrar’s Handbook is available in both hardcopy and electronic format.
The co-authors of A Registrar’s Handbook are academics and registrars from eight South African universities as well as expert stakeholders.
All pictures by Nathan Adams/UWC Media