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The Open University welcomes new Vice-Chancellor

The Open University’s 50th anniversary celebrations are being extended to welcome the OU’s eighth Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Blackman.

Professor Blackman is no stranger to the OU having previously been the OU’s Acting Vice-Chancellor at The Open University and previously Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Quality from 2011-2015. Before returning to the OU, Professor Blackman was Vice-Chancellor at Middlesex University since July 2015.

Tim Blackman

Professor Tim Blackman ready to lead The Open University

Unrivalled knowledge and experience

Professor Blackman has extensive leadership experience in higher education. A graduate of Durham University, he later returned to his alma mater to take up positions including the Head of the School of Applied Social Sciences, Director of the Wolfson Research Institute and the Dean of the University’s campus in Stockton–on–Tees. He has also served as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law at Teesside University and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law at Oxford Brookes University.

Speaking about the new appointment Pro-Chancellor of The Open University, Malcolm Sweeting, said: “Professor Blackman’s appointment as The Open University’s new Vice-Chancellor was a unanimous decision by the University’s Council.

“He comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience of the OU, and a track record of success in his leadership of Middlesex University. He brings a detailed understanding of the complexities of the sector and the opportunities and challenges that these bring to our unique University.”

photograph of prof Tim Blackman

The OU’s eight Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Blackman

A tremendous honour

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Blackman said: “It is a tremendous honour and privilege to be appointed as Vice-Chancellor of The Open University.

“The OU is one of the UK’s best inventions. It ranks with the NHS and National Parks as a visionary idea, bringing the opportunity to learn and study to anyone, whatever their circumstances.”

Malcolm Sweeting also commended Professor Mary Kellett for her stewardship and her personal commitment to the University. “I would also like to take this opportunity to say a very big thank you to Mary Kellett for her calm and inspired leadership of the OU since she took over this role in April 2018.

“Mary embodies the very best qualities of the OU and has led us not just through periods of significant change, but also of celebration in our 50th year. Her approach has been central to keeping the OU radical and relevant and positioning us positively for the future. Mary is a true ambassador for the OU and the vital role education plays in improving lives and society.”

Photograph of Mary cutting cake

Thanks paid to Professor Mary Kellett from across the OU for her leadership

The role of a VC

The role of the Vice-Chancellor is the principal academic and administrative officer of the University. Among the main tasks of the Vice-Chancellor are to:

  • Provide leadership, academic and administrative to the whole University;
  • Represent the University externally, both within the UK and overseas;
  • Secure a financial stable base to allow the delivery of the University’s mission, aims and objectives;
  • Carry out certain important ceremonial and civic duties.

About Author

Rachel is Senior Manager, Media Relations team. She is a skilled communicator with more than ten years’ experience in Public Relations. She holds a BA (Hons) Media Production from the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside. Rachel specialises in stories from the Faculty of Business and Law, students, academic research, BBC programmes, technology, innovation and skills. Rachel has three large dogs, two children and enjoys growing her own veg.

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