President’s Blog 29/4/22

Graduations, Values and Behaviour and 50th Merch

Hi Everyone,

I hope you have all had a great week and are looking forward to another long weekend. I had the joy of going to the Manchester graduations earlier this week and it was amazing! Congratulations to ALL OU Graduates who are graduating this season. You are amazing. I was reminded about the sacrifices that not just you make but your families, I know my husband and monsters know way more about Education studies than they ever wanted to!! Without their support and encouragement, I wouldn’t have got through. So well done to all the families as well!! 

In Association news, our Tutor Awards are open. Have you benefitted from a Tutor who has gone above and beyond to support you and would like to say thank you but don’t know how?? If so, please nominate them for an award. To find out more follow this link

Don’t forget that this month, as part of Our 50th Birthday, we are celebrating the amazing partnership work that we do with the University. Keep your eyes open for lots of content about our partnership. If you are a staff member and would like to share with us your stories or have ideas that can involve students or the Association in your work, please do get in touch at

May marks our first 50th birthday. Similar to the Queen we have two, the second is in December. During May we will be celebrating what the Association has done throughout the decades. If you have a birthday message for us, please send it to us via our email or post it on social media. We will be collating these messages to put out in December on our second 50th birthday.

We are really proud to have launched our new Values and Behaviour Policy. It has been a while in the making but we wanted it to underpin all the work that we do as an Association. Please check it out here.

Our Elections are now open!! Please go to our website and meet the students nominating themselves and make sure that you vote!! I am excited to see the results of the elections this year! 

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Our Student Leadership Team met to discuss the papers on our website and the meeting was live-tweeted, to find out more check out the thread.


I travelled up to Manchester on the train and I actually read a book!! It was by Aldo Kane called Lessons From the Edge and well worth a read. I also had dinner with one of the graduates and catch-up with another!


Manchester Graduation, I saw two of my very good friends cross the stage and heard the incredibly inspirational talks from Honorary Graduates James Timpson OBE, DL, and Matt Baker BEM. Matt very kindly emailed me his speech, so we will publish it in The Hoot very soon.


I was part of a panel discussing Academic Conduct at the Westminster Higher Education Forum. It was interesting to hear how other places are dealing with this complex issue. We also had a very short 50th steering group and I then travelled home to Bristol. 


I met with Reiss Millar, 50th Project Manager. We had a lot to catch up on. We discussed fundraising, the 50th podcast, and also merchandise for the 50th

Next, I met with Jane Whild. Jane works in the Knowledge Media Institute as part of the OU and is the link between the OU and Citizens MK. We had an interesting discussion around a listening summit on misogyny, using surveys and other formats. She also told me about the White Ribbon movement. If you want to find out more here is their website

I then made 3 videos that were needed and started to read through papers for meetings I have coming up. 

I then attended a highly confidential meeting. 

Next up was my 1-2-1 with Rob Avann, CEO. We managed to cover a lot of ground and the time zipped by!

As part of the 50th, we will be measuring the impact of what we are doing so each month we are meeting with the Strategy and Insights team to discuss how best to measure this and increase engagement and awareness. 

I also needed to have a catch-up with Beth Metcalf, Director of Membership services, around some issues that had arisen. 

My last meeting of the day was a catch-up with Rob and Mark Price, Chair of the Board of Trustees. 


I started the day with the Future Delivery of Exams working group.

I then met with Steph Stubbins, STEM faculty rep. We had a good catch-up but forgot to talk about the sustainability group, which had been top of the agenda, as another more immediate topic had arisen.

Next was my weekly meeting with Sue MacCabe, Head of Strategy and Insights. We talked at length about what I want to do over my last 3 months as President. 

Every quarter we meet with the team that oversees Post Graduate Research students in the graduate school. I always enjoy hearing what has been going on with PGR students and also with Research at the University. The new research plan is in the final draft stages and will work its way through Council and Senate. The graduate school is currently examining PGR futures as part of that plan.

I then met again with Reiss to continue the conversation as we have now planned two meetings a week. Reiss had made lots of progress and we were able to cover information going in the newsletter and July celebrations. 

Then Reiss and I met with Gemma Dorrity, Head of Operations, to discuss 50th merchandise as we are planning to have it available on our website for everyone to purchase in May so we can kick off our fundraising.


I am probably going to be spending my day studying!

I am sure, like many of you, I will be using the long weekend to catch up on study as I know Exams and EMA’s are on the horizon for many of you. Good luck! Please remember to take a break and spend some time away from your books, rest is also useful! If you are struggling the best thing you can do is walk away and go and do something different for half an hour and come back to it. 

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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