The Open University Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

The Open University Reviews

Updated 3 November 2018
158 reviews

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3.3
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The Open University Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks
Peter Horrocks
56 Ratings

158 Employee Reviews

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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. "Telephone Fundraiser, Development Office"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at The Open University part-time

    Pros

    The OU is well-known for its outstanding commitment to education and this ethos is carried through even down to this small call centre. The team are friendly. I had never done telephone fundraising before but it is worth doing for the OU's many causes in the UK and worldwide

    Cons

    I only stopped because I had no other business at the OU. The shift patterns are awkward, but possibly well suited to someone already working part-time in another job on the same site

    Advice to Management

    I'm not really in a position to advise; the Development Office functions quite well


  2. "Overall ok."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Caring environment. Good team members

    Cons

    It’s a bit slow for decision making

  3. "Good Place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Student Recruitment Advisor in Manchester, England
    Current Employee - Student Recruitment Advisor in Manchester, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Support from peers and managers
    In-depth training
    Rewarding job

    Cons

    Unhelpful or belittling staff (not in my office but across OU)


  4. "resistant to change"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time

    Pros

    great colleagues; free to work own wprk pattern

    Cons

    poor overall conditions; precarious employment; you rarely teach what you prepare; limited research facilities; inefficient processes; poor office environment

    Advice to Management

    be more open


  5. "A great paid hobby with a fantastic organisation!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Lecturer in Telford, England
    Current Employee - Associate Lecturer in Telford, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Able to work from home. Great experiences helping students learn.

    Cons

    Poor pay considering the hours spent

    Advice to Management

    Listen to the needs of associate lecturers more


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Working in Student Services"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Open University part-time

    Pros

    Inclusive, disability friendly, great colleagues. Good benefits (e.g excellent holiday entitlement)

    Cons

    Senior management is out of touch with work of front line staff, and staff lack autonomy to manage their own work. Micro management. OU ethos and cultural values being eroded.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your staff, and respect their professionalism.


  7. "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

  8. Helpful (1)

    "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.


  9. "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


  10. 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.


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