Employee Feature — Dianne Jansen

Note: The Brock Employee Feature is a Q&A-style series that aims to highlight those who contribute to the University’s positive working environment and make a difference in the campus community. The full series is available on The Brock News. Employees interested in being featured are asked to fill out an online form.  

Dianne Jansen (MEd ’10) has been described as a caring colleague, a good listener and a problem solver — all important traits to have for her role at Brock.  

As a Learning Disability Program Co-ordinator with Student Accessibility Services (SAS), Jansen is responsible for the learning disability program at Brock, which includes supporting students with learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

She assesses students, provides them with case management support, develops programs and resources to help them, and supervises learning disability team staff who work directly with students.  

Jansen is also part of Brock’s CARE (campus, assessment, response and education) case management team, which connects at-risk students with resources that can assist them in maintaining optimal mental health and well-being so they can reach their full academic and social potential.  

Before moving into her current role, Jansen was a Case Manager for Brock students with learning disabilities. She began her time at the University in February 2000 and will soon be celebrating her 23rd year of employment in disability services.  

Describe your department.  

Part of Student Wellness and Accessibility Services (SWAC), SAS provides a welcoming and inclusive space for students with disability-related accessibility needs, and its staff are dedicated to promoting independence, self-advocacy and helping students to achieve their goals. SAS also provides academic accommodation and support for students with disabilities, as well as resources and support for faculty and staff around disability-related issues.  

What do you like about your role? 

I love working with students and helping them to understand how they learn. I like to use a strength-based model to help students learn to work around their learning deficits. Seeing students succeed and follow their dreams is so rewarding.  

I also like our SAS/SWAC team. We are a dedicated group of professionals from a variety of backgrounds, including teaching, social work, mental health, occupational therapy and computer science. We share our expertise and experiences with each other to provide the best services and supports we can for students. Our jobs allow us to be creative and look for alternate ways students can accomplish tasks. This keeps me challenged and excited to come to work every day.  

Are you a Brock graduate?  

Yes, I graduated from Brock in 2010 with a Master of Education in Teaching and Learning. I wanted to spend some time really looking at learning processes, and in particular, learning more about ADHD. I met some great people in my program who helped me continue to grow and learn. 

I love my role at Brock because it allows me to use all my education, training and expertise to make a difference in the lives of students — my teaching degree, my graduate level degree in assessment and counselling, and my master’s degree in teaching and learning.  

What are you known for? 

I am probably best known for my paper-crafting and making people countdown calendars for special events. I made a calendar for my niece who finally got married in August after having to postpone several times because of the pandemic. 

What is something most people don’t know about you? 

I am terrified of bees and wasps, and am directionally challenged. 

What was your first job ever?  

I taught ‘Learn to Skate’ at the local figure skating club when I was 12 years old. I was an avid figure skater in my youth and coached figure skating for years. I now have two replaced knees. 

What do you do for fun?   

My husband and I love to travel. Snorkelling in the ocean and floating with fish is my happy place, and a close second is enjoying a cocktail on the beach while watching the sunset.  

Where is your favourite place to visit or spend time in Niagara?  

I can’t pick just one — there are so many fabulous things to see and do in Niagara. My husband and I love visiting local vineyards and checking out festivals, such as the Niagara Icewine Festival and Ribfest. 

What do you do for self-care to maintain positive mental health?  

I like to enjoy a drink and watch our fish float around my husband’s 125-gallon saltwater aquarium. Crafting and spending time with friends, my husband and our dog really helps me to keep balance in my life. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 

Find your passion, follow your dreams and don’t be afraid to take risks. 

What are you most proud of?  

Leaving a full-time job that I loved at the Sarnia Lambton Centre for Children and Youth to go back to school to get my degree from the Institute of Child Study at the University of Toronto. It was scary to leave a full-time job and go back to being a student again, but I followed my heart and passion for neuropsychology. It opened so many opportunities for me to work and learn from amazing people.

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