Ohio University recently hired Lyn Redington to serve as the new Interim Vice President for Student Affairs. Throughout her educational career, Redington has the opportunity to teach at community colleges and collegiate institutions, promoting student well-being and involvement.
The Post: For students who may not know what the Interim Vice President for Students Affairs does, how would you describe it?
Redington: Honestly, the title tells me my job. It has the word “students” in it, so my job is to support students and their success. To support their success in the classroom, as well as out of the classroom.
TP: Do you have any certain responsibilities?
Redington: Well, I am learning them, but the areas that are wellbeing and recreation, auxiliary services, which includes Culinary Arts and Housing and Residence Life. We have the Dean of Students Office, and of course within that we have the Survivor Advocacy Program. We have student accountability and then there's also the Center for Student Involvement (and) Sorority and Fraternity Life. We have Campus and Event Services and a variety of other areas of responsibility where we work with budget and we work with (the) human resources department so that we are ensuring that our staff are abiding by policies and budgets.
TP: What drew you to this position?
Redington: I have known about and heard about Ohio University for a long time. In fact, when I was a kid, for two years we lived in Ohio. We lived in Lancaster. I know that we passed through, so I can't guarantee this, but I'm pretty sure that Ohio University was the first college campus I ever visited. Since that time, I moved away and have worked at a number of other places, but a friend of mine went to Ohio University and she worked here and she speaks about Ohio, I think, the way we want all of our students and all our alumni and all of our community members to talk about it. It was her home away from home, she learned, she grew, she made her friends. It was life changing for her, and so I certainly felt as though I knew about Ohio before just from my friend. Last summer, I had the opportunity to interview for this interim position and obviously wasn't selected. While I am sad that the division and the university is going through this transition again, I'm really excited that I get to be a part of the Ohio community, that I get to work with the incredible staff and the students that I am beginning to meet. Honestly, Ohio University has been one of those aspirational universities for me to work at.
TP: How do you think your previous experience has prepared you for this new role?
Redington: I have worked at a number of other institutions and every place I go, I consider myself a learner. I will always learn from where I'm at, from those that I work with, from those that I work for. Coming into this position, my job is not to change everything and not to say, “But this is how we did it elsewhere,” but perhaps that background, those experiences can help inform what we're doing, or perhaps there might be some opportunities for improvement. I think that's where I certainly have learned and gained a deeper understanding of higher education in general, and the Division of Student Affairs more specifically.
Also, I have taught at several different institutions. I taught at a community college and I've taught doctoral classes, and that's where I think that the classroom belongs in the profession, but the profession also belongs in the classroom. I really see this incredible synergy between what academic affairs does and what student affairs does. There's a quote that I really like: “We come to college, not alone to make a living, but to learn to live a life.” I think that is really what student affairs focuses on.
TP: What do you look forward to in this new position?
Redington: Ohio University is perhaps the most beautiful campus I think I've ever seen. It just looks so collegiate – and Athens, what a fun community. Just the fact that the university and the community are right across the street from one another, so there's incredible opportunities for everybody to benefit from both. I really liked that. When I return in person next week, it's really about how do I meet the students? How do I get involved in knowing what they're involved in, what they are passionate about, how they want to influence their college experience? I'm excited about that. I'm excited to attend different events. I've heard about some fests, and I don't really know what they are, but I'm really excited about that. I did go to a hockey game my first or second night that I was in Athens and that was fun, so I'm trying to learn some of the more appropriate chants.
TP: How can students contact you?
Redington: Absolutely by email. Tammy Babylon, she is the keeper of my world, my calendar, so she would be the best person to really go through to schedule appointments. I love being invited to things, I really do. It just makes me feel like I belong, and so if a student were to invite me to an event or a meeting or a program, if I could make it, I will make it. I don't have to talk, I don't have to do anything. I hope that if people have an idea who I am, or think they recognize me, stop me on campus and have them introduce themselves and we can chat. It's never an interruption. We're going to find time. I do like to be out and about, so whether I'm walking around or I might have office hours in the library or different places, I will do that. And I love to eat – I would love to do lunch or dinner with people.
Lyn Redington: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tammy Babylon: email@example.com
TP: Is there anything else you’d like students to know?
Redington: I have worked in higher education for much of my life, and I think what I most appreciate about it is that as a lifelong learner, there's just always something new to do and to learn and to participate in. I always think about students: take advantage of this because there's so much now, and there will continue to be so much as alumni. Personally, I'm bringing my husband and my two dogs with me. I don't know that my dogs would be able to make it to campus. They're pugs, they're a little on the lazy side, but my husband Mike and I will absolutely be out and about and they're excited to become members of the community.