Flexibility, Organization Priorities for New Registrar

Steve Carlson says he hopes to capture some of the best of the past as he guides the Registrar’s Office into the future.

“This might sound a bit ironic, but the one thing I most want to maintain as constant is an openness to change and adjustment,” Maranatha’s new Registrar said. “An institution like ours is constantly working with ideas and projects, and many of those things have some direct effect on our office. So, being flexible is just normal procedure for us.”

Carlson, Associate Registrar since 2002, began his new duties in May. His predecessor, Dr. David Hershberger, was Registrar during the last 35 of his 38 years at Maranatha. Jonathan Coleman is now Assistant Registrar.

Organizational skills are the first prerequisite for a Registrar. He must be able to plan academic programs and faculty teaching loads, collect and analyze academic data, and even help students sort out  complex scheduling problems. Carlson will spend less time with those students in his new role, but doesn’t want to lose personal ministry altogether.

“The nature of my old job was that students would come to see me in a time of crisis, at least in their view,” Carlson said. “I will have to give up some of that interaction to become more of an administrator, but I still don’t want to have just token contact with students. I want to be involved.”

Steve Carlson with Bookstore crew, 1998Carlson spent 15 years as a pastor at three different churches before coming to Maranatha in 1998. He worked as Campus Stores Manager (right) while earning his master’s degree in Bible in December of 1999. The textbook process provoked frequent discussions between Carlson and Hershberger, who quickly recognized Carlson’s organizational skills.

“I like to read about how to organize,” Carlson said. “To a large extent, that’s what our office is about. You can’t be a sloppy person and do a good job in here.”

Hershberger recognized at least one other vital skill in Carlson.

“Maybe he didn’t have the technical background, but he had character,” Hershberger said. “He gave himself to that (Campus Stores Manager) job. He put in tons of hours. He was aggressive toward getting the job done and a careful planner. I knew he had the ability to teach himself what he needed to know. You can train someone how to use a computer, but you can’t train character.”

While at Maranatha, Carlson has served as interim pastor for three churches, has taught freshman Greek and three Bible Department elective classes, and has seen all three of his children graduate from the College—Melissa (’06), Dan (’07) and Sarah (’08). Melissa is a missionary to Sweden.

One of Hershberger’s trademarks was his ability to construct complicated but functional spreadsheets. Carlson said he hopes to develop that level of Excel expertise.

“I love spreadsheets, and I love databases too,” Carlson said. “There is a place for both.”

Hershberger said Carlson’s affection for spreadsheets is far from his primary asset.

“He is hard-working, humble, loyal, and has good problem-solving skills,” Hershberger said. “I told Steve from the get-go that I was training him to replace me. Hiring him may have been the best thing I ever did for Maranatha.”