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The Open University appoints new Vice-Chancellor

The Open University has appointed Professor Tim Blackman as its next Vice-Chancellor who will take up his new role on the 1 October.

Photograph of Prof Tim Blackman
Professor Tim Blackman appointed as OU’s new Vice-Chancellor

Professor Blackman is currently Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University and has served in this role since July 2015. Prior to Middlesex University, he was Acting Vice–Chancellor at The Open University and previously Pro Vice–Chancellor for Research and Quality.

Professor Blackman has extensive leadership experience in higher education. Having graduated from Durham, he returned to the University to hold 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.

Pro-Chancellor of The Open University, Malcolm Sweeting, said:

“I am delighted that Professor Tim Blackman has been appointed as The Open University’s new Vice-Chancellor. The decision was made unanimously by the University’s Council.

Malcolm Sweeting, Pro-Chancellor of The Open University

“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.”

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Blackman said:

“It is a tremendous honour and privilege to be appointed as the next 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.

“The OU’s staff are remarkable, creating inspiring courses designed and taught to demanding standards. Its students are amazing and achieve, often against the odds, qualifications that transform their lives. I look forward to working with the whole OU community to advance the university’s mission and purpose, which are just as pioneering and relevant today as they were 50 years ago.”

Malcolm Sweeting continued:

“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 fiftieth 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.”

A Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Royal Society of Arts, Professor Blackman has also served as an assessor for Social Policy and Social Work in the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework exercise. Professor Blackman’s annual salary will be £270,000 with an annual supplement of circa £37k in lieu of pension.

About Author

Rachel is Deputy Head of the 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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