For Uni Hub students, Kim Gregory has been one of the constants of Uni Hub Spencer Gulf.
She has been the go-to person when it comes to navigating the complexities of online university study, making her an invaluable resource for newcomers and seasoned students alike.
But it hasn’t always been that way. When Kim started out with the Uni Hub five years ago there were no students. The Uni Hub’s first study centre in Port Pirie was yet to open its doors. And Kim was one of a small team of staff working tirelessly to make sure the Uni Hub launched successfully.
“Five years ago, we stood in an empty building with no furniture and no students,” Kim said.
“We knew what we wanted to do, what we needed to do. But we had to learn how to do it – and how to do it best for our students.”
“When we finally opened our Port Pirie doors we started out with seven or eight students. Three of them were nursing. We now have 70 nursing students across five university centres – it’s a good sign that we must be doing something right.”
Having no university study experience, Kim decided the best way to support local university students was to become one herself. So, in 2019 she started a bridging course with one of the Uni Hub’s partner universities to make sure she could resonate with students and understand as much as possible about the higher education journey for regional students.
Today she is in her final year of a Business degree with Flinders University and looking forward to graduating herself. Considering where her knowledge of higher education started, Kim finds it amusing when she explains how she now has a fundamental knowledge of both the nursing and education degrees.
She has built solid relationships with the Uni Hub’s partner universities who she says have provided unwavering support to help her assist the Uni Hub students in navigating what is often a complex and overwhelming system.
Kim said she has learnt so much over the years from the students and said they were always the focal point of every decision and initiative to ensure they achieved their academic and career goals. She is passionate about the students and takes a personal interest in their achievements.
“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the faith of the students. A lot of them took a leap of faith because no one knew what the Uni Hub was when we first started,” she said.
“But we did something consistently, right from the start – and that was to always have a positive conversation with everyone who comes in and see us.
“Our motto has always been everyone leaves one of our centres with a positive conversation and an understanding of what might be best for them. We don’t need them to be one of our students to succeed, but we need them to be in our community and prosper.”
Now Kim’s journey with the Uni Hub has come to a close – and it wasn’t an easy decision for her to make. But an unexpected opportunity arose to return to a place close to Kim’s heart.
“I have worked extensively in the Oak Valley community on the Maralinga lands in the past and the community is very special to me,” Kim said.
“I was offered the position of General Manager, Maralinga Tjarutja/Oak Valley (Maralinga). There are very few jobs that would take me away from the Uni Hub, as I absolutely love what I do and what we have done.
“I am very proud of how the Uni Hub has grown since I started in January 2019, and our leadership and team are the best I’ve ever worked with.
“We have achieved so much, and we will continue to do so. Although I am leaving, I will always be an advocate and champion of the Uni Hub, Regional University Centres and regional South Australia.
“I have absolutely no doubt that the future is very, very bright at the Uni Hub.”
Kim assures us that she will be calling in regularly to the Uni Hub’s Study Centres, as she is working between remote locations and her home here, so it’s good to know we will see her around the place in the future.