A student using a tablet propped up on a desk

Application accolades for UTM Registrar team

Carla DeMarco

A team in UofT Mississauga’s Office of the Registrar and Information & Instructional Technology Services recognized for their innovative inquiry platform

The Office of the Registrar (OR) and Information & Instructional Technology Services (I&ITS) can add another award to their record of recognition for the AskRegistrar project: their AskRegistrar project won the Devvies App of the Year Award at the annual ServiceNow conference in Las Vegas.

“The AskRegistrar application was selected out of hundreds of nominations, which is absolutely amazing,” says Richard Levin, Interim Registrar at UTM.

“This international recognition attests to the outstanding work by the team in the Registrar’s Office, and it is a credit to UTM and to the University of Toronto as a whole.”

Nia McCash and Cesar Mejia from the AskRegistrar team, holding their Devvies awards
Two of the AskRegistrar team members, Nia McCash, I&ITS, and César Mejia, Office of the Registrar

The AskRegistrar team includes the following OR and Information & Instructional and Technology Services (I&ITS) staff members: César Mejia, associate registrar, systems, scheduling & examinations; Nia McCash, ServiceNow architect, I&ITS; Johnny Chung, senior programmer/analyst; Lovedeep Grewal, programmer/analyst; Erli Fan, programmer/analyst; Guilherme Dos Reis Henriques, programmer/analyst; Vladimir Soloviev, associate registrar, records, registration and graduation; Michelle Kraus, associate registrar, academic standards, advising and financial aid; Sandra Ngan, assistant registrar, student communications; Lynne Hsueh, assistant registrar, records and registration; Bridgette Arrindell, assistant registrar, financial aid; and Olha Fihol, assistant registrar, registrarial services.

The pandemic necessitated a more digital and accessible format to handle student inquiries, and the OR and I&ITS delivered by developing this system that allows access from almost anywhere, anytime, seven days a week, as well as enabling OR staff the ability to better understand service demand based on the metrics they can track via the platform.

“Over time, student inquiries had increased for our unit, and when we had to switch to a fully remote service experience because of COVID, we had even more requests coming through that needed more immediate responses,” says one of the team leads César Mejia.

“The AskRegistrar system was our solution to this increase, but also with the ability to track what kinds of requests come in the most frequently, we can be more proactive and intentional with the information we share with students and perhaps offset some of the common questions that come in regularly.”

Since it was launched in August 2020, the AskRegistrar virtual ticketing and question triage system has facilitated OR staff with resolving over 130,000 student requests and has enhanced the student experience: response time has been significantly decreased, from 3-14 days now reduced to 1-3 business days, and saving costs in terms of not requiring additional staff to field inquiries.  

In addition to the innovative nature of this platform, Levin says that he is impressed by the OR and I&ITS team’s dedication to continually improving the AskRegistrar system in order to meet the students’ needs efficiently.

“This year, several new features were introduced that have further enhanced the application's functionality,” says Levin.

“The proof of payment, late registration, graduation letter, and awards modules have streamlined processes and improved the overall user experience for both students and staff. Additionally, we have successfully integrated payment options through Moneris directly into the application, simplifying the financial aspects of student transactions.”

This AskRegistrar system has also previously been recognized for the value it brings to the academic community: in March 2023, they received the Ontario University Registrar’s Association Innovation Award; and in January 2021, they were recipients of the Canadian Association of the University Business Officers Innovation Award, as well as the University of Toronto Excellence Through Innovation Award.

“We are so grateful for the OR and I&ITS team’s service and creativity in making the AskRegistrar application so successful,” says Nick Rule, Acting Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean.

“Through this system, you have elevated the student experience, improved the OR unit’s operations, and transitioned our community to an efficient online forum when it was needed most. Your leadership is an inspiration to our partners throughout the University and in all universities. It is truly outstanding and innovative work for which I want to express my sincere appreciation to everyone who helped develop this award-winning AskRegistrar application.”