Martin G. Bean

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Martin G. Bean
Vice-Chancellor and President of the
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
Assumed office
February 2015
Preceded by Margaret Gardner
Personal details
Born 26 October 1964 (1964-10-26) (age 52)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Alma mater University of Technology, Sydney (B.Ed)
University of London (LL.D)
Profession Education management

Martin George Bean CBE (born 26 October 1964) is an Australian education administrator and the current Vice-Chancellor of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Victoria, Australia (since 2015). He was previously Vice-Chancellor of the Open University (2009 to 2015)—the largest university in the United Kingdom.[1]

Education and early career[edit]

Born in Melbourne, Australia on 26 October 1964, Bean has a bachelor's degree in adult education from the University of Technology, Sydney.[2][3] As a student, he served as president of AIESEC—the largest student run organization in the world.[4] Bean worked at companies including Novell, Sylvan Learning, Thomson Learning and New Horizons Computer Learning Centres before joining Microsoft, where he became general manager responsible for product management, marketing and business development in the Worldwide Education Products Group.[1] He is married with three daughters.

University career[edit]

Bean's appointment as vice-chancellor of the Open University was the first time a non-academic had been chosen to head the university.[5] His has stated his aim has been to use technology in order to provide an education to anyone at low or no cost.[2][6] This includes the university's iTunes U downloads, which had received more than 64 million downloads by October 2013.[7]

In December 2012, Bean launched FutureLearn, an online initiative supporting a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform, led by The Open University in partnership with 11 other UK universities.[8] Since its launch, FutureLearn has partnered with 15 other universities in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the British Library, British Council and British Museum.[9][10] FutureLearn offers free virtual lectures that are supplemented by digital learning tools.[11]

In 2013, Bean oversaw the release of OU Anywhere, an app which allows students to access nearly all OU undergraduate course materials using smartphones and tablets.[12] Bean also oversaw the launch of the Teacher Education through the school-based support in India project (TESS-India), a program in collaboration with the Indian government to bring distance learning teacher education resources to educators in India.[13]

Under a program of reforms spearheaded by Bean, the Open University has dismantled its presence in mainland Europe, making over 100 tutors redundant. This drew criticism from University and College Union, who claimed this would have a negative effect on OU students based outside the UK.[14] The University has maintained that the move will bring support for overseas students into line with that offered to their UK-based counterparts while also making financial savings made necessary by the UK government’s 2012 changes to higher education funding.[15][16]

Martin Bean has also attracted media attention for currently being one of the highest paid vice-chancellors in Britain at a time of public "austerity" measures, when the British government has withdrawn most of its funding for the Open University.[17]

Bean's last controversial move was the announcement by the vice-chancellor's executive that the Open University's south-east regional centre in East Grinstead is to be closed, and that the status of the other English regional offices is to be "reviewed". In a letter to The Guardian, Open University staff claim that overall, some 700 jobs could be at risk, almost a fifth of the OU's full-time workforce.[18]

On 10 July 2014 he was appointed Vice-Chancellor and President of RMIT University, and took up the appointment in February 2015.[19]

He was appointed CBE in the 2015 New Year Honours.

Board positions[edit]

Bean is on the Board of Trustees of the British Council, the Board of the Commonwealth of Learning and the British Museum’s Digital Advisory Group.[20] In addition, he has served as a member of the Work Force Training and Education Coordinating Board and the National Board of Directors of Jobs for America’s Graduates as well as advising the US Senate on the importance of IT in the Workforce Investment Act.[21] He was also part of U.S. Department of Labor delegations to the US/EU Seminar on Local Employment Development, and to the Economic and Employment Development Seminar in Hanoi, Vietnam.[22]


  1. ^ a b Open Market: Martin Bean is looking to use IT know-how gained at Microsoft to ensure the continued success of The Open UniversityTimes Higher Education
  2. ^ a b Elmes, John (2013-10-03). "Q&A with Martin Bean | People". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  3. ^ "Martin Bean | Vice Chancellor | The Open University | Higher Education Members". NCUB. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  4. ^ "Belgium AIESEC Alumni Newsletter". Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  5. ^ Jobs. "Open University sets sights on transforming UK workforce". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  6. ^ Christina Slade (July 20, 2011). "Open University taps into tech appeal". The Australian. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  7. ^ Lal Tawney (2013-10-25). "Adapt to online learning or become obsolete". University World News. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  8. ^ Claire Shaw (2012-12-20). "FutureLearn is UK's chance to 'fight back', says OU vice-chancellor | Higher Education Network | Guardian Professional". Guardian. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  9. ^ "Δωρεάν μαθήματα μέσω διαδικτύου από βρετανικά πανεπιστήμια". Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  10. ^ "FutureLearn offers first online course". Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  11. ^ "Open University To Go Global With Online Courses". 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  12. ^ Kunakornpaiboonsiri, Thanya (2013-01-30). "UK University launches app for distant learning | Articles | FutureGov - Transforming Government | Education | Healthcare". Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  13. ^ "UK and Indian partners agree more than 30 new education and research deals, after PM takes biggest ever education delegation to India - BIS". 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  14. ^ UCU abhors OU treatment of tutors in CEUCU
  15. ^ Changes to Employment Arrangements in Continental EuropeOpen University
  16. ^ "Why it’s no time to be complacent about the UK’s inflation problem | City A.M". City A.M. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  17. ^ Chakrabortty, Aditya. "Meet the new breed of fat cat: the university vice-chancellor". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  18. ^ "Open university review threatens learning: Letters". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  19. ^ Media Release "RMIT announces appointment of new VC" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  20. ^ "Martin Bean - Vice Chancellor, The Open University". British Council. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  21. ^ "Vice-Chancellor of The Open University speaks at Breakfast Briefing". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  22. ^ CareerOpen University

External links[edit]