Ida Otani: Retired Evaluations Technician Recalls the Registration Process at Sierra College in the 1960s
Ida Otani is a forward thinker who always looks ahead. When she applied at Sierra College she didn’t expect to be offered a job on the spot. But that is exactly what happened. When she started in 1961, many of the modern day processes of student admissions and records were manual efforts. Registration was quite the process in the beginning. They were completed on IBM cards that came from the computer room. Each of these cards had different classes on them and were organized alphabetically in metal trays. We would have charts that listed each of the classes in numerical order. “The night before I would create these charts. So when a class closed down, I would have a student scratch the class off the list.”
Ida had a passion for organizing information and created processes to make her daily job easier. “I had a ten key adding machine that every time I have to figure out the GPA I had to punch it in. I thought this is nonsense as I had to do this over and over again. So I designed a chart and printed it all out so all I had to do is glance at the chart to get an immediate answer and that’s how I did all my work.” This process greatly assisted other employees in completing their calculations in a quick manner.
And Ida wasn’t alone in her work ethic. She recalls how a fellow employee, Bill Valentine, shared her devotion to Sierra College. One night she remembers leaving late and when she came back in the next morning he was still there working. “I wasn’t the only one working long hours.”
What drove her dedication? “Everybody was like family, everybody pitched in. I felt really close to the student, the faculty and the personnel. I’m sure we all felt that way.”
Everybody was like family, everybody pitched in. I felt really close to the student, the faculty and the personnel. I’m sure we all felt that way.Ida Otani
Retired Evaluations Technician and PE Assistant