President’s Blog 04/02/2022

50th planning and more important discussions!


Hi everyone,

I hope that you have all had a great week. Last weekend I managed to sleep, rest and read! It was lovely to be able to do that whilst not feeling ill! I spent Saturday morning chilling in bed whilst my husband took the monsters to buy cricket helmets; he came back after spending £185 on two helmets and a bat!! I know it’s only going to get worse, so I had better start saving hard! I am glad they are into cricket as I love it, so it will be good to watch them play over the summer. But for now, its winter nets and that does nothing for me at all! No more work on the garage unfortunately but the days are getting markedly longer and brighter which makes my heart glad.

I hope that you have been enjoying the amazing Freshers sessions that have been taking place this week, there has been so much to choose from. Thanks to everyone who makes these things possible. 

Monday

I had a huge pile of papers to get through this week, so I blocked off time to get that done. I had Governance and Nominations committee, Student Experience committee, Board of Trustee meeting, minutes from the Student Voice steering group and a monthly report to write. 

I had a meeting with Ceri Rose, director of OU MarComms and Emily Towers, deputy director of communications at the OU. We meet quarterly to make sure we keep each other up to date with what is happening. We discussed our 50th plans and the NSS results. It was nice to meet Emily for the first time. 

I then met with Sophie Banks from the OU Student Voice team for our introduction and to discuss the next revisit of the Student Charter. The last session of the day was a ‘meet your student reps’ session for Freshers. It was wonderful to introduce the elected reps and answer questions about what they do. If you missed it, you could find out about them here.

Tuesday

I met with Ian Cheyne, deputy president, and Matt Porterfield, vice president administration, to discuss a couple of things that had come up. I then had Student Experience Committee. This was the first one I had attended, and it was great to see so much care goes into the policies and other items that effect making our student experiences better. I quickly wrote up the report whilst it was fresh in my head before going to a meeting with Gareth Jones, faculty rep for business and law. We had a quick chat about a HEFCW (higher education funding council for Wales) meeting and then ended up actually catching up! 

In the afternoon the Council of the OU had a deep dive session examining the strategic success measures of the new strategy. 

Wednesday

I had Governance and Nominations committee. This is one of the two Council committees that students sit on. It ended up being quite a quick meeting and finished 45 minutes early. This allowed me to attend a meeting about the OU’s social media strategy. It was interesting to see how it is all going to work and where we can fit in to the picture. 

I then met with Reiss Miller, project manager for the 50th, and Gareth Jones, faculty representative for the faculty of business and law, to discuss sharing our ideas about the 50th to faculty assemblies. 

Next up was the 50th steering group! We discussed splitting the group into 3, each discussing an objective and the plan for the month which is loving the association. I then caught up with Reiss and Heather Bloomer, head of DigiComms, to discuss further ideas for podcasts and videos. Then me and Reiss quickly caught up, making up for the fact Reiss is having two weeks off on very much needed annual leave next week. 

Thursday 

I spent the morning on admin and making a video. Technology was not my friend! I then had a quick catch up with Sue MacCabe, head of strategy and insights. We discussed monthly reports, presenting to the OU’s Senior team and the two papers we had going to Board of Trustees. 

The afternoon was mostly taken up with the volunteer part of my role, the Association Board of Trustees. It was an interesting meeting with plenty of meaty papers to get through. 

I then quickly caught up with Beth Metcalf, director of membership services. Jackie Hinton, director of apprenticeships, then gave me a call to discuss some issues with a couple of apprenticeships. This led me to need to call Gareth Jones to inform him as the two we discussed sit in the faculty of FBL. 

Friday

Mostly a day off but I have a couple of admin tasks to finish.

I hope that you all have a great weekend and don’t forget to share what you love about the association by either using #LoveOUStudents or emailing us on mailto:oustudents-50@open.ac.uk 

See you on the other side, but until then, Go Well! 😊


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Sarah P Jones

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