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Ms Rehana Awan

Profile summary

Professional biography

Rehana joined the OU in September 2008 working as a Regional Coordinator on Openings in the Centre for Widening Participation in East Grinstead. She has held a number of roles including Access Presentation Manager supporting the Senior Manager, Curriculum, Senior Manager in AL Support and Professional Development, Open Programme’s Manager, Communications and Engagement and the first Staff Tutor for Open and Access in 2019. Here she was responsible for the Open Programme, Open Modules ('Open Boxes') and Y031 Arts and Humanities (having also looked after the largest Access module YO32 People, work and society for 2 years). As Academic SST lead for the Open Programme, Rehana represented the Open qualifications during the Periodic Quality Review. She was commended for her ‘breadth and depth of [her] knowledge and experience’.

In June 2022 Rehana joined the School of Computing and Communications in the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths as a Lecturer in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Implementation. Rehana’s key responsibilities include:

  • supporting others with scholarship, engaging in self-directed scholarship and dissemination of scholarship as appropriate
  • developing, planning and updating curriculum to address awarding gaps
  • engaging with Access, Participation and Success, EDI and Decolonizing the University initiatives
  • informing the future direction of teaching, assessment and exams
  • gathering data to inform module development, teaching, staff development including ALs) and research
  • establishing an EDI Community of Practice
  • contributing to the Schools’ academic community

Before joining the OU Rehana worked in a local Further Education College as Head of Teacher Training, and Access to HE. Prior to that she worked in training and management development in the private sector.

Rehana is co-chair of the Black and Minority Ethnic staff network. She recently chaired the first ever event for South Asian Heritage month, was part of the team that set up the Race and Ethnicity Hub, and was Chair of the APS task and finish group for Mental health declarations and Black students, which included a scholarship project, resource development and key recommendations to the University.

Rehana is also an Associate Lecturer, supporting students on DD102 Introducing the Social Sciences and she tutored on Access for 11 years. Rehana has demonstrated her commitment to leading and managing teaching and learning as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and Fellow of the Staff and Educational Development Association (FSEDA). 

As a professional doctoral student, Rehana is researching student narratives and degree awarding gaps at the OU, and she has set up a Community of Practice for other PGRs also investigating awarding gaps. 



Research interests

Rehana is interested in inequalities in education,online teaching and learning, online teacher development and multidisciplinary study.

Teaching interests

Access, Social sciences, and educational development/teaching.

External collaborations

Rehana is External Examiner for the Certificate in Higher Education at Cardiff University, a subject specialist moderator for Open College Network and was External Advisor and Assessor for University of Birmingham and their UKPSF scheme.


How do we talk about race…and mental health? (2021-12-09)
Butcher, John; Awan, Rehana and Gray, Darren
Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 23(3) (pp. 147-162)

Preparing school leavers transitioning to online higher education: a case study (2021-07)
Awan, Rehana and Robson, Linda
In : AdvanceHE Teaching and Learning Conference 2021 (6-8 Jul 2021, Virtual)

Using technology to support team-working skills for effective groups: the development of tools and spaces (2017-11-21)
Awan, Rehana
In : 22nd Annual SEDA Conference Developing Teaching Excellence: Supporting and Developing the Work of Groups and Teams (16-17 Nov 2017, Cardiff, Wales)

Digital development – experiences offering staff development using the student’s online learning environment [Oral presentation] (2014)
Awan, Rehana and Robson, Linda
In : HEA annual teaching and learning conference (2 Jul 2014, Birmingham)

Exploring the highs and lows of developing, organising and running an online conference for the CPD of lecturers (2013)
Awan, Rehana and Robson, Linda
In : 19th Annual SEDA conference (13-14 Nov 2013, Nottingham)

The awarding gap at the Open University (2020-12-21)
Awan, Rehana
OpenLearn Race and Ethnicity Hub