The Open University Reviews | Glassdoor.ca

The Open University Reviews

Updated 14 June, 2018
149 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-timePart-time

3.4
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
The Open University Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks
Peter Horrocks
51 Ratings

149 Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

Pros
  • "Great company to work, the work-life balance is excellent" (in 13 reviews)

  • "Always used to be a good working environment and supportive colleagues" (in 11 reviews)

Cons
  • "Senior management like headless chickens" (in 9 reviews)

  • "Bullying culture, micro-management, not a lot of support and no opportunities for career progression" (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "A pleasure to work here"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at The Open University full-time

    Pros

    lots of holiday, relaxed environment

    Cons

    currently going though big changes

    Advice to Management

    prepare for lots of sideways moves


  2. "A culture of bullying & lowering academic standards"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Lecturer
    Former Employee - Associate Lecturer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at The Open University part-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Academic, higher education, online employment possible

    Cons

    Decline in academic input; gross staff bullying; lack of scientific knowledge in management.

    Oh, what a decline over a decade. I am a biologist. When I started the academic standard was high with courses designed & managed by top notch researchers to high academic standards. Dialogue was as one would expect in a scientific environment. Gradually, that changed. Course management devolved to those without any relevant research experience; "new" courses were cobbled together from the fragments of old, without cohesion. Physical books were more or less dropped as tuition fees went sky high, losing the OU almost all of its lifelong learning contingent.

    Worse, ideas came to be perceived as criticism & witch-hunts all too prevalent in an environment where respect for the associate lecturer became conspicuous by its absence. As an example, in my case, using the OU much-vaunted anti-bullying procedures, I found the issue dealt with by management who undertook a clandestine character assassination program. When I requested nearby venues for hearings, as I do have life-impacting but unseen disabilities, this resulted in a covert challenge that these disabilities were presented only after my complaint was made. I'm still trying to work out the rationale there but it was widely touted, including to my union rep & raised unwarranted questions over my integrity. And yes, I have it on record.

    I left - I have 3 degrees in science & adult further/higher education but the illogical lack of support made the work a thankless task, to say the least. And there was no reason for it at all, as (in common with most out-posted staff) I worked considerably in excess of paid hours & was completely dedicated to my work & loyal to the OU in my dealings with tutees.

    There is little left of the OU of old, which even then had a rather low academic reputation in comparison with mainstream, traditional, universities. Online education has become widespread & competition considerable. The OU all but abandoned its advantages of personal teaching & summer schools & dropped many of its science courses in my time with them. The introduction of inflexible marking schemes made it difficult to mark fairly, enforcing marks for inadequate answers & failing to allow credit for exceptional work. Pass thresholds were reduced. This fails to satisfy the basic educational tenet the marks awarded should reflect achievement - or lack of it. In case you wonder, providing the marks themselves was a comparatively minor (if essential) aspect of the associate lecturer role, which involved extensive student feedback.

    I find it difficult to perceive what advantage the OU offers students in an increasingly competitive field in which major universities have an increasing input.

    Advice to Management

    Well - put your house in order.

  3. "Good place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time

    Pros

    Great benefits and a nice location to work

    Cons

    Can be very political and slow to react


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Senior Project Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Open University full-time

    Pros

    Working for a high profile university with good social ethics.
    Free OU courses and qualifications for staff.
    Good campus facilities.
    Friendly people.

    Cons

    Demotivated workforce due to constant and seemingly inefficient change.
    Senior management disconnected from main body of staff.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to employees and students.


  5. "A bit all over the place at the moment; overall very classist colleagues"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Researcher in Milton Keynes, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Researcher in Milton Keynes, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    A Higher Education institution in the UK means a lot to most, and this ought to be rightly so. OU has a vast array of schools and departments doing amazing work for humanity as a whole.

    Cons

    Today changes on how life evolves (technology advancements, for example) leaves quite a desirable bit from an institution such as OU, or at least from the colleagues I am working with.

    OU is being a bit/quite all over the place at the moment; overall very classist colleagues who either look for some pompous meaningless attention or are too focus in self-recognition.

    I work as part of a team at the school of computing and communications that is rather all over the place, with a great overload = overworked, and not enough time to dedicate to work in the projects we have on the plate. Oftentimes not having time for quality meetings and not providing with leadership but a sense of being bossed around, which is terrible sad in 2018, at a university... Not much mentorship provided either.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "OU"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Work life balance is great

    Cons

    current uncertainty about the OU future


  7. "An fabulous institution having a few hiccups"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Milton Keynes, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Milton Keynes, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    social mission, students, people, materials,

    Cons

    Senior Management Team and Vice Chancellor

    Advice to Management

    Learn what your employees do, it does help.

  8. "buyer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at The Open University full-time

    Pros

    nice culture, happy people, fab place

    Cons

    none, none , none, none,none


  9. "Should be a nice place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Team Manager in Milton Keynes, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Team Manager in Milton Keynes, England (UK)
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at The Open University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good benefits in terms of holidays, pension and ability to study

    Cons

    Bullying management on a power trip in student facing areas

    Advice to Management

    Peter Horrocks is a good guy. I think he can change it. He isnt helped by people with agendas and too many management in the academic services area. Hopeless management at that.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Review of the Open University"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lecturer in Milton Keynes, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Lecturer in Milton Keynes, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Flexibility, particularly if you have young children/caring responsibilities
    Opportunities for developing writing skills/production skills
    Some excellent colleagues

    Cons

    Lack of career progression
    Current climate at the Open University demoralising - VC talking about the coming biggest programme of cuts at any university in the UK with pride! Most regional centres already cut. Comes from BBC and not interested in day to day work of the university in delivering teaching across a wide range of subjects just in being at the forefront of media developments
    Micromanagement
    Lack of resources being devoted to the production of what used to be first class materials
    Pace of change in a big and complex UK wide institution - difficulties in managing student expectations in the face of the often irrational changes
    Managerialism and lack of support for staff
    Isolation - little effort to support staff working in isolated situations and largely at home since the closure of the regions.
    Big workload

    Advice to Management

    I have worked for the University for 8 years full time and seen a massive change over that time in the resources that are being devoted to what used to be the gold standard of materials. Time and resources have been cut drastically and staff morale has plummeted.

    Listen to staff delivering materials, teaching and administration on the front line
    Stop boasting about paying yourself £360,000 upwards to administer the biggest programme of redundancies in any university in the UK and get behind staff in their efforts to maintain high standards and produce good teaching materials in difficult times. Return to the core work of the university rather than devoting huge sums to high profile initiatives like Future Learn and starving the production and teaching teams of essential resources .
    Return to the core values of the Open University - social justice
    Support staff - every single metric has declined since this VC took over and yet he has paid himself £13k PRP ( and a vast salary) - what kind of accountability and governance is there?

    Take responsibility for the bad decisions that have been made and reflect on senior management's role in the decline in metrics and poor decision making
    Cut senior management and put resources into the faculties
    Listen to the people doing the job.
    Row back on the move to hive off the most valuable bits of the OU business

    Listen to the students rather than creating meaningless sound bites - the students consistently say they want a blended learning approach ( print, online and face to face teaching) and not for everything to be online.

    Listen to Senate


Showing 149 of 171 reviews
Reset Filters