The acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mary Kellett, has announced a two-month “critical review” of plans to transform the way The Open University teaches its students.
In a message to staff, she said the pause would help the University take stock of progress and focus on the changes which would deliver the greatest benefit. She said:
We all want to work to ensure that many more of our students succeed – we are all proud of this University, care about our students, and are passionate about the life-changing opportunities our University provides.
The review would allow academics to share their concerns about the scale and pace of the original proposals, designed to place the OU on a sustainable financial footing as well as delivering savings to invest in areas such as the IT infrastructure.
“Alongside the more controversial and problematic, there are many proposals on which there is agreement,” said Prof Kellett. “It will be a time to discover how united we are on many things and take stock of where and why we disagree. It’s a time to value just how much experience, expertise and skill we have within our own workforce and draw more on that to solve our problems.”
Five key areas
At a meeting of Senate, the academic governing body, Pro-Chancellor Richard Gillingwater said the University must focus on five key areas – increasing academic success rates among students; raising the job prospects of students; increasing student satisfaction; increasing income; and improving staff motivation.
Mr Gillingwater said: “As well as supporting our students better, we must achieve financial sustainability. It is this that will ensure the future of The Open University and this that will allow us to reach our 50th anniversary celebrations with a renewed vigour and strengthened sense of pride.
“We can chose how we address the challenge – what are the solutions, how much and how quickly do we change, but we do need to change.”