Welcome to The Open University – a learning experience like no other.
It’s a great privilege to be the new Vice-Chancellor of The Open University.
I am extremely excited to be working with such a talented team of staff here in Milton Keynes and right across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to continue to provide life-changing learning for all our students.
I have seen first-hand the transformative power of education around the world, especially when coupled with technology. The Open University has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people over by providing them, through distance learning, with an education that may otherwise have been unattainable.
I come to the OU after a career with the BBC spanning more than three decades. From 2009 - 2014, I was Director of the BBC’s World Service, overseeing a global workforce of 3,000 staff and delivering news to over a quarter of a billion people every week. There were many challenges, as well as opportunities.
Working with the OU will have many similarities, not least having the passion to make a difference in the world. For over 40 years, the OU has been providing high-quality, flexible, part-time higher education across the UK, Ireland and internationally allowing our students to unlock their potential and succeed in their ambitions. Nearly 200,000 people, from many different backgrounds, are studying for qualifications with us, often combining work and family commitments. Millions more watch our TV programmes, produced in partnership with the BBC, and use our free learning resources on iTunes U, Open Learn and our global platform FutureLearn, which provides free online courses in partnership with over 50 universities and institutions worldwide.
I look forward to leading the institution at this critical time in the higher education sector, promoting the power of part-time learning to all who can benefit from it, and highlighting the positive impact we have upon society and the economy to our politicians.
I can’t wait to meet you all – staff and students – and I promise to do my best to nurture and protect this valuable and unique institution.
For many of the OU’s students to date, their success story has culminated in the excitement and pride of a degree ceremony. Below, Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor 2009-2014, congratulates new graduates at the Milton Keynes ceremony in September 2014.