Our dedicated academic staff are all passionate about their subjects.

They play a pivotal role in helping to formulate and shape their courses, ensuring they are packed full of the latest theory and practical topics. You can find out more about our head of departments below.

Senior academic staff

David graduated in 1979 with a 2:1 in Analytical & Descriptive Economics, and then went on to complete his Postgraduate Certificate in Education in 1987. He has 34 years' experience in further and higher education, and was recruited by Kaplan in 2007 as part of a small team to create Kaplan Open Learning. David has now been programme leader and Academic Director for over 15 years. He's a committed egalitarian and secularist, and believes that education is key to promoting social and economic welfare. He has a long-standing commitment to 'life-long learning' and widening access to education.

Andrea is the Head of Health programmes at the University of Essex Online, having joined the team in June 2020, and oversees all programmes that are offered at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. She graduated with a PhD in Healthcare Management in 2010. Since then, Andrea's held managerial and educational roles in the NHS, and worked within higher education for the last 12 years. She's also conducted primary research in several areas - including patient experience, leadership, service management and health education. Andrea also holds teaching qualifications in higher education and more specifically, e-learning. She's led on the development and launch of several undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications, and overarching quality assurance of these together with student experience.

Kristina joined the University of Essex Online as Head of Education in 2023. Prior to this, she held managerial and teaching positions within social science departments across various institutions. In these roles, she led the development of various programmes and modules, including assessments and marking criteria, and initiated working groups which aimed to improve teaching and learning practices. Kristina also holds a Doctor of Philosophy, an MA in Research Methods and a BA (Hons) in Sociology. Her commitment to academic excellence is further demonstrated by completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP), accredited by the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Lisa is our Head of Psychology. She's worked in academia for a number of years, with a variety of teaching and research roles, and has a lot of experience in the creation and management of programmes for face-to-face and online learning. Lisa is a chartered member of the British Psychological Society and is particularly interested in developmental and health psychology, having recently completed a Professional Doctorate investigating the development of body image in preadolescent children. She's currently studying part-time for a Health Psychology Masters, so fully understands the challenges of combining study, work and family commitments.

Sharon has been our Head of Computing since March 2023, and oversees all undergraduate and postgraduate computing courses. Her academic background is wide-ranging; she gained a PhD in Computer Science in 2014, and over the last 20 years achieved several computer science teaching and managing qualifications from her positions in secondary and higher education institutions. While in these roles, she also led the development of postgraduate degree programmes in digital technology, AI and data science. Sharon is also a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and her research interests include the role of affective computing in improving learner outcomes in computer science education.

Professor Janey Henderson is our Deputy Academic Director and is passionate about the student learning experience. She joined the Essex Online team in 2019, bringing with her more than 20 years' experience holding senior strategic academic leadership positions across several universities. Janey has served on several key national committees an dis the current Chair of Heads of University of Biosciences. She's a Chartered Biologist, Chartered Science Teacher and External Examiner. She has also supervised 16 doctoral research degree students to successful completion. Janey has won a Vice Chancellor's University Teaching Excellence Award for innovative teaching and assessment methods, providing an enhanced student learning experience. She has also been recognised as a Principal Fellow of Advance HE, further demonstrating her commitment to excellent learning and teaching.

Steve joined University of Essex Online as Head of Business in May 2020. His academic background is wide-ranging - from teaching and managing BSc degree programmes to the management of disasters, as well as business continuity and an MSc in environmental technology. Additionally, Steve has experience in creating and managing university postgraduate programmes in enterprise, entrepreneurship, project management and Foundation Year Engineering. Until recently, he was been a member of the Foundation Year Network. His teaching career spans 25 years, teaching in both the UK and abroad, and his research interest lies in the pathologies of decision making.