SENIOR Deakin University lecturer Julianne Lynch did not expect the variety of research projects that she has had the opportunity to conduct since moving to Warrnambool three years ago.
The move, for family and lifestyle reasons, has enabled the School of Education senior lecturer to experience richer relationships and a connectedness to community projects she had not had prior to transferring to Warrnambool from Deakin University’s Burwood campus in 2009.
Dr Lynch, a university unit chairwoman, co-ordinates community outreach programs at primary and secondary schools, helping to secure funding and plan the programs and researches of school related issues.
She chaired a unit this trimester in Warrnambool for 400-plus Deakin students across the various campuses.
“The opportunities in regional Victoria are really good for getting involved in projects where you can feel the value, you can sense the value,” Dr Lynch said.
She has a specialist interest in technology and its use in schools, and established and leads a mentoring program between Warrnambool College year nine students and undergraduate university students to demystify tertiary education.
“I’ve always been involved in projects in schools but I think I’m far more connected to these, because I’ve got a sense of belonging in this community and because of the people I’m involved with, the students, their parents, the teachers,” she said.
Dr Lynch, husband Dave Harris and their twin sons Tom and Darcy, 7, moved to the south-west when Dr Lynch was pregnant with son Tex, now three.
The couple’s work-life balance has had a complete overhaul since moving to the region.
They enjoy more quality time together and have the flexibility to pursue other hobbies.
Mr Harris, who has a business background, did not remember having dinner with the boys in Melbourne during the week. Now he is home for dinner most weeknights.
“I was working very hard in Melbourne and travelling a lot. The reason I wanted to leave Melbourne was I didn’t spend any time with the kids at all.”
He said the cost of living in Melbourne was ridiculous. “My career was basically to pay for the house when I was back in Melbourne. We weren’t in a particularly ostentatious property, it was a nice property but it wasn’t a million-dollar home ... It was just driving all your decisions. Then we moved here and the property was a third of the price and one-and-a-half times as big,” Mr Harris said.
Sons Tom and Darcy attend Warrnambool East Primary School which Dr Lynch said it had more than met their education needs for the boys.
“I had no qualms about moving to Warrnambool and the quality of education and I suppose I’ve got a particular perspective,” Dr Lynch said.
“Easy access to the beach and the outdoors is important when you have children and I knew that was there. We take full opportunity of that, where in Melbourne to do an outing with children it’s a whole day. It’s a thing you’ve got to plan for, whereas here, you jump in the car and go,” she said.
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