President’s Blog 11/3/22

Lots of exciting projects, and the return to face-to-face graduations!

Hi all,

I hope that you are well and enjoying the bits of sun that we have had. Work has restarted on the garden office and there is now the majority of the roof! So exciting! 

It has been a busy week thinking about Graduations and Elections. I hope you have seen the information about the elections if not have a look here. And if you want to be a graduation volunteer you can register here.


My day started with a meeting with Steph Stubbins, Faculty representative for STEM. It was great to catch up with her about how her role is going as she is still pretty new in it although she is really an old hand. I then met with a sub group of the Culture review group to discuss publishing our Values and Behaviours Policy.

My next meeting with the Access and Participation Strategy Steering Group. It was interesting to hear the progress that is being made in this space to support our most vulnerable students. 

Stephanie Laing works for Citizens UK, and the OU is part of the Citizens Milton Keynes group. We met to discuss getting student and general OU involvement in the campaigns on Misogyny and hate crimes and also on Climate Change. 

I then had a catch up with Beth Metcalf, Director of Membership Services at the Association, before having a meeting with Beth, Reiss Millar, 50th Project Manager, Heather Bloomer, Head of DigiComms and Gabby Cull, Head of Executive support and Staff Welfare, to discuss the ins and outs of the July Student Leadership Team meeting. It is way more complex than you think! I then had a catch up with Heather and Reiss about content planning for the 50th

My last meeting of the day was with Matt Porterfield, VP Administration. We needed to discuss how some Trustee training had been.


I met with Hanna Silk, Wales representative, to have a catch up with how her role has been going since she started and give some great feedback, I have had recently about her. 

We then had a 50th Steering Group meeting where we had a presentation from Ruth Cammies and a few others from the OU around an Online exhibition that we may be doing for the 50th. We also talked through the 3 objectives and gave updates. 

I then caught up very quickly with Gareth Jones, FBL rep, to discuss an idea he wanted to take to the Student Leadership Team. Very quickly followed by another catch up with Reiss.

My next meeting was with Beth, Ian, Deputy President, Sue MacCabe, Head of Strategy and Insights, Dan Moloney, Director of Engagement and Rob Avann, Chief Executive. Swiftly followed by a quick catch up with Sue around Consultations.

I had another catch up with Reiss around meeting with a former Student Leader and then met with Haf Merrifield, Director of Strategy for the OU. We discussed where the new strategy was going in regard to the performance framework.  

I then went to a meeting to discuss a student chat platform ran by the Association and another quick 50th meeting. 


I met with Yosa Osma and Lurraine Jones from the OU to discuss what the Association is doing in regard to EDI and also the Union Black course, if you haven’t done it I really do recommend you do it. You will learn so much. I then had my regular 1-2-1 with Heather and then my regular 1-2-1 with Sue. 

I am in the Academic Conduct review Steering Group and the Exams and Assignments Steering Group. Both of these are really heavy meetings trying to make things better for students. Both of these were on Wednesday! There is a lot going on in these spaces and much to take in and it is vital to make sure that the Student Voice is heard. 

I started the afternoon with a discussion about the response to the Teaching Excellence Framework consultation the Office for Students have put out. This and the Consultation about Student experience and satisfaction are both due on March 17th, we are putting in student submissions. 

I then had my 1-2-1 with Rob and my normal weekly catch up with Reiss.


I started my day with a quick catch up with Matt and then I met with Allan Musinguzi to discuss all things Volunteer and Rep!

My last meeting of the day was with Dan, we needed to discuss the Northern Ireland Manifesto launch and our strategy project 10 to do with a manifesto for lifelong learning.

I say my last meeting because Thursday afternoon I have flown to Belfast.


Belfast Graduation Day! So exciting to celebrate amazing Ou students and be inspired and encouraged that it really is all worth it in the end!


Flying back form Belfast in time for the Societies meeting Saturday morning.

I hope that your study is all going well and that you aren’t starting to panic, in the same way I am! Being around other people, this week is probably my weirdest experience for a long time! Actually, doing something face to face in over two years! But being able to celebrate what being an OU student is all about is amazing! 

Have a great weekend, see you on the other side, but until then, Go Well! 😊

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Sarah P Jones


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  1. It’s so exciting to see in person graduations back up and running. I’m saving mine and hopeful of a double graduation 🥳🥳 but love to see it. Will definitely be procrastinating tomorrow to keep up with the action.