To mark the Diamond Jubilee Her Majesty the Queen has bestowed upon the Open University a Regius Professorship in Open Education. See here: It is one of twelve prestigious new posts. These accolades have been awarded since 1540. Previously the professorships were concentrated in seven universities, those of Aberdeen, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford, St Andrews and Trinity College Dublin. The University of Glasgow has 13, Oxford 8 and Cambridge has 7. Two such Regius chairs were created to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and before that Queen Victoria created one. There are only 44 Regius professorships in the UK and Ireland.
In this case universities applied for the Jubilee professorships before a panel of academics led by Graeme Davies, chairman of the Higher Education Policy Institute. The panel will advise ministers who then made recommendations to the Queen.
The first Regius Professor in Open Education at the OU will be Professor Eileen Scanlon, who has worked for the OU for over 37 years. Providing a chair which recognises the importance of educational tchnology is a particularly fitting way of marking the 50th anniversary of the announcement of a ‘University of the Air’.