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Jonathan Nicholls named as the OU’s new Acting University Secretary

The Open University has appointed Dr Jonathan Nicholls as its Acting University Secretary.

He will take up the post in mid-July on the departure of the current University Secretary, Keith Zimmerman.

Expertise in higher education

Photo of Dr Jonathan Nicholls

Dr Jonathan Nicholls

Dr Nicholls has long expertise and experience in higher education. He has previously served as the principal administrative officer at the Universities of Cambridge, Birmingham and Warwick. Most recently he has been Director of Strategic and Policy Services (Education) at Shakespeare Martineau. He has also held leadership roles across the HE sector, including Chair of the Association of Heads of University Administration.

Mary Kellett, Acting Vice-Chancellor, said The Open University believed it was right to recruit an interim University Secretary to allow an incoming Vice-Chancellor to make a permanent appointment.

In a message to OU staff, she said: “Jonathan has successfully helped all three of the Universities in which he has worked to develop their values, innovation and performance, and enabled significant and sustainable change. It is testament to the underlying strength of the OU that colleagues of this calibre want to join us and bodes well for attracting an excellent Vice-Chancellor in due course. Jonathan will remain with us through this process.”

“Honoured to join the OU”

Dr Nicholls said: “The Open University is a great university, transforming millions of students’ lives. As a parent, I know the difference that the OU can make. My step-son recently completed a MA in Philosophy at the OU, and was enthusiastic and proud of the support he received. I am hugely excited and honoured to join the OU at this time, and help Mary and all the staff and students in the OU during this important time of transition.”

Dr Nicholls will start at the OU in mid-June to allow a handover period with Mr Zimmerman.


Read about other recent senior appointments at the OU.

About Author

Kath works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She is a skilled communicator with more than 15 years’ experience working in both the public and private sectors. She has a BA (Hons) English and American Literature from University of Warwick and specialises in stories from the Faculty of Social Science, Faculty of Education and Language Studies, BBC programmes, and student stories. In her spare time Kath enjoys touring the country in her hand-painted camper van, Trevor.

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