The Open University Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

The Open University Reviews

Updated 16 July 2018
151 reviews

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3.4
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The Open University Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks
Peter Horrocks
52 Ratings

151 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. "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


  2. "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.

  3. "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


  4. "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.


  5. "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


  6. 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.


  7. "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
    Current Employee - Researcher in Milton Keynes, England
    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.

  8. 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


  9. "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
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Milton Keynes, England
    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.


  10. "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
    Former Employee - Team Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    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.


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