10 Jul 2014

The Open University Announces Departure of Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean

Martin Bean

Martin Bean

The Open University has announced that Martin Bean is to stand down as Vice-Chancellor at the end of the year, returning to his native Australia to take on the same role at RMIT University.

Martin Bean joined the OU from Microsoft in 2009, and has led the university through a period of unprecedented change in the sector, adapting to new funding regimes across all four UK nations and putting the OU in a very strong position for the future. He has also overseen a number of key initiatives, specifically:

• Opening up education to more people than ever before, with more than 65 million downloads of OU material on iTunes U and more than 33 million visitors to the OU’s free content available on OpenLearn
• Drawing on his commercial expertise to respond to change in the sector, particularly bringing together more than 30 UK and international universities, along with cultural bodies such as The British Museum, British Library and British Council, to create FutureLearn – the UK’s first large-scale provider of massive open online courses (MOOCs);
• Maintaining the OU’s reputation for delivering a first-class student experience, staying in the top 5 universities for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey every year;
• Becoming the first university in the UK to make its entire undergraduate curriculum available on tablets and smartphones;
• Consolidating the OU’s position as the home of world-leading research, ranking in the top third of UK universities; and
• Recognising the different political landscapes across the UK nations and devolving greater responsibility to the OU’s operations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Lord Haskins of Skidby, Pro Chancellor of The Open University, said:

“Martin is a tireless advocate for opening up access to education, something which is woven into the DNA of The Open University. His leadership and guidance over the last five years has meant the OU has not only weathered storms which have swept through the sector, but left the university in an excellent position to look to the future. His passion for the university and everything it stands for is unquestionable, and I thank him for the dedication, expertise and vision he has brought to the role over the years.”

In January this year, the Prime Minister made Martin Bean one of the UK’s business ambassadors, recognising his unique ability to promote UK higher education around the world.

Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, said:

“I am so proud of what we have achieved together during a time of unprecedented change in technology, the higher education sector and for the OU itself. The OU has never been so relevant and important – not just to our students across the four nations of the UK, but to literally millions of people all over the world.

“While I look forward to the challenges of my new role, and to my family being closer together, I leave with a very real sense of sadness. However, my overpowering feeling is one of deep gratitude, because no organisation, no group of people, has ever meant so much to me. The Open University transforms lives for the better and it has certainly transformed mine.”

The process to select a new vice-chancellor will begin immediately. A committee comprising members of the university’s governing Council and Senate bodies will be chaired by the Pro-Chancellor, Lord Haskins.

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