Lynne Regan, Disability Adviser and Student Support and Wellbeing Administration Manager at Medway campus, tells us more about her role.
When did you join the University and why?
I joined the University in January 2008, initially in an administrative role within what was then the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service. I have stayed in the same department – what is now Student Support & Wellbeing, part of the Student Services Directorate – changing over the years from an administration role to a Disability Adviser role, alongside managing the office and administration for the Medway team.
Before joining Kent, I worked in freight forwarding for 10 years until leaving to have my children. I then held various home-based admin roles, which meant I did not have to return to the workplace until the children were older.
Can you tell us what your current role involves?
My current role has two elements. As a Disability Adviser, I support students with physical/sensory disabilities, long-term medical conditions and Autistic Spectrum conditions. This includes talking to students about their support needs, writing Inclusive Learning Plans, and helping students with their eligibility for support from the Disabled Students’ Allowance. I also handle enquiries from academic division staff and other central services, and present our services to new intake students at the start of each academic year.
As Student Support & Wellbeing Administration Manager for Medway, I manage a team of Educational Support Assistants and Administrators at the Medway campus, and work with the Head of Student Support & Wellbeing and Team Managers in Canterbury to ensure an equal and effective service for all students. I also oversee the running of the Student Services office at Medway, which includes the Mental Health and Specific Learning Difficulties Advisers for Medway, Study Skills Tutors and Mentors, Counselling team and the Careers and Employability Team.
How has Covid affected your work and what sort of measures have you taken to overcome these extra challenges?
Covid-19 restrictions have changed the way we work in Student Support & Wellbeing and across the Student Services Directorate. Where appointments were previously in-person, we have had to adapt to providing support remotely. Some students benefit from this support method, whereas others have struggled with not being able to meet support staff in person.
Most of the Student Services team at Medway are currently working from home, with the exception of the Mental Health Adviser and Specialist Mentor. As Admin Manager, I have kept in weekly contact with the Administrators and we have a WhatsApp group for the Student Services team at Medway – mostly for social chat and daily challenges – which has helped to keep us all connected throughout this time. It also helps us keep up-to-date with changes in the University’s response to Covid where this has an impact on our service.
Looking ahead, what are your plans for the next year or two?
To continue supporting students at Medway – hopefully, resuming in-person appointments soon – and supporting the Student Services team at Medway who do a fantastic job.
Away from my role in Student Support & Wellbeing, I have been actively involved, along with Medway Student Services colleagues, in Green Impact/Green 15/FutureProof, working on sustainability projects.
Our biggest project at Medway is plans to bring a little bit of biodiversity to our rather concrete campus – by way of a woodland walk (through woods that have, until recently, been totally inaccessible), accessible seating areas, plants and other additions to help improve wellbeing and provide staff and students at Medway with somewhere nice to sit, gather, contemplate and enjoy the nature around us. After a false start and funding issues due to Covid interruption, this now looks as though it will be going ahead and I’m looking forward to being involved in the planning and development of this exciting project.
Covid-restrictions permitting (!), what are your interests away from work?
I am a serial-studier! I started studying with the Open University in 1994 and have completed two undergraduate degrees and a postgraduate degree there, and also an MA in Higher Education at Kent. I am currently in the final stages of completing a Doctorate in Education at the Open University, with my research investigating the experiences of transgender students in higher education. Aside from this, I enjoy live events such as concerts and theatre, and I am looking forward to filling my diary with events again once Covid restrictions are lifted.
What would be your idea of a perfect day?
Spending time with my family, something that I’ve missed over the last year and that I am looking forward to, hopefully, this summer.