Will David Willetts become the next OU vice-chancellor?

Just under a week ago Martin Bean, the current OU vice-chancellor, announced that he was going to step down from his £407,000 post at the end of this year to return to Australia.

Today David Willetts, the universities minister, has decided to step down from the cabinet with immediate effect and will leave the commons at the next election.

Perhaps the vice-chancellorship of the OU would be a good retirement job for him? It would certainly offer him a significant pay-rise. But if it were to happen, I do wonder how it might be perceived by staff, alumni and students. After all, despite being in favour of restoring Labour’s savage cuts to ELQ funding while in opposition, he failed to do very much about it when in a position of power until it became obvious that part-time, mature students were no longer investing in updating their skills. It’s also arguable that the OU, which used to rely to a large extent on ELQ students and teaching for its income rather than loan-attracting first-timers and research, has suffered more than most under the changes that he has presided over.

Anyway, I suspect that this is most likely a QTWTAIN. But, if in a few months time, David Willetts is appointed as the next OU VC, remember where you read the speculation first!

Update (16/07/2014) – As Mr Willetts is the current MP for Havant, perhaps the vacancy that’s just arisen at Southampton University may be more appealing?

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