Dr Rosemary Hamilton and Martin Bean
The new headquarters of The Open University in Ireland was officially opened on 29 April 2010 by Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University. The largest provider of open and distance learning in the UK and Ireland, the OU has invested £4.5 million (€5 million) in a listed building with state of the art equipment at 110 Victoria Street, Belfast.
Over the last year student numbers have increased by more than 10% in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and this new hub will attract even more people throughout Ireland into higher education. The expanded new headquarters accommodates 58 university staff who support 350 part-time associate lecturers and more than 7,500 students throughout Ireland. Video conferencing and the latest communication technologies make keeping in touch with staff and students simple, and the new library is open to students and members of the public who can drop in for a face to face discussion on their study options.
Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, said: “Our students are the most important part of the University and we are delighted to be able to give them better access to a wider range of learning facilities. This new centre in Belfast will allow us to become even more effective in delivering flexible OU programmes throughout Ireland, and offer our students the skills edge they need in today’s ever changing world.”
Dr Rosemary Hamilton, Director of the OU in Ireland, said: “This new city centre location will raise the profile of the OU in Ireland, enable us to be more accessible to our students, strengthen the services we can offer them and improve the effectiveness of our operations. Supporting our students and opening access to education is central to everything we do, and we look forward to continuing to provide higher education opportunities to people throughout Ireland from both the new headquarters in Belfast and the Enquiry and Advice Centre in Dublin.”
Guests at the opening ceremony included Northern Ireland Minister for Employment and Learning Sir Reg Empey; writer, broadcaster and honorary graduate Olivia O’Leary; and OU graduate and tutor Marie Lavery, who all spoke at the event, together with representatives from the education community throughout Ireland.
Dr Rosemary Hamilton, Director of the OU in Ireland, is available for interview.