We are delighted to welcome Donny McCormick to Roehampton as the new Deputy Director of Student Support Services.
Donny joined Roehampton in May 2021. We recently caught up with Donny to find out about his career journey prior to joining Roehampton, what support his team can provide and much more.
Tell us about your career journey and how you came to be at Roehampton.
My career began in the legal and third sector registering an International NGO in Zambia. Afterwards, I found myself assisting universities in developing policy and services centred on student wellbeing and success. This has seen me working alongside professionals at the University of Stirling, Robert Gordon University and Edinburgh Napier University (to name a few!) establishing student support services primarily in accommodation settings.
Most recently, I ventured into the private sector to assist Unite Students (the largest student accommodation provider in the UK) in establishing their own student support service that operates complimentary to respective university-provision. This required me to have an in-depth knowledge of student support provision across all major universities in London and Kent as well as project managing the service, training staff and ensuring key university stakeholders were involved in the design.
As Deputy Director of Student Support Services, what does your role involve?
At the moment, my role is dedicated to ensuring that the high-quality service provision at Roehampton is maintained, sustainable and student-centred. This requires me to work closely with my peers within Student Support Services and assess our ways of working to identify room to progress (as opposed to change for the sake of change!). This piece of work is critical as students accessing our services are higher than ever before and we are committed to ensuring that all our students can succeed regardless of their own personal circumstances.
What support can your team provide?
Our team provides a broad range of services focussed on enabling students to engage and succeed at Roehampton.
Our Disability and Dyslexia Services Team is available to provide confidential services for disabled students on all aspects of student life including services bespoke to SpLD.
Our Health and Wellbeing Team provides dedicated Student Wellbeing Officers in each college, counselling as well as access to Mental Health Advisors for all students.
We would certainly encourage all students to check out our services on the student portal or University website should they need support. Should our team be able to assist, the quality of service they receive shall be sector-leading!
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
Certainly student outcomes. Being in the unique position to provide support to students and see them thrive at Roehampton is what drives myself and my teams. The opportunity to also continually develop our services to meet the needs of each cohort of students ensures we are also challenging ourselves as professionals year on year!
What’s coming up within your team that we should be aware of?
At the moment, we are reviewing our services to ensure we are prepared to meet the needs of our incoming and continuing students. The pandemic has demanded a level of creativity to allow our services to continue to be accessible, despite restrictions. The learnings we have gained through such circumstances are currently being considered so we can progress our services even further to the benefit of our students.
We have also just launched the University’s Report and Support Tool allowing all students and staff to easily raise with the University any concerns that they feel need an appropriate response. The platform is now on both the staff and student portals and is really easy to use. You can find out more about the Report and Support tool here.
Tell us about one of your passions or hobbies.
I love my music and the restrictions on live performances during the pandemic have been particularly frustrating. I am an avid musician and can normally be found performing or attending live gigs across the city. In all the cities I have worked in, I always make a point of getting to know the best local venues so I am open to recommendations!
What are you listening to / reading these days?
I am currently studying towards a MA in Safeguarding so most of my reading is purely academic. Thankfully, I am a notorious law-geek so no need for any sympathy!
What is your favourite spot on campus and why?
So far I have spend most of my time at Digby Stuart so I am consciously holding myself back from choosing a favourite until I have been able to see all of our beautiful campus!
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