AOUG Vice-Chancellor Professor Brenda Gourley Award for Business Studies

Professor Brenda Gourley was Vice Chancellor of The Open University from 2002 to 2009 and before that she occupied the same position at one of South Africa’s largest universities, the University of Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal). She has combined an academic career with a career in academic management ranging over thirty years through momentous changes in her own country plus momentous times in Higher Education.

Her interests include Higher Education strategy and trends (including the impact of technology), the world of open and distance education, leadership, ethics and the role of universities in their communities. She was a founder member of the ‘Talloires Network’ of universities involved in civic engagement and served on its Steering Committee for five years.

She continued to champion the ‘Open Educational Resource Movement’ and ensured that The Open University was the first British university to make a large selection of its educational resources freely available on the web. It remains an exemplar. She is also a great supporter of the role of Higher Education in promoting social justice and finding a sustainable way of out of poverty. She has held a range of positions on Boards and Trusts, serving two terms of office as Chair of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and two terms of office on the Board of the International Association of Universities as well as many others in various parts of the world – both in the public and private sectors. She has numerous publications in books, journals and periodicals and is a frequent speaker at conferences and gatherings all over the world. Professor Gourley has also received recognition for her work in the form of fellowships, prizes and awards as well as honorary degrees from fourteen universities on four continents. Professor Gourley is a chartered accountant by profession.

During her time as Vice-Chancellor of the OU, Brenda Gourley was a great supporter of AOUG and under her direction, the OU employed a web designer to work with AOUG to redesign and modernise our website. So successful was that work that AOUG have since employed the same designer for technical support and the continued upgrading of our website. Professor Gourley attended many AOUG functions and often requested to speak at AOUG events. Professor Gourley attended and spoke at both our 21st Anniversary Tree Ceremony on campus at Walton Hall and our Gala Dinner, where she was presented with a cut glass engraved bowl, before she left the OU in 2009. After leaving she willingly gave permission for her name to be linked to the Award for Business Studies which was first offered in 2012.

Previous Winners
2018 Tanya Lawes
2016 Tamsin Waterkeyne
2015 Charles Mbalyohere
2012 Daniel Richards