General
15 Jun 2009

Peter Syme and Professor Gerard Hastings awarded OBEs in birthday honours

Peter Syme, Director of The Open University in Scotland and Professor Gerard Hastings have both been awarded an OBE for services to higher education and healthcare in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Professor Brenda Gourley, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, said: "Both awards are well deserved and we congratulate Peter Syme and Professor Gerard Hastings on their OBEs. Professor Hastings’ research has made a real impact both nationally and internationally, and Peter Syme’s distinguished work has made a huge contribution to The Open University in Scotland.”

Peter Syme OBE
Peter Syme, Director of The Open University in Scotland, has been awarded an OBE for services to higher education in the Queen’s birthday honours list.
A passionate advocate for social justice and wider access in higher education, Peter Syme has championed the needs and interests of part-time higher education students since he joined The Open University in 1990. His work in raising the profile of part-time learning has helped to secure increased investment in the sector, and improved funding and support for part-time learners.
Peter Syme took up the top post at The Open University in Scotland in 1997 and led the university through a period of considerable constitutional and structural change brought about by devolution. Under his leadership, The Open University has confirmed its place at the heart of Scotland’s higher education landscape with over 14,000 students across the country.
Peter Syme said: “For 40 years the OU has been meeting Scotland’s needs for wider opportunity and relevant skills. Its job has never been more urgent than now, as people across the country look to fulfil their potential and renew their skills. I am immensely proud to head up an organisation as innovative, committed and relevant as the OU in Scotland, and to see its place recognised at the heart of Scottish higher education.”
As Director of The Open University in Scotland, he has overall responsibility for the delivery of OU teaching and services and for the University's development in Scotland. He leads a team of 80 staff based at the OU’s centre in Edinburgh and acts as employer for more than 500 Associate Lecturers (part-time tutors) across Scotland.
Peter, originally from Brechin, is a Cambridge history graduate, with postgraduate work in African history at Edinburgh, and then two years in Nigeria. He was previously a civil servant in the Department of Education and Science in London, latterly responsible for adult continuing education.
He lives in Edinburgh and enjoys travel, photography and Africa.

Professor Gerard Hastings OBE
Professor Gerard Hastings, director of the Institute of Social Marketing, Centre for Tobacco Control Research at The Open University Business School and Stirling, has been awarded an OBE for services to healthcare.
Through his research with Cancer Research UK and the innovative application of social marketing both nationally and internationally, his findings have had a significant influence on policies relating to alcohol, tobacco and the impact of advertising on dietary behaviour.
Professor Hastings said: "This is a great honour that comes as a result of years of excellent work done by a team of dedicated researchers at Stirling and The Open University Business School, and the consistent support they have had from Cancer Research UK. As a result we have been able to make significant inroads into some of society's biggest public health problems - including smoking, drinking and obesity. It has been my privilege to lead this team, and therefore my name appears on the citation, but the real credit belongs to them."
He added: “The Open University's commitment to the research has played a major role in gaining this recognition.”

In addition to this, Professor Hastings has also been appointed Special Advisor to the Health Select Committee during its current enquiry into alcohol. He is the co-author of a World Health Organisation report on food marketing to children and is currently in the process of finalising a report for the British Media Association on alcohol and young people.
Gerard Hastings is the first UK Professor of Social Marketing researching the applicability of marketing principles such as consumer orientation, relationship building and strategic planning to the solution of health and social problems. He also conducts critical marketing research into the impact of potentially health damaging marketing, such as alcohol advertising and fast food promotion.
Students can now study a CPD course in Social Marketing: http://www3.open.ac.uk/courses/bin/p12.dll?C01GB017

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