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 almost 15 years. He is 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. Andrea has continued to work within higher education for the last 12 years holding a number of roles across the UK. She has conducted primary research in several areas including patient experience, leadership, service management and health education. Andrea also holds teaching qualifications in higher education and e-learning more specifically. She has led on the development and launch of undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications and overarching quality assurance of these together with student experience. She also has experience within the NHS and has held various roles, both managerial and educational.

Dr Desma Brown is Head of Education at the University of Essex online. Desma is an experienced Higher Education professional and has teaching experience on undergraduate and post-graduate programmes, where she played a key role in supervising numerous students from the initial stages of development of their research proposals through to the successful completion of their dissertations.    She was formerly a visiting lecturer at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln and a programme director for a BEd teacher training programme and an MEd programme at Bradford College University Centre. Desma’s research interest is in sociolinguistics and she has an MEd and EdD in Applied Linguistics from the Open University. Desma recently co-wrote and edited a book on educational research methods which was published in April 2019.

Lisa works as the Head of Psychology for the University of Essex Online. She has 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 is currently studying part time for a Health Psychology Masters, so fully understands the challenges of combining study, work and family commitments.

Nkaepe has a BEng (Hons) in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and a PhD in Optoelectronics, both from the University of Leeds. She joined University of Essex Online in 2019 to head up the new Computing department, having previously worked at Durham University as a Teaching Fellow in Physics. She has several years of teaching experience in higher education which includes curriculum development, as well as face-to-face and online delivery. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), and a Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (MACM) and the Association of Cyber Security and Threat Investigators. She is a regularly invited reviewer for various publications and conferences. Her research interests lie in pedagogy in STEM, security regulations, network security and software engineering.

Rhonda is a qualified Solicitor with over 25 years’ experience teaching law, specialising in corporate subjects e.g. Business, Contract, Employment Law and Company Law. Before joining University of Essex Online, Rhonda worked at Birmingham City University (BCU) as Associate Course Director managing their Legal Practice Course and LLB (Hons) course. At BCU she also led on a partnership with the local CAB organisations. Rhonda also worked as an award leader at Staffordshire University on the Two Year fast track degree, and later on the Apprenticeship Programme. She has also run her own business as a training provider. As a certified PhD supervisor, Rhonda regularly reviews research proposals. Rhonda is also a Senior Fellow of AdvanceHE.

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, including business continuity and an MSc course in environmental technology. Additionally, Steve has experience of creating and managing university postgraduate programmes in enterprise, entrepreneurship, project management and Foundation Year Engineering. Until recently, he has 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.