General
13 Apr 2018

OU Vice-Chancellor announces he is to stand down

Announcement from the Vice-Chancellor

I am announcing that I am standing down as Vice-Chancellor of The Open University with immediate effect.

The statement from the Pro-Chancellor acknowledges generously my role in persuading the University of the case for significant change, to help improve outcomes for students, to future-proof our radical University and to ensure financial sustainability.

Under my leadership of the Student First Transformation programme, I have delivered a broad set of plans covering: Learning and Teaching; Curriculum; Academic Excellence; technology; digital; and the student experience, which will be put forward for consideration and implementation under the acting Vice-Chancellor.

I understand that Executive Deans and all the Senate-elected members of Council are ready to support the teaching principles and framework, and curriculum review and plan, and will recommend this to Senate.

With those two components of Students First approved by academic governance, the University will have reached an important milestone. So the time has come when I am ready to move on, having achieved my primary goals at the OU.

I am delighted that recently there have been very strong expressions of political support for improved policies for part-time learning, a cause to which I have given everything I could.

I am pleased to be continuing to work with the University for a few months, handing over to the acting Vice-Chancellor and advising on the external relations agenda for the University and the wider part-time sector.

The OU faces a scale of challenge that is unprecedented. The requirement for social justice in education is acute and the demands for new skills are ever present, which means that a great institution like ours is needed more than ever. I know that all members of the University will continue to commit themselves to the changes necessary to live up to these opportunities.

I wish the University and my successor the very best.

Peter Horrocks


Announcement from the Pro-Chancellor

Peter Horrocks has made an enormous contribution to securing the future of The Open University during his three years at the helm. He has shown real courage and determination in articulating and addressing the challenges we face internally and externally.

Inside the University, he championed improving the service that we offer to our students and brought a laser-like focus to placing us on a secure financial footing. He has been integral to driving the Students First Transformation programme, tackling inefficiencies and promoting new ways of working. He saw the potential in apprenticeships and helped to set the OU on the path to becoming the leading provider of degree apprenticeships. He encouraged the OU to look to the future and start thinking about the possibilities of harnessing technology to maximise the impact of our teaching and improve the study experience for students.

In the external world, Peter has campaigned tirelessly to raise the profile of part-time higher education, forging alliances with industry and like-minded organisations to highlight the role of part-time HE in skills training and economic productivity. He has helped to raise awareness of the impact of the 2012 funding changes on part-time student numbers in England, ensuring that it is a specific part of the remit of the Post-18 Review.

Peter led the Transformation programme that has set out a blueprint for the University for the future. Executive Deans and all the Senate-elected members of Council are ready to support the teaching principles and framework, and curriculum review and plan, and will recommend this to Senate. Peter has delivered the first phase of the Transformation and is now in a position to hand it over to a new Vice-Chancellor, to take it to the next stage.

Peter has recaptured the pioneering spirit of the OU, challenged norms and pushed us to put innovation at the heart of our preparations for the future. He departs with our sincere thanks and warm wishes for the future.

Although Peter will step down as Vice-Chancellor immediately, he will continue to work with the University for the next three months. He will be working with both the OU and the wider sector on the policy agenda for part-time. He will also be available to handover to the acting Vice-Chancellor, particularly in relation to the Transformation programme.

Richard Gillingwater

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