General
27 Oct 2015

Susan Stewart Appointed Director of The Open University in Scotland

Susan Stewart

Susan Stewart

The Open University in Scotland has appointed Susan Stewart as its new Director, following an open recruitment process. Ms Stewart will take up her new role in December and replaces Dr James Miller.

Susan Stewart is currently the director of a communications consultancy, advising a number of high-profile organisations including the Scottish Government and a range of voluntary organisations. She is also a regular commentator on BBC Scotland and STV as well as an occasional newspaper columnist. Prior to this, she has held senior roles in various political and higher education organisations, including Glasgow University. She was also the Scottish Government’s first diplomat in the USA, establishing the first Scottish office in the UK Embassy in Washington DC.

Susan Stewart said:

“As a passionate believer in the power of education to transform lives and empower individuals, I am delighted to be joining the Open University which, for over 40 years, has provided higher education to tens of thousands of people in Scotland who otherwise would not have had that opportunity.

“The Open University places social justice at the heart of its mission and its record in widening access to people from all parts of Scotland is second to none.

“I look forward to playing my part in further strengthening the OU in Scotland by working across the political spectrum and demonstrating its value to the wider community, and promoting the economic and social benefits it brings to the country.”

The Open University in Scotland has had an office in Edinburgh since 1969, the year the university was established by Royal Charter. Its first graduation took place at the Assembly Rooms on George Street in Edinburgh in 1974. The Director is the OU’s senior officer in Scotland and works closely with the Vice-Chancellor. The Director also leads on all relationships with the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council, other Higher Education Institutions in Scotland and other national agencies.

Keith Zimmerman, University Secretary and Chair of the selection panel, said:

“With ongoing changes to the way universities are funded across the UK, the role of our nation directors has never been more important. Susan brings with her a wealth of experience and I know she looks forward to working with all political parties, as well as our network of partners, to build on the success of the OU in Scotland and lead it through the opportunities and challenges which lie ahead.”

Susan Stewart will take up her new role on 1 December. Until then, the role will continue to be overseen by John D’Arcy, Director of OU in Ireland.

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