Professor Eileen Scanlon
Professor Eileen Scanlon of The Open University’s (OU) Institute of Educational Technology (IET), has been awarded the first Regius Professorship in Open Education.
This award, which marks the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, is particularly significant for both The Open University and Professor Scanlon, as prior to the recent announcement only two others have been awarded a Regius Professorship in the last century. Before then, the most recent Regius Professorship was created by Queen Victoria.
IET is one of twelve university departments to have been bestowed with this prestigious award. All entries were assessed by an expert panel which included eminent academics led by Sir Graeme Davies, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of London.
Commenting on her award Professor Scanlon said, “I am delighted that the OU has been given this significant award and that the Institute of Educational Technology has been recognised as an outstanding department. My late parents were both Open University graduates and my mother celebrated her graduation in the first ceremony held at Alexandra Palace in 1973. They would have been thrilled their university was honoured in this way.”
Professor Scanlon’s nomination was supported by the OU’s Vice-Chancellor, Martin Bean, Professor Tim Blackman, the OU’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Research & Scholarship and Professor Josie Taylor, Director of IET at the OU.
Professor Tim Blackman said, “It is fantastic that Profession Scanlon’s achievements have been recognised by such a prestigious award. Her commitment has driven up standards of open education across the world through intelligent use of technology for which the OU has a global reputation.”
Professor Scanlon is an internationally recognised luminary in the field of educational technology and public understanding of science. During her 37 years of service to the OU, Professor Scanlon has developed a pedagogic insight which has exerted a major impact on the direction of OU research in these areas.
IET is at the hub of the OU’s continuing research into, and development of, the latest open educational technologies for learning and teaching, enabling the University to deliver quality at scale. This is also a fitting way of recognising the 50th anniversary of the announcement of a ‘University of the Air’, the idea from which the OU was born.
The Regius Professorship in Open Education is the latest in a string of prestigious awards for the OU. In 2009 the OU was awarded the Queen’s anniversary prize for exceptional contributions by a higher educational institution to the wider community for its ground-breaking Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa programme (TESSA). And in 2012 Dr Mark Brandon Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science at The Open University, won Most Innovative Teacher of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards.