NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ986695
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 24
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0889
The Complex Origins of the Registrar
Smith, Shawn C.
College and University, v87 n4 p10-14, 16-17 Spr 2012
The origins of the registrar's office are complex. According to common tradition, the registrar was, or evolved from, the office of the beadle (sometimes referred to as "bedel") in the medieval university. This tradition is incorrect; the story is more complex. The beadle sometimes performed functions similar to those performed by the modern-day registrar, but not generally. Also, claims that the office of the beadle evolved into that of the registrar are unjustified. Instead, it could be said that the role of registrar grew out of any number of positions. At Oxford, it grew out of certain duties performed by the chancellor and proctors. Even if beadles in Paris performed duties similar to those of a registrar--as beadles at Oxford may have with regard to recording degrees and in reference to matriculation--the various sources consulted do not indicate consistent practice among universities. Although all medieval universities had beadles, each university had a unique organizational structure. The office of the medieval beadle may bear some "connection" to the office of the registrar, but the similarities are few, and the story is written in shades of grey rather than in black and white. However, that does not mean that a registrar should feel less proud of the importance or the origins of the position. Their value lies not in alleged connections to the medieval beadles who carried fancy sticks, but in the importance of their work with records and registration--work that is as necessary now as it was then.
American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). One Dupont Circle NW Suite 520, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-293-9161; Fax: 202-872-8857; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France; United Kingdom (England)