James O'Kane

Edge Hill University’s new Business Leader says that students and organisations will be more involved in reshaping degree programmes as part of an ambitious set of proposals to grow the Business School.

Professor of Operations Management James O’Kane is the new Director of the University’s Business School. With more than 25 years in Higher Education he has a wealth of experience in leadership and management to steer forward its plans for the future.

“Students are at the heart of everything that we do and it’s important that we get it right,” said James. “I’m keen to ensure that students have a say in the way we shape the curriculum and I also want to build up student enterprise to allow them to develop as entrepreneurs, which will help with their future careers.”

Already he has also identified that some additional staff will be appointed over the coming months to enhance teaching, learning and research. This will include a new Professor to increase the research profile of the University even further.

He said: “We have also reviewed and revalidated most of our programmes in Business and Management, Accountancy, Marketing, Tourism and International Business to ensure we’re meeting the current demands. As a result, we have plans for many new awards to add to our portfolio, particularly a new online MBA and a new Digital Marketing degree to meet the needs of regional, national and international markets.”

A Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Operational Research Society, James’ main research interests are business improvement and simulation of manufacturing systems.

Before joining Edge Hill, James was Associate Dean for Scholarship, Enterprise and Research in the Faculty of Business, Education and Law at Staffordshire University. He also spent 12 years in an engineering and computing school and 8 years in another business school.  Prior to academia he worked in the Defence industry where he developed signal processing mathematical models for radar systems.

Married father-of-two James said: “I was attracted to Edge Hill University because of its fantastic reputation, its rapid climb up the league tables and the investment it has made in its facilities. The campus has that wow factor and it’s a great environment to work in.

“Over the coming months I want to build on student recruitment levels and enhance our student experience and research portfolio. Our international partnership portfolio has grown in recent years, particularly with partners in Singapore and China, and we partner with institutions in the USA, Korea and Mexico as part of our study abroad programme. This is also something I want to develop even further. The Business School is ripe for change and I’m excited to be a part of its future growth.”