October 13, 2021

Josh Hayes wins Office of University Registrar award

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, Space Logistics Coordinator Josh Hayes helped remove 10,000 seats from classrooms across the Columbus campus to align with social distancing requirements.

Then, in summer 2021, Hayes led a team of movers to put all those seats back.

“Make no mistake—working with the movers is tough work,” said Senior Assistant Registrar for Room and Class Scheduling Michael Gable. “When we work with the movers, we do the job with them. Josh, both literally and figuratively, did a lot of heavy lifting this summer.”

On October 13, 2021, Hayes won the annual Edith D. Cockins Award in recognition of his work.

The Edith D. Cockins Award, which is named after the university’s first registrar, goes to an employee in the Office of the University Registrar who demonstrates a commitment to quality, efficiency and innovation in simplifying processes and delivering a better experience for Ohio State students, faculty and staff. The award, which has been handed out since 1968, comes with a $500 prize.

Hayes was one of nine University Registrar staff members who were nominated for the award. The other nominees were:

  • Lisa Duffy, Program Coordinator, Degree Audit/Athletic Eligibility
  • Kadia Hufford, Program Coordinator, Testing Center
  • Portia LaMarr, Program Coordinator, Degree Audit/Enterprise Project
  • Colin Lee, Program Coordinator, Transfer Credit Center
  • Fallon Perl, Staff Assistant, Academic Records/Residency
  • Tim Quinlan, Program Manager, Degree Audit/Athletic Eligibility
  • David Wallace, Staff Assistant, Transfer Credit Center
  • Ryan Wilson, Sr. Business Analyst, Systems

“The entire Office of the University of the Registrar team helped respond to the pandemic, so it was hard for the committee to select one winner," said University Registrar Adrienne Bricker. "Josh went above and beyond in his work to ensure that our students had a good transition back to the classroom in autumn 2021."

About Hayes' work

Almost immediately after helping to move 10,000 seats from classrooms to comply with social distancing restrictions, Hayes started developing a plan to put them all back. The plan changed and evolved along with the pandemic. But Hayes didn’t miss a beat when it was time to put the plan into action.

“At the beginning of summer, Josh worked with the movers for two weeks to reset about 250 of almost 400 rooms. This included our normal classrooms as well as 43 "novel" classrooms—the spaces we absorbed into the pool during the pandemic,” Gable said. “These novel spaces are extra challenging as you're dealing with furniture that doesn't belong to the pool and managing relationships with owners of spaces usually used for other purposes. Josh did a great job coordinating these moves and working with novel space owners to make sure things were put back in the right way.”

Other colleagues agreed.

“Josh has one of those roles where, when things are done right, you will never hear about it. However, when something is not right, we will surely hear about it,” said Andree’ Houston, Executive Assistant to the University Registrar. “Just hearing bits and pieces about his role, I am thoroughly impressed how one person can manage it all, work across units, and do it with a smile and maybe a little sweat on his brow.”

About the award's namesake

Edith D. Cockins graduated from Ohio State in 1894. She became the director of records at Ohio State at age 20 and a year later was named the first registrar of the university.

Before Cockins became registrar, all university records were maintained by the university president. She alone handled these functions until 1901 when it became necessary to hire permanent staff. Cockins served as registrar until her retirement in 1944.

Cockins was an administrator unique to her time, and her innovative ideas, farsightedness and determination have made her a legend to several generations. She brought dignity and respect to the Office of the University Registrar and to the university. The recipients of the annual award that’s named in her honor carry on that tradition.