Staff hero: Handling transfer requests hasn’t slowed during pandemic


Maria Schockling is the lead evaluator of transfer credits for the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences; she lets transfer students know whether a class they’ve already taken at another institution will get Pitt credit and count toward completion of basic academic requirements.

And the number of inquiries she fields month after month — since Pitt’s admissions office does rolling acceptances — has only grown during the pandemic, she says.

Schockling started at the front desk of the Dietrich School’s student records office in 2008 and is now its academic administrator. She is also part of that office’s team handling graduation applications — making sure each undergraduate has enough credits and that their GPAs, honors, majors, minors and certificates are noted accurately.

When COVID-19 hit a year ago, the process for approving transfer credits was already paperless, but Schockling and coworkers got busy creating a new online graduation application form.

“It’s definitely working better than at this time last year,” she says. Since she received a second monitor from the office (“a total lifesaver,” she says), she’s found that working at home is a lot smoother — and still gratifying. It’s especially welcome, she says, when she hears from parents or students who are happy to see transfer credits go through or find something added to their graduation record that they’d inadvertently missed.

Working at home also saves her tremendous time, despite the need to email colleagues rather than shouting questions across her open office space. “I used to take two buses and it was around an hour one way, so I don’t miss that,” she says.

“You do miss the people,” she adds. However, “it is a bit quieter, so you can get more work done sometimes. I would have no problem if this became a permanent situation or part-time.”

She is looking forward to seeing how the campus has changed in a year, particularly the transformation of Bigelow Boulevard between the Cathedral of Learning and the William Pitt Union from car-focused to a more pedestrian-friendly landscape: “It will be really remarkable to see Bigelow.”

Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-758-4859.


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