This article was written by Jamie Offerdahl, a contributing author for The Concordian.
After more than two years of working as the assistant dean of the registrar, Nancy Penna is leaving her job at Concordia College. Penna’s last day at Concordia was Oct. 26.
In mid-November she will start a new job with the National Student Clearinghouse, a non-profit organization that works with colleges and universities to verify student enrollment. Penna will be the Midwest regional director and act as the contact between the company and schools in the Midwest. She will be moving to Kansas City as soon as her house in Fargo sells, but about half of her new job will be traveling, so she will be doing a lot of personal contact.
Penna began working as the assistant dean of the registrar in May 2009, when Concordia had just been through four years of incremental changes in the core curriculum and was implementing what are now known as Banner and DegreeWorks. Penna wasn’t phased by joining the staff during this hectic time.
“It was fun,” Penna said. “It’s a really good thing when colleges take responsibility to evaluate and change their curriculum. It’s easy to become stagnant for colleges that don’t do that.”
Now fast-forward a little over two years – the core curriculum is fully in place, and Banner and DegreeWorks are what incoming students will continue to use to register and plan out their next four years at Concordia. No longer are students waiting in line at the registrar holding a little green piece of paper with a schedule on it, hoping those classes aren’t already filled. Penna can be thanked as a crucial part of these changes. Ericka Haug, assistant registrar, said that Penna’s new outlook was a fantastic thing to have.
“I’m a Cobber, so it’s nice to have a fresh perspective,” Haug said. “She’s not brand new to this role. She’s had lots of years of experience, but she’s brought a wonderful perspective to the college and a fresh view to Concordia.”
Haug, who will be acting as interim registrar in Penna’s absence, says that Concordia will be conducting a national search for a registrar, but that she will be putting her name in for consideration.
Bruce Vieweg, interim dean of students, thinks that Penna was the perfect choice for Concordia. Vieweg saw that Penna had significant previous experience, which included working with online programs, so he knew that working with Banner would be easy for her along with the all of the other duties that she would be taking on.
“Nancy has the ability to see all of the trees in the forest,” Vieweg said. “She can see each individual thing without losing sight of the big picture. Not a lot of people can do that.”
Penna said she enjoyed her time at Concordia and will miss all of the wonderful people with whom she had the chance to work.
“All of the things I had heard about the quality of this place were absolutely true,” Penna said. “The people here are passionate about what they do, and they care about the students, which is not necessarily what you find everywhere you go but is certainly true here. It has been a delight and a pleasure being here.”