Losing our presence - how the latest @OpenUniversity #location "consultation" is utter madness ...

After reading a considered write up from colleague Ray Corrigan and support from Cory Doctorow I feel that here is one decision from our senior management, that for the first time in seven years made me wonder about the state of mind within the Open University (OU).

One of the primary reasons I joined the OU is that it was a organisation I could get behind - irrespective of its many eccentricities. It's mission to enable whomever that tried; to reach for higher education - this was something I could easily get behind.

We do need to look at how we use the different offices - but to cull them in such a manner and looking at the outcomes of the location analysis. Strikes me that whomever was given the job - did little to review each location and approached this from a purely numerical perspective.

Having worked hard to develop a community of Cisco Academies, Vendor interests and interventions in the Computing and Network Engineering teaching communities. I have used these different locations over my seven years at the OU - to reach out, host meetings with educators, employers and industry. Often having these offices in suitable locations - to enable and make it work for stakeholders nationally.

Ironically the two I have never used, are the two that will remain.

We need a presence in London - somewhere to host meetings. I have also hosted meetings in Cambridge, Bristol, Birmingham, Gateshead and Leeds. We rely on many of these stakeholders to support our mission and enable us to thrive.

The irony comes that after hosting such meetings, we now have the opportunity to attract funding for more - yet there is possibly nowhere to go when I look to accomplish this.

Putting aside my gripes - to amplify the words of Ray Corrigan, it is not only the goodwill of staff and students that will be undermined, we enjoy considerable goodwill from many unnamed stakeholders. Who may not be legal partners, but have worked alongside us for many years helping us on our mission.

In many respects - we will be losing some of our presence.


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