AOUG at OUSA Conference
AOUG are pleased to be attending the OUSA Conference this weekend. Friday, Saturday and Sunday 17th, 18th and 19th June at The Open University, Milton Keynes. We are holding a stand in the Jennie Lee Atrium and will be hosting a workshop at the conference. Please come and visit us if you are attending. You can also follow AOUG on Facebook and Twitter.
Our AGM this year was held at the Palace Hotel, Buxton. The weekend began on Friday at 12 noon and members made a visit to Poole Cavern, this was followed by a local Derbyshire quiz that was held in the evening. Old friendships were refreshed and new ones were made. On Saturday the AGM business was conducted and in the afternoon some members joined a visit to Chatsworth House and Gardens. The Gala dinner was held in the evening with an excellent speaker and band. On Sunday morning members went for a visit to Eyam, in Derbyshire, to hear stories regarding the containment of the Plague. The AGM was held at a lovely venue and all members reported that they felt it was a very successful weekend.
Professor Wilson at Charter Day
Chairman, Margaret Stobirski, Vice-Chairman, Lesley Sleigh and Treasurer, Jean Hertzog were honoured once again to be invited to the OU Charter Day. Not only did they get to listen to the address from Peter Horrocks and Richard Gillingwater, among others, and to witness the panel questions and the presentation staff awards, but they also attended a special reception in the OU Library. Here Professor Robin Wilson was one of the speakers at the launch of the OU’s new archive of his father Lord Harold Wilson. Afterwards they spent a couple of hours viewing the many OU faculty displays where they learnt about all the new innovations developing around campus.
AOUG embraces social media
Just over a year ago AOUG launched its own corporate Facebook and twitter accounts. Now both have taken off, slowly at first but over the year gradually gaining interest. Our AOUG Twitter has many followers and AOUG Facebook now has over eight hundred ‘likes’. If you have registered for a personal account yourself then just type in ‘Association of Open University Graduates’ on Facebook or on Twitter at ‘AOUG at The AOUG’ and you can catch up on instant information and these are plenty of opportunities to interact with AOUG and other graduates.
All change in AOUG Office
The New Year brought the end of an era in the AOUG Office as in January 2016, Cheryl Cowley, our Clerical Officer left our employment after fifteen dedicated service to AOUG and Danny Kelly our Bookkeeper also presented his notification of retirement after ten years loyal service. Danny then left AOUG in March. Fortunately Tami Davey had joined AOUG last April but on only one day a week, he could hardly be expected to take over the full running of the AOUG Office and so interviews were arranged to replace Cheryl and Danny. Thus we had great pleasure to welcome Sandra Higgins in February as our new Office Administrator and Darren Harvey in March as our new Bookkeeper. Tami remains with us and has now increased her hours to two days a week.
AOUG would like to offer our sincere congratulations to the recent Inauguration of Vice–Chancellor Peter Horrocks. Peter used the platform at the Milton Keynes Graduation Ceremony to promote the importance of Part Time study and requested that all graduates be ambassadors for the OU and promote the value of study with the Open University. It was a wonderful day and a great honour for the Chairman to be present.
On the 2nd October AOUG were delighted to present The Foundation for Education Research Awards to five Open University PhD students who are in their final year of study. AOUG criteria dictates that they must have completed their first degree with The Open University. They were all nominated by their supervisors, and you can read more about each student on the Research Awards web page. We wish them all success on finishing their studies. Thanks to all their Supervisors, friends and family who came to support them.
AOUG members were delighted to receive a lecture given by Paul Catley, Head of The Open University Law School in the afternoon of 2nd October. It was entitled ‘Neurolaw - heralding a new era for law or a damp squib?’ The Lecture was extremely interesting and provided a well balanced approach to the value of neuroscience i.e. the behaviour of the brain and its impact on criminal acts and posed the thought do we have freewill. A great vote of thanks to Paul for a very stimulating and thought provoking lecture.
It is with great sadness that AOUG reports the news that Sir John Horlock, who was the Vice-Chancellor at the time of AOUG’s foundation, has died. He saw the potential in having an Association of Open University Graduates and deployed Peter Price and Roger Walters to work with our Steering Committee led by Olga Camm to design the format that most suited the graduates’ enthusiasm and the OU’s need for independent ambassadors. Sir John presented a scroll to Olga at our official launch at the OU Open Day in June 1988 and together with Olga, planted our beech tree on the Mulberry lawn.
Sir John Horlock enabled the introduction of a taught postgraduate Masters programme and oversaw the opening of the Business School. He passed away on 22nd May and there will be a Thanksgiving Service for his life at Ampthill Baptist Church, Ampthill MK45 2JS at 3pm on Friday 19th June. All former colleagues are most welcome to attend and AOUG encourages any AOUG founder members who are able to attend, to do so, in respect for our great sense of gratitude to his support of AOUG. The OU flag will be flown at half-mast on 19th June in his memory
Association of Open University Graduates now have a Corporate Facebook account and in less than a month have a score of 140 ‘likes’. We are including a Diary Date section and will shortly have a set of photo albums to view about various AOUG activities. News is being included about various OU activities and individual departments, as well as information from OUSA. There is the opportunity to comment on existing posts or to post something new for yourself. You can also write a review on the page. Link from the Facebook symbol at the bottom of our Homepage and join in the discussions.
Then less than two weeks ago we started a Twitter account @theAOUG and this is also starting to take off with the OU Office in Wales already advertising us. Become a follower and find out what AOUG and your Chairman are up to each day.
We are pleased to welcome back to the Executive Committee, Margaret Stobirski as Chairman, Pam Pearce as Publicity Officer, Ramsey Hertzog as Executive Representative for the East Midlands (05) and Jean McKenna as Executive Representative for the North (09). Marion Corns is also welcomed as a co-opted Executive Representative for the North West (08). Peter Williams, the previous North West Executive Representative, was thanked for his service after completing his three year Term of Office.
In addition the Committee formally welcomed our new employee Tami Davey to her role as AOUG Clerical Assistant.
The Executive Committee celebrated their one hundredth committee meeting at the Celtic Royal Hotel in Caerrnarfon during the AGM/Social Weekend. Three or four committee meetings have been held each year since AOUG’s formation and the Committee celebrated with cakes in the shape of the number hundred during their meeting coffee break. The Association itself is now in its twenty seventh year. Special Association celebrations we held in 2009 for our 21st and in 2013 for our 25th and so by comparison, the committee celebration was a significant but low key event. We are now looking forward to the Association’s 30th Anniversary.
After the departure of Vice-Chancellor, Martin Bean, Professor Tim Blackman is acting Vice-Chancellor. Tim has been working at the University since 2011 when he took up the position of Pro Vice Chancellor for Research, Scholarship, and Quality. He states that “he is immensely proud of our high quality research and courses”. Tim will make sure that the transition period is smooth in readiness for the Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks. Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks takes up his Office on 5th May 2015.
Peter’s current role is at the BBC where he is the Executive in charge of global news operations which includes the World Service. Peter joined the BBC in 1981 after graduating at Cambridge. In his BBC career he set up the BBC Multimedia Operation and became Director of the World Service in 2009. His post of BBC Global news was taken up in 2010. The BBC Global News has now been renamed as the World Service Group.
Peter Horrocks stated that “The Open University had been making life changing differences to hundreds of thousands of people by providing them, by distance learning, an education which may otherwise have been unobtainable.” He ends his statement by “calling it an honour to join the organisation” AOUG Officers look forward to meeting him early in his post.
Baroness Lane-Fox was installed on Wednesday 10th September 2014 as the new Chancellor of The Open University at the morning Degree Ceremony at the Milton Keynes Theatre. In addition to all the many new graduates and their families, the event was attended by OU senior staff members, members of OU Senate and members of OU Council. The procession party of over seventy meant that the VIPS filled not only the stage but several extra rows in the auditorium. Our AOUG Chairman, Margaret Stobirski and our previous AOUG Chairman, Ramsey Hertzog, were part of this prestigious event.