Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences

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The Open University
Milton Keynes
Closing date:
Wednesday 7th June
Job Ref:

Recruitment timetable

Closing Date
Wednesday 7th June
Long Listing
Thursday 15th June
Preliminary Interviews
20th, 21st and 22nd June
Short Listing
Tuesday 4th July
Wednesday 5th - Friday 14th July
Final Panel
Friday 21st July


Be surprising and inspiring. Be so much more.

The Open University was established by Royal Charter in 1969 with the mission to be ‘open to people, places, methods and ideas’. It is a national university, working in all four nations of the UK as well as globally, teaching over 200,000 students, employing around 11,000 people across a range of academic, associate lecturer and professional services roles. Pioneering higher education by distance learning, over 2 million people have studied with The Open University, predominantly part-time and often while in paid work.

The Open University is recruiting for a value-led, dedicated and inspiring Executive Dean to lead the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS). The Faculty encompasses the full range of human experience. Intrinsically interdisciplinary in approach, it produces cutting-edge research that informs our world-class teaching and inspires our students, academics and the general public. It is the largest and most diverse at The Open University, with almost 50,000 students studying 37 different qualifications across 14 disciplines.

As the Executive Dean of FASS, you will be accountable for the strategic leadership and management of the Faculty. You will ensure that the Faculty provides high quality and innovative courses and teaching, an excellent student experience, and research and knowledge exchange managed to high standards of quality and sustainability.

As a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive (VCE), the Executive Dean will be enabling our strategic mission by taking the lead in defining the future of work at The Open University and helping lead us through a period of profound change and development. You will also play a pivotal role in the management and governance of the University.

The successful candidate will bring a commitment to the mission and values of The Open University, including a strong commitment to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion; political sensitivity, personal resilience, influencing and people skills; experience of successfully driving cultural and behavioural change in a complex organisation and be innovation and change-focused.

This is an opportunity to lead one of the largest and most diverse faculties at The Open University, noted for the strength of interdisciplinary approach and internationally-renowned academics. If you have vision, passion, creativity and determination to make a difference, we want to hear from you. This is a key appointment for us, and it will be for you – so we will invest time with candidates to get to know you and to give you the chance to get to know us. We welcome applications from a diverse range of candidates who have the vision and experience to lead a high-performing team in an outstanding institution.

If you need further clarifications, please contact our advisors at GatenbySanderson: Ross Highfield, Hilda Gjika or Julia Roberts at EDFASS@gatenbysanderson.com

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How to Apply

To apply please submit:


  • A CV that has been drafted to outline the strategic leadership experience tailored for The OU
  • A three-page supporting statement that outlines:
    1. Your motivation to apply for the Executive Dean of FASS at this time.
    2. Evidence of how you have provided strategic leadership for a large portfolio within an institution to drive excellence in teaching, learning, student experience and research & innovation in line with the institutional ambitions.
    3. What you perceive the opportunities to be within the Faculty and how you will optimise these to drive highest standards of excellence in all areas including teaching, learning, student experience, research and innovation?
  • A three-minute video recording where you address the following question: 'Why should I be FASS next Executive Dean?' - you will be sent a link via email to submit your video 24 business hours after you have submitted your CV and supporting statement.
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