Robert Bailey, UC Berkeley former director of admissions, recalls time working on ‘The Rock’

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UC Berkeley former registrar and director of admissions Robert Bailey explains his time working on ‘The Rock’ of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

A former UC Berkeley registrar and director of admissions, Robert Bailey, who’s since traveled across large swathes of the world, looks back on his time spent working on ‘The Rock’ – a well-known island and the most populous part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, off the east coast of North America’s mainland, better recognized by many as Newfoundland.

“When I tell my colleagues that I spent two years on The Rock, unless they’re from Canada, they laugh and ask what I was in prison for,” reveals Bailey, a former director of admissions and registrar at UC Berkeley in California.

Bailey says he then has to explain that he was working for the Newfoundland, Canadian government as a records consultant in the OCIO office. “Actually, just before accepting the job, I’d just finished an across-Canada driving vacation going from Vancouver to Nova Scotia and back,” reveals the former UC Berkeley registrar.

While in Nova Scotia, Robert Bailey decided not to go to Newfoundland because, he says, with the ferry ride, it would take an extra three days. “Then, three months later,” he goes on, “I was, as it would turn out, flying into St. John’s, the capital and largest city of Newfoundland and Labrador, to work in records management.”

Among Bailey’s biggest memories from his time working on Newfoundland island, nicknamed ‘The Rock,’ is the harsh winters. “The winters are extremely harsh and I got used to going to sleep at night to the sound of the snowplows going,” he reveals, “and driving among the native moose – it was one of my best assignments.”

While there, Robert Bailey, UC Berkeley former director of admissions, went to Labrador several times and boated around the floating icebergs, chased whales, and enjoyed, he says, plentiful stream fishing. “Watching the Atlantic puffin birds, too, the work was very interesting, and since the records office was part of the computer systems office, we could easily focus on the transition from paper to electronic records,” adds the former UC Berkeley faculty member.

“When I was there, St. John’s was home to the world’s largest helicopter company,” he goes on, “yet my biggest success personally was working with the Office of Legal Services, which had years of paper records and a young library-trained lady that wanted to bring them into the 20th century.”

Robert Bailey, UC Berkeley former registrar and director of admissions, says that they listened carefully to him, worked hard, and thus were able to reduce the volume of paper records significantly.

“As you boat into St. John’s harbor, the buildings sit on the side of the hill and look very modern and can be seen for miles,” recalls Bailey of arriving on Newfoundland island by sea. “It’s very cutting edge,” he adds, wrapping up, “and if you get a chance to work on The Rock, take it, because it’ll be an experience of a lifetime.”