Meet the team

Centre for Academic Partnerships (CAP)

debra hinds

Debra Hinds

Pro Vice Chancellor Partnerships


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Debra Hinds joined Arden University in May 2021. As Pro Vice Chancellor International, she heads up the Centre for Academic Partnerships and is responsible for further internationalising Arden University.

Prior to joining Arden, Debra spent 16 years as a leading academic, initially leading a law faculty delivering franchised and validated programmes before becoming key lead in law for BPP University’s seven partner centres in four different countries. After this she spent two years scoping and building new international and UK based academic partners for a public university including the due diligence, rationale, and approvals through to onboarding new partners. 

Prior to working in partnerships having gained a first in her LLB, awarded the best company law student in her year, and a commendation in the Legal Practice Course, Debra worked in legal practice. She subsequently became a law lecturer and Academic Leader in law, with specialist subjects including the English Legal System, Company Law, and EU Law, and continues to teach EU law some 23 years later.

In addition to law, Debra studied and graduated with an MBA in 2015, which enabled her to move from a leading role in academia to one in international partnership business development.

Debra enjoys the can do, will do approach of Arden University’s teams and the Arden vision of making education accessible to students wherever they are. 

Kavita Cassidy

Kavita Cassidy

Director of the Centre for Academic Partnerships



Kavita Cassidy joined Arden in November 2019 with the primary aim to secure a UKVI Licence to enable the University to recruit international students to the UK. Having achieved this she became the Director of International. In January 2024 she became the Director of the Centre for Academic Partnerships (CAP).

Prior to her time at Arden, Kavita qualified as a solicitor practising immigration law. It was her knowledge of immigration that first found her working in Higher Education as an International Student Advisor at Coventry University. She developed her skills as an International HE specialist during her 11 years there, where she led student support, admissions and conversion teams, becoming Co-Director by 2017.


Ruth Kailla

Head of Partnerships Operations and Development



Ruth Kailla joined Arden University in August 2023 as the Head of Partnerships Operations and Development. Ruth has over thirteen years' experience working in the further and higher education sector in business development, recruitment, academic registry, quality assurance and standards and student support roles. 

Ruth understands the benefits and challenges of establishing and maintaining diverse partnerships, taking into consideration various contexts and developing the resources and processes needed to support all stages of a partnership lifecycle. Ruth’s role focuses on long term objectives and goals as well as the daily interconnections to ensure focused, relevant support is provided to existing partners whilst finding and developing expansion opportunities.

Maoge Hou

Maoge Hou

Mandarin Speaking Partnerships Development Manager



Maoge is the newest addition to the Centre for Academic Partnerships and will be looking after the university’s partner institutions in China and southeast Asian countries.

Prior to joining Arden, Maoge spent over a decade working in cross-cultural communication roles in the translation and localisation industry and most recently in the education sector in areas including international student support, admissions, and recruitment. Drawing on his cross-disciplinary experience, Maoge looks forward to bringing prospective partnerships to fruition.

Carys Boland

Carys Boland

International Partnerships Account Manager

(on Parental Leave)


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Carys joined Arden University in January 2021 as an Account Manager for our International Academic Partnerships.

Prior to joining Arden University, Carys spent over a decade developing and managing International Academic Partnerships at Coventry University, so has extensive knowledge and experience in this area: from quality assurance to business development and contractual set ups.

Carys has a strong background in the education field and previously worked for the New Zealand government in Wellington, at the Ministry of Education.

Carys is passionate about her work and believes education should be available to every individual around the world.

jo watson

Jo Watson

Account Manager - Centre for Academic Partnerships



Jo Watson joined Arden University in September 2021 as Administrator of the Centre for Academic Partnerships (CAP).

Prior to joining Arden University, Jo spent the last 28 years working at The Open University as a Programme Coordinator in The Open University Business School and Law School. Jo has a wealth of experience in the HE sector and works hard to enhance the student journey.

Jo is committed to Arden’s mission statement which is to ‘remove the barriers to higher education, inspire new ways to learn, and enrich people and their lives’, and strongly believes that education should be accessible to all.