US Open University Closes!

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by pcguy, Feb 8, 2002.

  1. pcguy

    pcguy New Member

    I was shocked to receive this email:

    United States Open University Announces
    Plan To Cease Operations

    Denver, CO. – The Board of Directors of United States Open University (USOU) today announced that the University would cease operations at the end of the current semester in June 2002.

    “The decision to close follows a difficult period in which student enrollment growth has been slower than anticipated,” stated Chair of the USOU Board of Directors, Carolynn Reid-Wallace. “Our action has become essential once our parent, The Open University (U.K.) determined that the substantial additional funding that would be necessary to achieve stability could not be justified in terms of current market conditions.” Dr. Reid-Wallace said that the USOU has been assured by the OU of the resources necessary to provide for an orderly shut down that would protect the interests of USOU students, faculty and staff.

    Since its establishment in 1998 as an independent U.S.-based institution, the USOU has been funded by The Open University (UK). Brenda Gourley, the newly appointed Vice Chancellor of The Open University (U.K.) and the President of the USOU, said that while the closure of USOU is a setback for the OU’s plans to work in the United States, “we will continue to consider appropriate forms of operation as market conditions improve.” “The investment in the USOU, through the involvement of the staff of the OU in developing our curriculum and systems for a very different environment, has had positive results.” Vice Chancellor Gourley added. “The decision to end our support of the USOU experiment is an economic one dictated by circumstances beyond our control.”

    USOU is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) and has candidacy status for accreditation with the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

    USOU Chancellor, Richard Jarvis said that he and his staff have begun to work through the complexities of closure with all stakeholders. “We will keep our constituent audiences fully informed throughout this process.” Dr. Jarvis added. “The USOU has been a wonderful demonstration of the effectiveness of Supported Open Learning among American learners, I am confident that the combination of outstanding materials, creative use of technology and the intimate involvement of skilled faculty that are the hallmarks of the OU’s Supported Open Learning will have a lasting impact on education in the U.S.”

    Further details will be made available on the University's website at Students can also call the University toll free at 1-800-232-7705 for advice and further information.
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    "Current market conditions." They get it. This is a business, just like for-profit schools. Their revenues weren't high enough, so they lost too much money, so they closed. Probably a wise business decision, but it does not meet the needs of their students, who invested hundreds and/or thousands each to earn a degree from a school that won't be there. Maybe they can transfer to the University of Phoenix, which has a long and successful track record.

    Do you think USOU students in the pipeline will be able to earn UK OU degrees? I doubt it.

    Rich Douglas
  3. DaveHayden

    DaveHayden New Member

    This has already been mentioned in another thread but it is perplexing. OUUK was only 25% short of their stated goal. H-W and UofL have both been very succesful with world wide DL programs. So why couldn't OUUK operate similiarly? They certainly could rewrite the OUUK materials and use them in the US. It would seem with a skeletal US admin staff and adjunct faculty a profit would be easy to eek out. Was USOU about to get a rejection from the RA committee? Was USOU only seen as a profit generating arm and when that looked minimal dumped? US students are strongly discouraged from enrolling in OUUK. Is there a negitive US bias inside of OUUK? Maybe at some point a USOU insider will post here and we will know.

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