Hazel Rymer

Pro Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching Innovation), The Open University of UK. Executive Committee member 2018 - 2021. 

I am currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching Innovation) of the Open University – a university with over 170,000 students across the UK and internationally. Prior to this I was Dean and Director of Studies, Faculty of Science – a faculty which teaches over 20,000 students. I have held a senior leadership position since 2003, when I entered Academic Management as the faculty’s Associate Dean. In my recent roles, I have successfully introduced policy changes and delivered academic leadership in teaching and learning, quality assurance and enhancement and widening participation. These policy and management roles have been undertaken alongside my teaching and research. Retaining academic ‘currency’ alongside the policy roles is important in my view.

I have considerable committee and advisory experience, including six years on the Council of the Geological Society, three of which as an Officer. I have also contributed to various Royal Society committees.

The early parts of my career were research focused, with ten years as a Royal Society University Research Fellow during which time I held visiting professorships at universities in Mexico, Costa Rica and Italy, undertaking both teaching and research. I have over thirty years’ teaching experience, supporting and teaching non-traditional, part-time students, using both face-to-face and distance learning methods. Currently, I am on the module team for an Earth Processes course, directly authoring online, and interacting with and supporting students.

Short vision statement:
Higher Education has always been in a state of change and the pace is increasing. The opportunities afforded by on-line study, for analytics that drive student support and even curriculum in real time are enormous. There is at the same time a need to take stock of good and not so good practice and to learn from each other. The role of ICDE is to enable this learning and to add value by disseminating examples of good practice. Global inequalities are real and we can go some way to mitigating them through education and here ICDE has a role to play through linking governmental and institutional strategies to the benefit of students wherever they are and however they choose to study. The science, engineering & computer science curriculum are areas where I would particularly encourage ICDE to focus. These are subjects we need a greater degree of literacy in, yet they are not always taught through open and distance education methods very well. With faster bandwidths reaching much of the world now, there are new opportunities for students to carry out real time practical and collaborative work. As a member of the executive committee, I would work to enable greater access to online STEM subjects globally.