Senior Management Group

A number of Heads of Schools, Heads of Professional Services are responsible for the management and operation of the University College. Find out more about the group below.

Senior Management Group

AECC University College has a number of management groups.

The Senior Management Group at AECC University College advises the Principal on matters relating to policy and together develop and monitor AECC University College strategic and operational plans and targets. They meet once a month to consider and make recommendations on membership, institutional projects and initiatives, risks and capital expenditure.


Senior Management Group 

The AECC University College Senior Management group consists of: The Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Heads of Schools, Academic Registrar, Clinical Director, Chiropractic Clinical Lead, Head of Teaching and Learning, Head of Practice Learning and Heads of Professional Services. Please find out more about the members of the group below.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Lesley Haig

Professor Lesley Haig is Vice-Chancellor of AECC University College. As Chief Executive Officer, Lesley works in close consultation with the Board of Governors and Senior Members of University College staff, and with a wide range of internal and external constituencies to provide the personal and professional leadership to develop the institution in accordance with the strategy, directions and guidelines set by the Board. Read Lesley's full bio.

Deputy VC Kevin McGhee looking into the camera with green bushes behind

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Kevin McGhee

Professor Kevin McGhee is Deputy Vice-Chancellor of AECC University College.  In his role Kevin is responsible for the academic delivery and quality of undergraduate and postgraduate courses delivered by the AECC University College. Working in close collaboration with the Vice-Chancellor and academic members of University College staff, Kevin also works with a breadth of internal and external colleagues and partners, contributing to the Unversity College's strategic development and growth as a specialist institute in health sciences.

Professor McGhee is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics and British Society for Genetic Medicine. His research interests include Psychiatric Genetic counselling. He is also the UK Management Committee representative for an EU COST Action in the same field.  Read Kevin's full bio.

Head of AECC School of Chiropractic
Philip Dewhurst

Philip Dewhurst is the Head of the School of Chiropractic and graduated from the AECC University College as a chiropractor in 2005. Read Phil's full bio

Head of School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Professor Stewart Cotterill 

Professor Stewart Cotterill is Head of School of Psychology, Sport and Physical Activity at AECC, and a Professor of Sport and Performance Psychology. Read Stewart's full bio

Dr Neil Langridge

Director of Clinical & Rehabilitation Services
Dr. Neil Langridge

Neil is the Director of Clinical & Rehabilitation Services at AECC University College, and is responsible for the leadership, management and transformation of clinical services at the University College.

He is a Fellow of the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MACP) and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). Neil spent 27 years in the NHS and 10 of those at Consultant Physiotherapist level leading Musculoskeletal services across Hampshire. Neil has published widely as well as led a number of HEE projects in the field of multi-disciplinary musculoskeletal practice.

Steve Thomas standing outside AECC campus

Academic Registrar & University Secretary
Steven Thomas

Steven is the University College’s Academic Registrar and University Secretary. As Academic Registrar, he is responsible for leading the Registry team and the strategic development and operational delivery of student and academic administration. The covers the full student lifecycle from application to enrolment, graduation and beyond, and the services his team provides are fundamental to our educational and student experience. He is also responsible for overseeing academic governance and its committees, quality assurance, and student-facing regulations, policies and procedures.

As University Secretary, Steven is responsible for the effective corporate governance of the University, working with the Board of Governors and the University’s Executive to ensure that our governance frameworks comply with the regulatory conditions required by the Office for Students as well as the standards of public office.

Steven joined AECC University College in January 2022, having been involved in higher education for almost twenty years. Prior to joining the University College, Steven was Head of Academic Registry at Birmingham City University. Steven is passionate about the student journey, and the power of systems and data to achieve best practice and innovation, unleashing the potential of our teams to deliver excellent standards of service to our students.

Claire Nadaf (Head of Academic Enterprise and Engagement)

Head of Academic Enterprise and Engagement
Claire Nadaf

Claire is head of Academic Enterprise and Engagement at AECC University College. Her role involves driving the identification, development and management of innovative and profitable enterprise opportunities. Her focus is on developing and nurturing stakeholder engagement, alongside the development of new partnerships and enterprising activities.

Claire is a nurse academic with 10+ years’ experience within the field of Knowledge Exchange, initially at London South Bank University and more recently at Bournemouth University. Claire is passionate about meaningful stakeholder engagement and developing solutions for workforce development that meet the evolving needs of the health and social care sector. She has considerable experience in business development, contract management, curriculum development and the development of apprenticeships.

Photo of Gary Francis smiling

Head of Practice Related Learning
Gary Francis

Gary Francis is Head of Practice Related Learning at AECC University College. Gary will lead on identifying and optimising traditional clinical placements, simulated practice learning opportunities and simulation-based education. Gary also manages the technical staff that provide support to and manage the specialist clinical academic environment. Using his experience, Gary works with the senior management team, academics and estates, and facilities to create innovative and relevant specialist spaces.

Gary is a nurse by profession and was an Associate Professor and Lead for Clinical Skills and Simulation across the HSC schools at LSBU in his previous role.

Karen Thurlow (Head of Marketing & Comms)

Head of Marketing and Communications
Karen Thurlow

Karen is the Head of Marketing at AECC University College and is responsible for leading and implementing the marketing and communications strategy and plans. Karen manages the communications team, and leads on digital, events, schools, design and print and press relations. Prior to joining the University College, Karen was Head of Marketing at Arts University Bournemouth.

Head of IT
Steve Goode

Steve joined AECC University College in 2003 and has been involved in the many exciting developments and transformations the institution has been through during this time. Steve has led the IT team through numerous projects and infrastructure refreshes to ensure the IT team and facilities are able to support the institution as it continues to grow and develop. 

Rebecca Old

Head of People and Development
Rebecca Old

Rebecca is Head of People & Development at AECC University College with responsibilities that include providing effective and comprehensive HR and organisational development services, as well as managing the HR team and leading on the People Plan to ensure the right resources are in place both now, and in the future.  Having worked in both private, not for profit and charity sectors in a wide range of industries, Rebecca brings an in-depth knowledge of working in fast-paced changing environments. 

Image of Julie Northam

Head of Research
Julie Northam

Dr Julie Northam is Head of Research at AECC University College. In this role, Julie is responsible for providing strategic leadership and operational management for research across the University College. Julie joined AECC University College in September 2023, having worked in higher education since 2003. Initially, she worked at Southampton Solent University and moved to Bournemouth University in 2004. Most recently, Julie led the central research support office at Bournemouth University for 12 years. She is a member of the UK Panel for the HR Excellence in Research Award.

Head of Estates and Facilities
Steve Cox

Steve is Head of Estates and Facilities at AECC University College and is responsible for the management and operation of the University’s property and facilities. This encompasses activities such as maintenance, buildings compliance, security, cleaning, project delivery, catering, and health and safety.

Steve is chair of the Health and Safety Committee, The Projects, Infrastructure and Estates Group and the Sustainability Group. Steve is a chartered surveyor by profession (RICS) and was previously Head of Estates Development at Bournemouth University where he oversaw the successful delivery of a circa £200m capital investment programme.

Data Protection Officer
Daniel Heritage

Daniel is the University College's Data Protection Officer and supports the Senior Management Group in ensuring that it meets all Data Protection obligation.

Daniel is also our lead Chiropractic Clinician responsible for the delivery of excellent patient care within our chiropractic service and ensures the safety of its patients, clinicians and students. He is committed to developing the chiropractic team, providing clinical leadership and operational management and ensuring students develop as practitioners, providing best care for their patients. Read Daniel's full bio

Lisa Bates

Head of Student Services and Wellbeing
Lisa Bates

Lisa Bates is Head of Student Services and Wellbeing at AECC University College. Lisa is responsible for overseeing our Student Services which include wellbeing support, financial advice, study skills and disability support and will work closely with students to continue to develop our services.

Lisa previously worked at the University College for four years as our Access and Participation Manager working to widen access for underrepresented groups, support all students to reach their potential and progress on to their chosen career. Lisa hopes to continue to work on initiatives to remove barriers for underrepresented groups of students in her new role.