Q&A with Associate Registrar Colleen Duddles

By Matthew Willemot
Staff Writer

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As associate registrar, Colleen Duddles supervises and organizes daily operations for the Registrar’s Office. She oversees registration, management of undergraduate and/or graduate student academic records, records system processing and retention.

1. What brought you to RC and why do you choose to work here?
“My daughter, Amanda, who is graduating this spring started attending RC as a high school student in Oxford. She was one of the first classes in Oxford as part of the early college program. Other than driving by RC, I really didn’t know a whole lot about it. My daughter was in her second year at RC and was having a good experience with it, and she decided that this is where she wanted to go to school. I was working in the elementary school system and was ready to go back to work full-time. I thought about how my daughter had good experiences at RC, and everyone that I had met at RC is kind and knowledgeable.  I started wondering if they had any jobs available, so I started looking and eventually this position was open. I got an interview, and I got the job!”

2. What’s the easiest and hardest part of your job? Why? (Is your job more difficult or easier at certain parts of the year?) “The easiest part is probably the team that makes up the registrar’s office. We have a great group of people that work here and it makes the hard times easier because everybody helps each other out, everybody is respectful toward one another, and we have a good time together working. The hardest part is preparing students for graduation and sometimes students think they’re ready to graduate and they get bad news from me that they’re not. I don’t like to be the deliverer of bad news, so that can be stressful at times. The start of the semester is stressful on our office because of all of the students coming in, meeting changes, help with schedules, those kind of things. There can be stressful times just because of the abundance of the work, certainly letting someone down is not fun either; however, there are upsides where you can fix a problem or solve a problem for a student.”

3. What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
“When a student comes in with a problem or is upset about something that hasn’t gone the way they wanted it to, but I am able to make it right in some way. It may not be exactly what they hoped for, but they feel helped and the situation isn’t as dire as they thought when they came in.  I think that those are the moments where you feel good.

4. What do you do outside your job to stay sane, relieve stress, or what are your hobbies?
“My background is actually interior design, so that’s what I got my degree in. I do have a creative place that I need an outlet for. I do enjoy doing home renovation projects at my house. I also enjoy the arts. I go to 20 Front Street in Lake Orion and like going there to listen to music. I also spend time with my family.

5. Where did you grow up? Describe
“I pretty much lived in Michigan my whole life, not in the same areas, but between here and Saginaw. The bulk of it was probably in the Lake Orion area, which I still live in now. I did leave for a little bit to go up to San Francisco for design.”

6. What is your favorite thing to do in the Rochester Area? Or in Michigan?
“I would have to say that going to downtown Rochester is my favorite thing to do while they have events going on. Other than Rochester, as I mentioned before, I enjoy going to 20 Front Street in Lake Orion for the music and art.”

7. What is your most prized possession?
“That’s a tough one. I would say my family, not that I possess them or anything, but I would say my family is my most prized possession.”

8. What is your most embarrassing moment?
“I started 3rd grade at a new school midway through the year, which is already nerve racking enough. As a kid, when I was focused on writing or drawing, I would stick my tongue out on my upper lip. On my first day, a girl in the class yelled out to the class, ‘The new girl sticks her tongue out when she writes.’ Needless to say, I wanted to crawl under my desk. Not for long though; she became one of my best friends, and still is today!”

9. What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
“My biggest obstacle that I have overcome would be feeling comfortable and confident in group settings — whether networking at a conference or meeting people at a large social event. I feel the older I have become, the easier this has been— probably due to feeling comfortable with one's self has a lot to do with it. However, there are still times when I have to mentally prepare myself for certain events.”

10. Who was your biggest influence?
“My parents are the people who had the biggest influence in my life. My mom is very creative and the part of me that appreciates the arts and interior design definitely comes from her. My dad has always been very business oriented and tackles situations/ problems the same way I do. Additionally, our family has always been very close, and having my kids around me brings me such joy. I truly can see how the person I am today has come from both of them.”