My Melbourne with Sally Coates

November 12 / 100

What is your unit?

The Safer Community Program within Student Services.

What is your job title?

Safer Community Manager.

How long have you been with the University of Melbourne?

I started in April this year, so I still feel like a newbie at the University. I am enjoying finding my way around campus, meeting new people and being part of this vibrant community.

How did you come to work at the University?

I was offered the opportunity to implement and manage the University's Safer Community Program. Having spent the last 12 years in mental health and wellbeing clinical/education roles in community and workplace settings, this seemed like the perfect fit for my professional skills and interests.
I am drawn to roles that encompass the challenges associated with implementing new initiatives, so I was very attracted to doing this in the tertiary sector, which is a totally new experience for me.

Describe your typical day.

My day often starts with a gym class. Once at work, it involves a range of varied and interesting activities. Some of these include developing program processes and procedures, consulting  members of the University community, researching similar best practice programs, updating our website, smart phone app and multimedia tools, and providing support and advice to students and staff about how best to manage situations where there are concerns held about someone's safety due to behavioural issues.

What is it about your job that holds your interest or is particularly satisfying?

So many things! There is great satisfaction in implementing a new program, and in seeing it develop and come to life over time. I feel excited about the opportunities presented through my role to engage with the University community around the program's objective of proactively enhancing a culture of safety and care for one another on campus. The final aspect that I consider an enormous professional privilege is providing support to members of the University community to manage complex, behavioural situations, and to minimise the risk impact for everyone involved.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Sometimes you have no choice about, or control over, events or circumstances with which life presents you , but you always have a choice about how you respond to them, and the attitude with which you approach them.

What is something about yourself that most of your colleagues wouldn't know?

I hold a Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate, which is a licence to drive and navigate Navy warships. This is a qualification I gained during my first career as a Navy officer.

Where do you buy your coffee on campus?

I'm based in the Cardigan Street Health Services building, so Lygon Street tends to be where I go most regularly. The little chocolate treat that comes with coffee at the San Churro Chocolateria keeps me going back!

What do you like most about the University?

Definitely the students. It's such a privilege to bear witness to and be a part of their experience at the University. The beautiful Parkville campus, its wonderful inner-city location, and a fun team are also fabulous aspects of my working-life here.

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