24 Apr 2013

It’s “Happy Birthday OU” as The Open University marks Charter Day

VC cuts Charter Day cake

VC cuts Charter Day cake

The Open University (OU) wished itself a “Happy Birthday” yesterday by marking Charter Day – the day the University was bestowed its Royal Charter and came into existence 44 years ago on April 23 1969.

The event brought together staff, students and local invited guests from business and public services to mark Charter Day – a day to both review the years past and look forward to the future of the OU.

The day also heralded the launch of the Students’ Charter – developed jointly by the University and the OU Students Association. This charter - setting out the responsibilities expected of both parties in terms of values and working together – is designed to allow students to achieve their full potential.

In his speech at the event, Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean said that over the years the OU still upheld its same original values, even amidst the recent changes and challenges in Higher Education.

He said: “Today we mark our University’s 44th birthday, and we remember the awarding of our Royal Charter. But more than that, we remember 44 years of teaching, learning, researching and evolving. Forty four years of regularly achieving the improbable, the incredible and the seemingly impossible. Forty four years in which we proved, time and time again, that we are the innovative university, that we are the supportive university and that we are, and always will be, The Open University.”

The day included a question and answer session with four OU Alumni, talking about their study experience and their advice to newcomers. Later students and guests, including OU staff, were able to have a browse across more than 35 stalls at the University Showcase, covering aspects from the history of the OU and its archives to a cross-section of faculties and future developments.

The occasion was open to all staff and promises to become an annual event.

Notes to Editors

Charter Day was hosted by Lucian J. Hudson, Director of Communications, The Open University.

About The Open University

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students and has almost 250,000 current students, including over 15,000 overseas.
The OU is rated the top university for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, and has been in the top three universities every year since the survey began in 2005. In 2010/11 it had a 93% satisfaction rating. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

In the UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) The Open University was ranked in the top third of UK higher education institutions. More than 50% of OU research was assessed in the RAE as internationally excellent, with 14% as world leading.

Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 26.7 million visits, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded more than 60 million downloads. The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Frozen Planet, Bang Goes the Theory, James May’s Big Ideas and The Money Programme.

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