The OU wants to cement its position as the UK’s only ‘national’ university, while maximising its international reach by positioning itself as a global online university.
It also wants to secure improved financial support for part-time students as well as ensuring their parity of treatment with full-time providers and students.
Edelman will undertake public affairs and media relations work after winning a six-way pitch for the business. It will target national press and lobby ministers and officials at the new Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.
Alex Bigg, MD of Edelman Public Affairs, will lead the account. He said: ‘This is a crucial time for the university. The way people are learning, not only in the UK but around the world, is changing dramatically as technology advances.
‘We want to ensure that government and the media are aware that the Open University is at the cutting edge of this teaching and learning revolution, as well as a significant economic contributor, in the UK and globally.’
The OU is the only UK university dedicated to distance learning. It has around 150,000 undergraduate and more than 30,000 postgraduate students. About 10,000 of its students have disabilities and more than 25,000 live outside the UK.