Adventures of a Former Open University Vice-Chancellor in International Development

Daniel, John
Corporate Author
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
Report/Paper Number
Association of Open University Graduates, London, 5 December 2009, By Sir John Daniel, Commonwealth of Learning // Thank you so much for this invitation. During my time as Vice-Chancellor I very much appreciated the existence and work of the AOUG. Those were the days when the OU put in place the University-run alumni operation. That serves an important purpose but it seemed to me important to encourage AOUG, as an independent association to continue its work, which has – or had in my day as VC – a stronger academic focus with a journal and meetings such as this. /// However, I am not going to give you an academic lecture. My title is Adventures of a former OU Vice-Chancellor in International Development and these remarks will be by turns autobiographical, anecdotal and analytical. // There is life after being Vice-Chancellor of the Open University! Looking back my eleven years at the OU were undoubtedly the high point of my career for both achievement and enjoyment. It was also my longest tenure in any job. The OU is an extraordinary institution and serving it was a huge privilege. Before I came to the OU I had been associated, either as student or staff member, with half a dozen universities in Canada, France and the UK. None of them came close to the OU in idealism, student centeredness and intellectual rigour in both teaching and administration. Nor did any give students such a large role in the running of the university. // Another very rewarding feature of the OU was the longevity of its students. In other universities students are there for three or four years. Some become active in student and university affairs in their second year but then focus on other things in their final year, so you are dealing with students who know little about how the committees work and have no institutional memory. Contrast this to the OU where OUSA has a better institutional memory than most of the staff! This not only gives more maturity and a greater sense of common purpose to debates in Senate and Council, but also allows OU staff to get to know well some of the student and graduate representatives on these bodies.
Open Universities, Open and Distance Learning (ODL), Education for All
United Kingdom
Europe, Global