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Professor James O’Kane

Professor James F. O’Kane bio


Professor James O’Kane is currently Dean of the Business School at New Beacon. James brings with him a wealth of leadership experience, a passion and a vision to develop and grow the New Beacon Business School into a global School, offering a wide-ranging portfolio of innovative contemporary programmes at different levels, underpinned by high quality research and scholarship.


The new Business School aims to offer unique learning experiences, build local to global partnerships and will help develop the New Beacon brand as an innovative educational provider with a local, national and global reach. The beautiful new Stafford EEP campus in Stafford is a great blueprint for an exciting new Business School.


James has over 30 years’ experience in Higher Education. In his career he has been the Dean and Director of two Business schools and has been an Associate Dean, Reader and Head of Dept. in three other Universities.


Previously the was Director of Edge Hill Business School. During his tenure at Edge Hill University, the Business School achieved some of its highest student experience rankings. In the National Student Survey, Business Studies rose to be top in the UK for Assessment & Feedback and top in England for teaching.


More recently he was the Dean of Edinburgh Napier Business School. The Business School at Napier was one of the largest in the UK with over 9000 students and had one of the largest international/TNE portfolios. At Napier he helped the School to develop and expand its International partnerships, led a restructuring of the School and enabled the School to achieve a Times Higher Leadership & Management award (THELMA) in the Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative category.


Overall James has 18 years leadership experience in Business Schools. Before he joined the Business School sector, he worked for 12 years in an engineering and computing school where he taught and researched in the areas of manufacturing improvement and operational research. Prior to academia he worked in the defence industry where he developed signal processing mathematical models for H.F. radar systems.


James is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Operational Research Society. He is a Professor of Operations Management and his PhD is in Business Modelling and Artificial Intelligence applied to Flexible Manufacturing Systems. His main research interests are business improvement and simulation of manufacturing systems. James is an active researcher and he has examined and supervised many PhD and DBA students both in the UK and abroad.


James has over 20 years’ experience of leading and managing knowledge transfer projects with both SMEs and larger organisations and in a previous Associate Dean role at Staffordshire University he had responsibility for a very successful corporate centre that partnered with a wide range of public and private sector clients. James has over 15 years International partnership leadership experience. In his career he has led and developed partnership activity in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, India, Vietnam, Oman and Malaysia. As a teacher, he has taught in France, Greece, Germany and Russia.


In the last three years James has acted as an international reviewer for the National Centre for Academic Accreditation and Evaluation (NCAAA), Saudi Arabia, for programme and institutional accreditation.


Professor James O’Kane