Director of Learner and Discovery Services

The Open University

Milton Keynes

  • Location

    Milton Keynes

  • Job type


  • Sector


  • Salary/Remuneration

    £87,772 - £101,047 plus benefits

  • Job ref


  • Expiry date

    08 April 2019

  • Client

    The Open University

Ref: GSe51000

The Open University is the leading university for flexible and effective distance learning, as well as innovative, world-leading research, in the United Kingdom and in over 100 countries worldwide. Uniquely placed to understand the needs of part-time students, combining their learning while earning (76% of OU students are in work), our innovative, award-winning distance teaching credentials have seen over two million students receive an education otherwise denied to them at campus-based universities.

The University is on a journey of strategic review and change in how we deliver our services to students, with student success at the heart of everything we do. We have ambitious plans to reach even more students across the four nations of the UK and globally. We will lead in the development and use of digital technologies across teaching, learning and research; and will increasingly seek to diversify our sources of income, with a firm focus on value for our students.

Learner and Discovery Services is a newly created portfolio. Reporting to the University Secretary and part of the Professional Services Portfolio, as the Director, Learner and Discovery Services you will lead the transformation of services supporting teaching, learning and research at the Open University. This is an exciting opportunity to develop an ambitious vision for a unit able to enhance and enrich the learner experience across our formal, informal and commercial curriculum. Working closely with the PVC-Students and other senior leadership team members, you will lead an enabling service which plays a central role in ensuring that every learner is provided with an outstanding study experience and is maximising student success.

You will head one of the largest units of the University with a collective budget of £33M and 400 staff. The successful individual will maintain the high standards (on all levels) already reached within the existing teams, whilst developing the newly formed Learner and Discovery Services to ensure that the combined elements work together to achieve even more for the University.

You will promote continuous improvement in innovation and in service delivery and ensure that the University is at the forefront of world-leading student experience and support.  Working in consultation and close partnership with the four Faculties and other units, you will be responsible for establishing and developing collaborative relationships with Executive Deans, Nation Directors and other senior stakeholders to ensure all services are customer-focused, sector- leading and deliver on the overall aims and objectives of the University at large.

You should be able demonstrate leadership, strategic management and operational experience gained at a senior level in an area of high relevance to the Learner and Discovery Services remit, gained within higher education library or information services, or in an environment with strong synergies with the Open University’s operation.

You will have been educated to degree level or possess an equivalent qualification in a relevant subject or have equivalent relevant data leadership experience.

Cultural fit is crucial for this role. You should be able to evidence a commitment to the mission and values of the Open University and an understanding of the transformational impact of education.

This is an opportunity to join us at an exciting time as the University enters its 50th year.

For the full job description and candidate specification and details of how to apply contact our advising consultants at GatenbySanderson: Alison Elton 07785 614435 or Laura Charrington 07471 037070.

Closing date for applications: Monday 8 April 2019; Final interviews will be held on Monday 13 May 2019.

We promote diversity in employment and welcome applications from all sections of the community.


Closing dateMonday 8 April 2019
Preliminary interviewsMonday 29 April 2019 - Thursday 2 May 2019
Final panelMonday 13 May 2019
How to Apply

To apply for this role, please submit an up to date copy of your CV, along with a Supporting Statement that addresses the criteria set out in the person specification, using examples to demonstrate how you meet the essential requirements. Please provide your home, work, mobile and email contact details and let us know of any dates when you are not available or where you may have difficulty with the indicative timetable. You should also provide the names, positions, organisations and contact details for two referees, one of whom should be your current or most recent employer. If you do not wish us to approach your referees without your prior permission, please state this clearly.

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an automated email to confirm that you have applied. If you do not receive this email, please make contact with GatenbySanderson.