Brenda Gourley


Professor Brenda Gourley is the former Vice Chancellor and President (Chief Executive Officer) of The Open University in the United Kingdom. She occupied that post for nearly eight years and for the nine years previous to that she held the same post at the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. As a former Dean of a Faculty of Economics and Management and a Deputy CEO as well, she has been in university management for over thirty years. She serves on many boards and trusts, both in the public and private sector, and chaired the Association of Commonwealth Universities for two terms of office. She is a frequent speaker across the world – promoting especially the role of Higher Education in promoting social justice and the changing nature of Higher Education in the digital world.

She has been recognised for her achievements by the award of honorary degrees and fellowships of distinguished institutions on four continents. This year she received the UK Public Servant of the Year and Outstanding Achiever of the Year Awards from the UK Women in Public Life organisation.

She is a professional accountant by training and is published in a variety of journals. She is a great champion of the Open Educational Resource movement and ensured that The Open University was the first British university to make a large selection of its educational resources available on the web. It remains an exemplar.

EDUCAUSE Publications

EDUCAUSE Presentations