Executive Dean, Wellbeing, Education, and Language Studies

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The Open University
Milton Keynes
£140,000 per annum
Closing date:
9am, Friday 28th June 2024
Job Ref:

Recruitment timetable

Closing Date
9am, Friday 28th June 2024
Long Listing
Friday 19th July 2024
Preliminary Interviews
With GatenbySanderson 23rd & 24th July 2024
Short Listing
Tuesday 6th August 2024
Final Panel
Friday 13th & Monday 16th September 2024


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 208,000 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 join our executive team and lead the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, The Faculty is a community of over 360 research-active academics, more than 200 professional support staff and nearly 1,500 student tutors (Associate Lecturers) supporting the education of around 45,000 students per year across the four nations of the UK and further afield. The Faculty is organised in three schools: The School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport, The School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care and The School of Languages and Applied Linguistics.

As the Executive Dean of WELS, 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.

The successful candidate will be appointed to a permanent substantive role in the Faculty, and seconded to the Executive Dean position. The appointment period for the Executive Dean position is for a maximum of five years, with possible reappointment for a further two years subject to the agreement of the Executive Dean and the Vice-Chancellor.

This is an opportunity to lead a Faculty firmly rooted in professional practice, with both teaching and research sitting at the cutting-edge of global conversations around our specialist areas. We are driven by our University’s social mission, and the nature of our disciplines and expertise mean that we are perfectly positioned to help tackle some of the key the fundamental societal challenges of our age.

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: Julia Roberts, Hilda Gjika, Jacqueline Lau or Maliha Ahmed at OUWELS@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 WELS 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 WELS next Executive Dean?' – please submit your video using the following link only https://myint.video/a1OUzaO3k0 ; if you require any technical support with this please contact chloe.marshall@gatenbysanderson.com

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