New OCA Principal

We are delighted to announce on behalf of the Board of Trustees, that Will Woods has been appointed the new Principal & Chief Executive Officer for Open College of the Arts.

Will is currently Head of Strategic Planning and Policy at the Open University where he has worked for over 20 years in a variety of positions. Will is passionate about social mobility and distance education and he has a background in arts. He has led many innovation projects for the OU involving creative arts and pioneered the use of computers in arts foundation degree courses in the 1990’s which were the first of their type to provide, at scale, arts students with arts based internet related activities as part of their studies.

Throughout the interview process Will impressed Head Office staff, Programme Leaders and Trustees. He commented ‘I feel excited and honoured to be joining this organisation with such a powerful social mission to increase access to arts education through distance learning, which is something I am equally passionate about. I am looking forward to getting started and building on the success of my predecessor.’

Will will take up his position as Designate Principal on the 18 September which will allow a two week hand over period before Gareth Dent retires at the end of September.

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10 comments for “New OCA Principal

  1. 14 July 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Good luck Will – Gareth has done a brilliant job getting OCA to where it is today, I was studying throughout his time there – big shoes to fill…

  2. 15 July 2017 at 10:02 am

    Congratulations to Will and welcome. You are inheriting a great team (and a whole load of us troublesome students!). And thank you Gareth for all your amazing work.

  3. 15 July 2017 at 11:17 am

    I can only echo the comments regarding Gareth. I look forward to meeting the new boss… Congratulations on your appointment and I’m delighted to read the statement acknowledging the ‘powerful social mission’ of the OCA.

  4. Steve Cussons
    15 July 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Congratulation to Will – he has a tough act to follow!

  5. Christian Lloyd
    16 July 2017 at 11:29 am

    Congratulations Will. I am heartened by your commitment and enthusiasm to carry on Gareth’s, and OCA’s, excellent work supporting the provision for an accessible, engaging and rich arts education. I look forward to working with you in doing more of the same.

  6. 16 July 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Gareth is going to be a hard act to follow, but this looks to be very good news for us and Congratulations to Will. Looking forward to meeting him in the future.

  7. Gareth
    17 July 2017 at 10:13 am

    Thank you for the kind comments. I am delighted to be handing over to Will, indeed probably one of the things I am most proud about in my time at the OCA is that we have got the organisation to a place where we can attract such a well qualified candidate.

  8. 17 July 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Congratulations Will, the pick of a very strong set of candidates I heard. Good luck with the road ahead.

  9. Teresa Lanham
    20 July 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Good luck Will and like others have already said you do have a very hard act to follow but we’re in a good place thanks to Gareth. I very much look forward to meeting you soon as a student and as part of OCASA. Great news !

  10. beth dawson
    24 July 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Very pleased to welcome you to our team Will!

    We’ll miss you Gareth but as with all things OCA, distance need not be a problem!

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