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Farewell to Jane Horton

JHToday is a sad day for the OCA as we say goodbye to Jane Horton, our Director of Curriculum and Assessment, who is taking early retirement.
In 2008 the Trustees had the foresight to see that the then status quo in Higher Education was unsustainable and fee rises for traditional courses were inevitable. I joined in February 2008, charged with a remit to turn the OCA into an alternative provider of high quality Higher Education. Jane was the first appointment in the new team that was to take this challenge forward. After a degree in Art History at Nottingham University and a post-graduate teaching qualification Jane moved into e-learning with IBM and then with learndirect. But she came to interview with a trump card; she had been an OCA student and she knew what she wanted to change if appointed.
In her time at the OCA Jane has championed the development of new undergraduate degrees, and led the development of the MA in Fine Art (which last year won an award for the best post-graduate teaching team) and chided colleagues, including myself, to move faster to make change. The result is a range of courses transformed beyond recognition.
Jane is a dedicated early adopter of new technology and was always looking to see how this could facilitate change. She embraced the iPad for drawing before David Hockney and in the face of considerable scepticism – I think I joked ‘Well an iPad would be great if it had a hinged protective cover with a keyboard embedded in it.’ The remark doesn’t seem so witty now.
Irrepressibly positive, Jane’s life was not without challenge and in May 2014 when her husband, Martin, was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour, Jane dedicated herself to making the most of their remaining time together. Sadly that time was to be cruelly short and Martin died in February. As Barbara MacDonald, the OCA’s course editor sagely observed ‘When you’ve experienced such a cataclysmic event, it’s not possible to keep running along in the same groove.’
So it is farewell but not adieu, as Jane will be continuing as an OCA student. With the extra time at her disposal, I cannot imagine it will be long before she will be crossing the stage at the Royal Festival Hall to pick up her degree certificate – all time questioning why such a piece of paper is necessary in the age of ubiquitous internet!
Gareth Dent

Posted by author: Genevieve Sioka
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30 thoughts on “Farewell to Jane Horton

  • Jane, you’ve made an incredible difference to so many students.
    It was a huge pleasure to work with you as one of the student reps. I learned a lot from you about how the OCA and distance learning works and how to be an effective student – so I feel you directly contributed to my own recent successful graduation.
    Thanks for all your care and dedication to the whole student body. Yours will be big shoes to fill.
    Best wishes for whatever comes next. Long Blessings.

  • Farewell and good luck in the future Jane, many thanks for all your wise and thoughtful advice especially during assessments! Les x

  • I would like to add my sincerest best wishes for the future Jane, I have loved working with you while student rep, and I just want to add that my experience has been that you have always taken on board feedback about the curriculum and worked tirelessly to progress change for the better of the textiles students. Hopefully we will stay in touch in the future. Very best wishes. Miriam

  • Lovely to work with you Jane, always positive and welcoming and I agree with like Carol, the students will miss your wisdom and advice. Enjoy your deserved retirement.

  • Jane has been wonderful to work with and I admire her enormously. Wishing her well for the future – and I will miss her wisdom and support.

  • Jane, All the best in retirement – I can recommended it. Thank you too for taking the time to meet with me when I visited the OCA offices, and for providing such prompt and detailed feedback. I am sure you will be missed by everyone but we look forward to hearing from you on the forums (fora). All the best.

  • All the very best for the future, Jane; thoroughly enjoyed working with you in those early days of the Student Association. Thanks for your help and support, good luck with your studies and maybe bump into you at graduation!

  • Jane, you’ve been an inspiration to work with and your dedicated energy has helped turn the OCA round. I do hope you can enjoy your new and special time enjoying the things and people you love. You will be utterly missed and remembered with love and thanks.

  • Sorry to see you go Jane. I met you a couple of times on Study Visits (particularly remember the Bauhaus one) and enjoyed your energy and sense of fun. Wishing you a long and fruitful retirement though and great as well that you’ll be continuing as an OCA student.

  • It’s been great wotking with you Jane. Thanks for your support and best wishes for the future.

  • Starting my first OCA course today, I’m very moved by the friendly atmosphere I’m discovering on this website. It gives me a lot of confidence. I studied before in a very unpleasant atmosphere; people could lose a son and the ‘other ones’ only demonstrated their deliberate indifference… and here, there is a difference … I wish you all the best for your new life as an OCA student !

  • Wishing you Jane a full and happy retirement, I too can recommend it. Do whatever makes you happy and content. I did not know about your husband but my sincere condolences and wishing you everything you wish for yourself.

  • Jane always seemed to be a rock of knowledge and understanding.I so appreciated the opportunity she gave me to become involved with the OCA and the good humour she always showed in your communications. I wish I had got to know her better.Let’s hope that life brings her the good things she deserves .

  • As well as knowing Jane ‘from a distance’ as a key figure in my OCA experience, her posting of drawings on her Facebook page always brought a real smile to my face. If it’s now time to move on from the OCA, can I recommend following Jane and her art wherever possible. I’m sure she’ll continue to encourage many of us for many more years yet.

  • So sorry to hear about your Husband Jane. Wishing you well as you find your way forwards and hoping your creative work will bring you some peace.

  • Very sorry to hear that you are leaving, Jane. I will miss your advice, and I hope that you will find some happiness in the future.

  • So sorry to hear this, Jane, but what a beautiful tribute. I had only a moment’s connection with you a year or so back but you seemed to epitomise the OCA for me… Such sincerity and real care!!! I wish we had met…. Very best wishes. Patricia Farrar

  • Jane you should be very proud of the difference you have made to the OCA. The improvements made due to your input have put the OCA on the right track. I was so sorry to hear of your sad loss and that you are leaving. Very best wishes for a happy and healthy retirement.

  • Very best wishes for your future Jane. Your positivity, professionalism and good humour have made it a pleasure to work with you 🙂

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