Five minutes with Kay Trooien

By IAN LACK Reporter

Editor’s note: The “Five minutes with” series focuses on a different person each time. The interviewer spends five minutes speaking with a person each week to learn about them, their specialty or something they are passionate about.

Kay Trooien graduated from Mitchell Technical Institute with an administrative degree in 1983. She began working for South Dakota State in October 2011 as a senior secretary in the Registrar’s Office. Her responsibilities include scheduling times and locations for all SDSU classes on. Trooien also helps shape individual student class schedules. She lives on a farm north of White with her spouse and three sons.

Q:  Could you describe your job responsibilities in the Registrar’s Office?

A: I basically assist the departments in scheduling their courses. I have 95 rooms that I schedule classes in from Monday through Friday. That’s for the entire campus — all the classes that the students attend and all the rooms that they use for those classes. The departments usually recommend times that they would like for classes and I see the availability for rooms and give them options depending on different things.

Q:  What is your job like on a day-to-day basis starting when you first arrive in your office?

A: I pretty much hit the ground running the second I step in the door because I usually have a plethora of emails to go through before I work on room schedules. I look at my job like a big puzzle on a day-to-day basis. I look at how I can get close to 2,500 courses to fit into 95 rooms. It’s a daily thing, organizing and reorganizing.

Q: How long does it take to schedule a semester’s worth of classes for the university?

A: It usually takes between about four and five months because what I do is I prepare everything to go to the departments and other outlets — that’s 49 areas that I’m reaching out to like the University Center in Sioux Falls and in Rapid City and Pierre. I have to send everybody information to look through for a couple weeks and then they’ll send me information back and we check off different departments from there. It’s about 16 weeks before things go live on WebAdvisor and then things get tweaked from there. The nice thing about that is that things flow automatically throughout the whole system.

Q: What would you say is most challenging about your job?

A: I would just say thinking that extra year or more out and trying to keep everyone in that train of thought.

Q: If you could have offered yourself one piece of advice before you began working in the Registrar’s Office, what would you have said?

A: I would say, “just be prepared for anything unexpected,” because every day really is, especially dealing with students directly. You have to find new answers for students and sometimes even instructors. I’d say just be prepared for everything that gets thrown your way.

Q: Your job probably involves a lot of organization to keep things clear. What do you do to keep your organization on track?

A: I always keep a calendar and I itemize everything. Like, right now, I’m working on the summer and fall of 2018 to send out to departments and I have a checklist to make sure that I’ve covered all my bases for what needs to be taken care of. Right now, students are thinking about the summer and fall of 2018 already, so we have to organize more in advance. I don’t know how else to keep track of everything, so I’d definitely recommend something to write out all of your work.

Q: If you could use one word to describe your job here in the Registrar’s Office, what would you say and why?

A: I’ve never really thought about it, but I guess I’d say “helpful” comes to mind. I help the departments, but I also take student phone calls and help them with their schedules and talk with instructors if they have questions. I try to be a one-stop-shop — helpful on everything I guess!