CAB Spotlight on Melissa Geier and Scott Ziolko

by | Apr 14, 2021 | News

CAB Spotlights help you get to know the current Client Advisory Board members. The CAB serves as a liaison between CollegeSource and the community of professionals using CollegeSource software to maximize the higher education experience. Each spotlight is presented in a “Q&A” interview style and provides insights into CAB members’ institutions, what they are passionate about, and their perspective on issues within the higher education community. Additionally, CAB members may share anecdotes, advice, and what they have learned from being on the CAB.
We hope that these articles give you a new way to connect with the CAB and appreciate why each member was selected to represent our user community. In this portion of the series, we are excited to highlight two members.
Meet Melissa Geier and Scott Ziolko.

In the Spotlight: Melissa Geier

Melissa-Geier-CollegeSource-Client-Advisory-Board-MemberMelissa Geier is the Assistant Registrar at Park University where she manages curriculum changes and office systems, and looks for way to improve business efficiency. She has been in her current role for 4 years and a part of Park University for the past 16 years. The institution uses the Jenzabar student information system (SIS) and utilizes TES, the Transfer Evaluation System, from CollegeSource. Previously, Melissa was Academic Director at Embry Riddle Aeuronautical University.
Do you participate in any associations, industry conferences or online groups? How does interacting with your peers from other institutions help you perform your job more effectively?
I typically attend the Jenzabar, Digarc, Missouri AACRAO, and/or CollegeSource conferences. It helps to hear what others are doing. When looking at technology utilization like TES, it is nice to see how others are using the same features and how their offices are structured. I am a member of MOAACRAO (Missouri AACRAO) and AACRAO. I am also a SCRUM Master and participate in SCRUM association, which helps me to manage projects in the office.
What have you learned about being on the CAB? Why might you encourage others to apply?
It is interesting getting some of the behind-the-door look at products. Hearing suggestions from other members on the board helps me think about how we can use the system better.
Reflecting back over your years in higher education, what do you think has changed that may not be apparent to an “outsider” or to someone who has just joined the community?
Like many other industries, administration in higher education is having to become more and more data driven. This means that staff have to be more comfortable with using technology on a daily basis. The Registrar’s Office, for instance, has many positions that are equivalent to an IT position.
What advice can you offer first-time attendees at the CollegeSource annual conference, or to users trying to decide about whether to go?
Don’t be afraid to join in. It can be comforting to hear from people in a similar situation. I have gained so many ideas for improving staff experience and student experience from conferences like this.
What is the best thing about your job? The most challenging thing? What strategies do you use to become more productive/efficient, to give better service, or to keep your job fresh?
I don’t have any one particular niche in the office. Because I work to improve processes or I am working to create reports, I work with each unit in the office and many outside the office. This allows me to have a broad view of what is happening. I love being able to help everyone and connect the different units into one cohesive entity. It is hard to manage the daily tasks with the other items that pop up each day. I have a to do list in Teams that I created to help keep me on track and to manage my priorities. I also use my Outlook calendar to set reminders on tasks I need to accomplish.

In the Spotlight: Scott Ziolko

Scott-Ziolko-CollegeSource-Client-Advisory-Board-MemberScott Ziolko is Senior Evaluator in the Office of the Registrar at Columbia College of Missouri. With 17 years of experience serving in this role, Scott evaluates traditional and nontraditional credit, maintains and updates equivalency guides using TES the Transfer Evaluation System, creates precursory reviews for applicants and potential military, and assists in the creation and updating of articulation agreements. Columbia College uses the Ellucian Colleague SIS and, as mentioned, utilizes TES from CollegeSource.
Do you participate in any associations, industry conferences or online groups? How does interacting with your peers from other institutions help you perform your job more effectively?
I regularly attend the Conference for Transfer Articulation in Missouri. It is a great way to stay up to date with transfer trends within the state, participate in discussions about meeting the needs of the modern student, and hearing solutions other institutions have used to address transfer issues.
What have you learned about being on the CAB and what projects are you working on? 
Currently, I have only been involved for a few months but the atmosphere is very open and the feedback provided by CollegeSource is always appreciated. Right now we are doing our best to make the next virtual conference a success and give insight on how to increase the interaction between users.
What advice can you offer first-time attendees at the CollegeSource annual conference, or to users trying to decide about whether to go?
Take notes! The CollegeSource Annual Conference is great for discovering new ways to maximize your use of CollegeSource products. Columbia College has really made the most of TES based on ideas that have come directly out of this conference, such at displaying our equivalencies on our home page and using the Group Reports to display transfer degree plans.
What do you see as a recent trend or on the horizon for higher education? What problems do you think it needs to/will have to solve?
I feel like there is a better general understanding of the definition of “modern students” over the outdated term of “non-traditional,” and have seen more efforts being made to address their needs, such as transferring credit and adjusting to the culture difference between two-year and four-year institutions. There is still a need to break out of “2 year/4 year” degree molds and try to find ways to help students obtain their educational goals in formats that are flexible enough to work around their lives outside of school.
What is the best thing about your job? 
The best thing is being able to provide students with a clear picture of how they could potentially achieve their educational goals with their transfer credit. This is especially satisfying with the military as they tend to have a lot of credit from different sources.
Why CollegeSource? What do our products do for you that is critical to your and your students’ success?
Having lived the evaluations life “pre-TES” I can tell anyone that it made our processes much more efficient. Being able to pull up exact course descriptions from a large range of catalog dates is so much better than digging through PDFs or physical copies (not to mention greatly reduced paper cuts). And the storage and displaying of equivalencies helped revolutionize our equivalency guides, making them easier to update and maintain.
What is something fun that the community might want to know about you?
I am a pencil and ink artist. My style is very much influenced by comic books but I try to expand it to things outside of pop culture. My hope is to begin making comic books again (I have created at least 15 in the last 15 years). I am an avid Karaoke participant, although living in a college town most of the crowd has no idea what is happening when I break into Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants. I was also at one point the number one Air Guitarist in Columbia, MO, as was decided by a sparsely attended competition about 10 years ago.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know CAB members, Melissa Geier and Scott Ziolko, and look forward to spotlighting the rest of the CAB with you. Stay tuned for more!