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Pro-Vice Chancellor (Students)

Unit :  Pro-Vice Chancellor (Students)
Salary :  Competitive
Location :  Milton Keynes
Please quote reference :  20277
Milton Keynes- Hybrid working will be considered with ad-hoc travel to Milton Keynes when required
Closing Date :  14 October, 2022 - 12:00

Be Inspired, Be So Much More

The Open University was established by Royal Charter in 1969 with the mission is to be ‘open to people, places, methods and ideas’. It is a national university, working in all four nations of the UK as well as globally, employing around 11,000 people across a range of academic, associate lecturer and professional services roles. Pioneering higher education by distance learning over 2 million people have studied with the OU, predominantly part-time and often while in paid work.

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Students) has executive responsibility for the University’s policies and processes supporting student access, continuation, completion, and employment outcomes. This is a real opportunity to make a difference to the largest body of students in the UK at a time of great challenge and opportunity across the HE sector. The appointment is made by a joint committee of the University Senate and Council.

The role

This is a critical leadership role reporting directly to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and sitting on both the Vice Chancellor’s Executive and the VCE-Academic teams. Working very closely with the faculty Executive Deans and our nations Directors you will deliver success through collaboration and influencing, achieving this through direct and indirect authority. You will act internally as the ultimate student voice and representative, and externally as the face of The Open University for student matters with regulators and other Higher Education sector organisations.

The appointment is initially for five years with eligibility for re-appointment. A permanent academic appointment in an appropriate Faculty may be made if the successful applicant is an external candidate. The role holder is seconded full-time from their academic appointment to the PVC role

Skills and Experience

Candidates will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Extensive senior academic experience and achievement in teaching and learning, including in digital environments and working with governance. This should include operating at a senior leadership level, chairing and sponsoring enterprise-wide initiatives.
  • Sustained record of strategic leadership in a large and complex education institution, including managing change to achieve positive outcomes with a strong focus on student voice and wellbeing.
  • Logical and evidence-based thinking that achieves positive change and improvement.
  • Collaborative team player building highly effective working relationships with a range of stakeholders.  Internally, negotiating and influencing resourcing decisions for the delivery of an excellent student experience, including student-related projects, in the context of wider OU priorities. Externally, building networks that create an understanding of the wider landscape of HE, and innovations and governments’ policy changes that impact OU.
  • Experience and understanding of large-scale student systems to allow effective sponsorship and support of operational leads for each workstream. 
  • Outstanding communication, including both internal and external presentations and written reports, including engagement with regulators and communication across the four UK Nations.
  • Commitment to the OU’s mission and values, including equality, diversity and inclusion and sustainability.

The full summary of duties and person specification can be found within the Job Description attached.

If you would like to discuss the application or recruitment process before making an application, please email David Duffill on or

What you will get in return

Benefits include an inclusive and supportive working environment, flexible working arrangements, 33 days holiday per annum plus Bank Holidays and Christmas closure days and an attractive pension proposition.  

How to apply

Unless otherwise stated in the advert, all applications are completed online via the OU Job’s page and following the instructions below and clicking the “APPLY NOW” link below. Applications submitted via 3rd party websites will not be considered.

To apply for this role please submit the following.

  • CV
  • Personal statement, no more than 1000 words detailing your suitability for the role, with specific focus on how you have driven strategic change across the organisation in your current role. Your submission should include the strategic change you have driven, how you have achieved a positive outcome and the impact that it has had.

The above documents will need to be submitted as one attachment during the application process, please include the personal statement followed by the CV in this document.

To ensure your file is uploaded to our system correctly, please make sure your document is saved with the following file name as appropriate to the vacancy you are applying for: 20277, surname, first initial.

You will need to have your documents ready ahead of submitting the electronic application.


Remember to attach your CV and Personal Statement as ONE DOCUMENT.  

You will receive updates regarding your application from Please ensure this email address is added to your list of trusted senders. Please also keep an eye on your junk folder to ensure you do not miss any important updates regarding this role. 

Find out more about us and our mission by watching this short video (you will be taken to YouTube by clicking this link). 

Closing date: 14 October, 2022 - 12:00

Interview date: 9/10th November with Stakeholder meetings being held w/c 31st October

Please note ahead of the final interview panel you will be invited to prepare a brief presentation to share with the panel.

The Open University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion, which is reflected in our mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. We aim to foster a diverse and inclusive environment so that all our staff can reach their potential and attract diverse candidates.  We recognise that different people bring different perspectives, ideas, knowledge, and culture, and that this difference brings great strength.   

We offer a range of inclusive employment policies which include family and carer friendly flexible working arrangements and have many supportive staff networks and wellbeing services. We also endorse the principles of Athena SWAN, with commitment from all levels of the organisation in promoting gender equity. We are also open to the possibility of this role being undertaken on a job-share basis.

Our Staff Benefits page under Employment provides further links and information. 

Job related information : 

PDF icon Pro Vice Chancellor Students- Candidate Pack.pdf1.02 MB

Posting Date :  13 September, 2022 - 10:15

Contact us

If you have any queries or questions about the recruitment process, or regarding your application, please contact:

If you have any feedback regarding the recruitment process, please contact the Senior Resourcing Account Manager who will look into the matter.

Senior Resourcing Account Manager,
Resourcing Hub,
The Open University,
Walton Hall,
Milton Keynes,