Good humor and hard work: Associate registrar Margie Claxton recognized with Outstanding Staff Award

Margie Claxton is wry and soft-spoken. She does her work quietly, efficiently,  and behind the scenes.

Claxton, UCSC’s associate registrar, is as far from a self-publicizer as you can get. It is difficult to find any biographical information on her online, or even a photograph, unless you count the one that appears alongside this story.

But Claxton’s public profile is just about to get a little bigger. Claxton, this year’s UCSC Alumni Association Outstanding Staff Award honoree, takes on "unimaginably gargantuan tasks," according to co-workers who nominated her for the award. One of her colleagues stated, flat out, that she hopes Claxton stays at UCSC forever: “I sincerely worry about what will happen when she decides to retire.”

Other staff members will have a chance to congratulate her on Tuesday, May 20, during the annual Staff Appreciation Picnic, which will coincide this year with the UC Walks fitness event. UCSC Wellness and the Staff Advisory Board (SAB) are presenting the event. Those who attend can take a "wellness break" and walk 30 minutes with co-workers, and then enjoy a picnic in appreciation of UCSC staff. Special guests will include UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal and Sammy the Slug. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on OPERS East Field.

Claxton has been on campus for 15 years. She helps produce the UCSC General Catalog and Schedule of Classes and ensures that courses and programs are approved and available for students. She works closely with faculty, staff, and the UCSC Academic Senate.
She deals with daunting challenges every week, including a perennial shortage of classrooms. During sections of the day that professors consider “prime time,” several different classes can vie for the same room. In such situations, Claxton helps coordinate, and tries to facilitate room swaps when necessary. “It’s not like there are extra rooms that stay empty,’’ she said. “Our largest classrooms get booked all day long and into the evening.”
She admits that she feels the pressure sometimes, “but I try and maintain a sense of humor.”
Claxton fits in comfortably in Santa Cruz. While she might seem like a born-and-raised Santa Cruzan, Claxton is from the other side of the country. She grew up in Hartford, Connecticut, the youngest of seven children. After graduating from Tufts University with a B.A. in History, she moved to Austin, Texas as a VISTA volunteer working as a paralegal at Legal Aid. There she met her husband Ed who was and still is an acoustic guitar maker. From Austin they moved to Galveston, Texas, where they were both employed by the Galveston Historical Foundation. Their next move was to Maine. After 12 long winters, they decided to move to Santa Cruz, where they are enjoying life with their eight-year old golden retriever.
Co-workers give her especially high marks for her listening and organizational skills,  and for her grasp of the idiosyncrasies of programs and courses. One of them wrote this observation: “Somehow, magically, the thousands of students arrive and sit in thousands of seats during the first day of class every single quarter and I really think she is the one who makes it happen. Undergraduate students will never know her name but she is the one to thoughtfully assign (a professor’s) sections between two lectures and before the Friday when quizzes will be given.”
"I enjoy working with faculty and staff,” Claxtn said. She has an intimate knowledge of the student information system software the campus uses to set up classes and enroll students and she understands the course and program approval process.
Often, faculty and staff will call her and ask how to get a course or a program approved. Her work is important, she said, because she helps ensure that classes are available, helping UCSC to retain and graduate students, making sure they get the classes that they need and have majors they can thrive in.
“And  it isn’t just me,” she said. “I work with a hard-working group of staff members in the Registrar’s Office who are always willing to help students, faculty, and staff. I am also so impressed by the dedication of faculty and staff and advisers on campus.”