Name: Jonathan Brown
Title: Residential Support Team Coordinator for Monash Residential Services and College Head at Richardson Hall
Division: Monash Residential Services
Dept: VP Admin
Campus: Clayton (but I work across all campuses)
How long have you worked at Monash?
I have been at Monash since I began my undergraduate studies in 1997! I think I have been on the payroll in some form since about 1999.
Where did you work prior to starting at the University?
Until the end of 2010 I was lecturing in the School of Geography and Environmental Science (SGES) (teaching soil science and physical geography) in addition to my College Head role.
My Resdiential Support Coordinator position was created in late 2010 in response to the expansion of Monash Residential Services (MRS) – beautiful new buildings, Briggs and Jackomos Halls – on the Clayton Campus.
What do you like best about your role?
I love that I get to have an influence on the lives of so many exceptional young people. The quality of our student leaders in MRS is amazing – and it’s my job to make sure we get the best out of them (which benefits 2700 residents we have living on campus in Australia).
I also really enjoy the fact my job is to engage with people across Monash – you meet some great individuals.
Why did you choose your current career path?
Mine is a classic case of ‘I fell into it’. As a student I had been very involved in student sporting, academic and other clubs. I was just starting to lecture, and a comment was made to me that I should work in Residential Support. So I applied for a job as a Deputy College Head in 2005 and found that I loved (and continue to love) almost every aspect of what we offer at MRS.
My first proper job was being a research assistant and tutoring in the School of Geography and Environemtal Science. Before that I had done vacation work gardening and labouring, but I was incredibly lucky to have supportive parents when I was studying who allowed me to expereince all the rewarding (in every way except financially) activities within the University.
I have always enjoyed any work I have done (even when it involved digging trenches). I have worked at the Melbourne Water Western Treatment (sewage) Plant as an education officer. This involved taking groups around the plant and lagoons and discussing the processes of treating the sewerage. This was much more fun than it sounds – the Western Treatment plant is a haven for bird life (and it doesn’t smell that much).
What research/projects are you currently working on and what does it involve?
My main programs involve policy and staff development, as well as improving the wellbeing and experience of students who live on campus. I coordinate our Mental Health First Aid program (we have trained almost 1000 residents and staff in MHFA in the past five years!), our REStart program (helping residents prepare for life in ‘Res’ at Monash), and other areas broadly under ‘residential support’.
What is your favourite place in the world and why?
Probably my family holiday house, Minimbah, (near Wesburn in the Yarra Valley) – I have nothing but happy memories from time spent there (and my favourite sound is rain on a tin roof as it reminds me of my childhood holidays). Now I get to expereince it all again with my two boys Alexander and Oliver (3 and 4).
What is your favourite place to eat and why?
I LOVE food (probably too much) so this is hard – I really enjoy Movida on Hosier Lane in the city – great food, and it usually means that I am out with my wife (and Beer Deluxe is just across the road in Federation Square).
Combining food and place, I enjoy my annual ‘short break’ with my wife on Hamilton Island – our children get a holiday with their grandparents (or Aunty) and we get to eat well, and relax.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Do something you love. If you have a choice in life, work should be enjoyable, not a chore. That and “what’s the worst that could happen?”
Tell us something about yourself that your colleagues wouldn’t know?
I talk a lot – so I’m not sure how much is not in the public domain. I have a love of Australian architecture and I am always on the look out for my dream home (a derelict squatter’s mansion in the western district of Victoria I can restore).
This article was originally published by Monash News, 21 March 2012