Meet the Team
Arden University’s Psychology degrees are taught by an experienced team of lecturers who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their respective subject areas. Here to ensure that you gain the skills and expertise needed by today’s employers, this team of enthusiastic, passionate lecturers have helped to shape and design each module, alongside industry-leading professionals.
Whether you’re starting an undergraduate degree in Psychology or you’re looking to start your career as a Psychologist with a Masters’ qualification, Arden’s School of Psychology will help you make an immediate and real impact in any career path you choose. Whatever degree you’re studying, our lecturers aim to deliver high-value programmes that provide students with the skills employers are looking for.
You can meet the team behind your degree below.
Dr. Gail Steptoe-Warren
Head of School
Before enrolling on your MSc Psychology Conversion (BPS) course, it’s nice to get to know the faces of who you’ll be learning from. The School of Psychology is headed up by Dr Gail Steptoe-Warren, along with a team of multi-disciplinary lecturers, bringing a wealth of academic and practitioner experience with them. Their use of an evidence-based approach to learning provides you with the opportunity to develop skills in psychology that can be applied across multiple career paths.
Dr Gail Steptoe-Warren is the Head of School for Psychology and is a Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society, a Full Member of the Division of Occupational Psychology, and a registered occupational psychologist with the Health Care Professions Council. Gail has worked within the HEI sector for over 16 years, having achieved Senior Fellow status of the HEA, as well as worked in a consultancy capacity within the public, private, voluntary, and charitable sectors.
Gail has close links with the British Psychological Society as the chief supervisor and registrar for the Qualification in Occupational Psychology, as well as being the chair for the Supervisor Training Working Group. Gail has authored several publications including books and journal articles, from occupational psychology to forensic psychology. She has won awards for her research contributions including the Fire Service Research Award and the Psychometrics Forum Award and was shortlisted for Occupational Psychology Practitioner of the Year Award 2018.
Dr. Sophie Ward
Deputy Head of School Psychology
Dr Sophie Ward is the Deputy Head of School for Psychology at Arden University and acting Programme Lead for the MSc Psychology conversion course. Sophie is a Chartered Psychologist and has been working in Higher Education for over 8 years, both in professional services and academia. Her main area of interest is Occupational Psychology, with her most recent research exploring the sources of and reactions to work frustration, testing multiple models using mixed methodology.
Sophie is also a qualified test user (ability and personality) and mental health first aider, who continues to work with public sector organisations such as the Fire and Rescue Service and National Health Service. Sophie has worked closely with West Midland’s Fire Service as a data analyst, researcher, educator, and on a project aimed to assess operational preparedness on incident ground. The latter was published in an Edited book "Applying Occupational Psychology to the Fire Service: Emotion, Risk and Decision Making" and was awarded the Psychometrics Forum Excellence in Psychometrics Award 2016. Sophie is currently assisting on research assessing service user experience of online therapy within the National Health Service and supporting the public sector through voluntary work with the British Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance.
Dr Anthony Thompson
Programme Leader - Postgraduate
Anthony’s areas of interest include occupational psychology, health psychology and co-creation. Anthony’s PhD explored solutions to sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity in workplace settings. Anthony also has a keen interest in personality and intelligence research, is a qualified psychometrician and has been a recipient of the Psychometrics Forum’s Excellence in Psychometrics Award. Alongside academic research, Anthony has also worked as an independent business psychology consultant helping organisations to develop evidence-based recruitment and selection practices. Passionate about making psychology more accessible, Anthony has written and contributed to books, blogs and magazines within the field of occupational psychology, with his research being featured in publications such as Forbes.
Lucy Anacleto is a senior lecturer in the School of Psychology and leads the Cross-Cultural Psychology A level 6 module, as well as the Introduction to Studying Psychology, which is one of the first modules that students complete on their psychology degrees. She is particularly passionate about ensuring that students develop a good set of study skills to help them during their course and succeed after graduation. Lucy also supervises undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations.
Lucy has been teaching psychology for five years and as an early stage researcher has an interest in child and adolescent mental health, especially anxiety. She is also training to be a relational integrative psychotherapist and would like to expand her research area to incorporate psychotherapy as well.
Dr Konstantinos Arfanis
Dr Konstantinos Arfanis is a social psychologist who completed his PhD in Lancaster University. His thesis was entitled “Changing Men: The impact of training 'soft skills' on employees, the working environment and relationships” and was supported by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Collaborative Award in Science and Engineering (CASE) award. His specialist interests lie in identity, emotions, work-life balance, patient safety, online misinformation, and gender and masculinity. He has worked for the NHS as a research fellow in the area of patient safety and ran his own life coaching business between 2014 and 2020, serving clients throughout the Northwest of England. Areas in which he worked with clients include goal setting, personal growth and development, career and the workplace, building confidence, motivation, self-esteem and self-assurance, positive action and determination, stress management, time management, and work life balance.
Dr. James Au-Yeung
Since 2010, Dr James Au-Yeung has been a psychology lecturer at Arden University. His academic background is rooted in cognitive science, with degrees in computer science, language and linguistics - as well as in psychology. He has over 30 years of research experience in human language processing and speech production. His specialist area is in stuttering and he has developed a theory on stuttering, which has gained widespread interest across the world, and has been studied and tested on Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, German. English and Korean speakers. For over 15 years James has reviewed papers for various international journals, and has also been an Associate Editor for a journal that specialises in speech fluency.
Dr James Bartlett
Dr James Bartlett leads undergraduate and postgraduate modules on research methods at Arden University. James specialises in quantitative research methods with experience in statistical programming (R and Python) and psychophysiology (EEG). His research focuses on addictive behaviour, in addition to other projects on the psychology of religion and prosocial behaviour. His PhD was on the neurocognitive mechanisms associated with nicotine dependence in daily and non-daily smokers.
Psychological Experimental Officer
Emily Blakemore is the psychology experimental officer at Arden University. Her role is vast but includes being the editor of the school newsletter and managing the Arden Psychology Twitter page among other various engagement projects. Emily graduated with a BSc in Psychology with Criminology but has found that her interests lie firmly within the health aspect of psychology which motivated her to undertake an MSc in Health Psychology. As a keen meditator herself, she is a strong advocator for enhancing psychological health and wellbeing through meditative practice and this passion has been translated through her research interests. Emily’s area of interests includes mindfulness and the neuroplasticity of long-term meditators, the impact of nature and mindfulness combined with virtual reality technology utilised in therapeutic settings to reduce stress and anxiety. As part of her philosophy, she strives to be distinctively experimental using quantitative methodology to investigate how to make an impact in the field.
Lynne Hemingway is a lecturer in Psychology at Arden University. She is the module leader for L7 Cognitive Psychology and also teaches on L4 Introduction to Biological and Cognitive Psychology and L5 Brain and Behaviour.
Lynne is an experienced lecturer with a history of working within FE and HE. Her teaching experience has led to a shift in her research interests, with her main focus now on how principles of cognitive psychology and neuropsychology can be applied to improve the teaching and learning experience.
Lynne is also interested in attitudes towards learning, specifically within the field of adult education and maths, and approaches to widening participation.
Dr. Rachel Marchant
Dr Rachel Marchant is a lecturer at Arden University teaching on our MSc Psychology course. Before joining Arden, Rachel taught for several years in the Schools of Psychology and Medicine at Birmingham University. Rachel’s interests include neuroscience, psychology, cognition, perception and consciousness, hallucinations, mental health and psychiatry, brain imaging and stimulation methods, psychometrics, and qualitative and quantitative analysis. Rachel is also interested in pedagogy and andragogy, and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Rachel completed her PhD at Birmingham University where her doctoral research explored the neurocognitive mechanisms of anomalous experiences (e.g. hallucinations) in healthy, non-clinical groups. Rachel has experience using a variety of research methods including electron microscopy, brain stimulation (tDCS), recording (EEG), and imaging (fMRI), skin conductance, psychophysical tasks, and questionnaire measures. Extending her PhD research, Rachel is involved in several projects exploring hallucinations and related experiences in healthy people.
Daniella Nayyar is an applied social psychologist with an interest in how theory and scientific research can help us to solve social issues in society. She is currently researching the role that intergroup identification and bias plays in political competition. Whilst she specialises in social identity theory and its applications, her interests extend to wanting to understand the various experiences of those in higher education and how we can encourage and inform greater diversity and equality and overcome barriers to education. She is also interested in social action and social movements that aim to encourage social cohesion and greater acceptance.
Dr. Mvikeli Ncube
Dr Mvikeli Ncube is a Chartered Psychologist who received his PhD from the University of East London. His expertise, research and teaching interests are in social psychology, social constructionism, qualitative research methods, cultural & media psychology, and conceptual and historical Issues in psychology. Mvikeli has taught on a number of different modules across both bachelor’s and master’s degree psychology courses. Mvikeli’s scholarly work is primarily concerned with interpersonal relationships and social identity. In the past, he has published research on cultural psychology and social identity.
Dr. Sue Pattinson
Dr Sue Pattison is an academic supervisor for BSc and MSc research projects. Sue has a background in teaching and researching internationally, with an interest in the mental health and well-being of children and young people. She has worked with several governments and education departments including Wales, Northern Ireland, Turkey, Kenya, Hong Kong and the Gambia, and her research was instrumental in getting a counsellor into every school in Wales and Northern Ireland. She also works in practice providing psychological therapies and clinical supervision, which keeps her knowledge, skills and experience thriving.
Dr. Naomi Pierce
Dr Naomi Pierce is a Lecturer in Psychology and Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Naomi has taught across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate psychology modules during her career, including qualitative research methods, and gender and sexualities. Naomi completed her PhD at Birmingham City University, examining the conceptualisation of risk for sexually transmitted infections in LGBTQ* groups. Naomi has previously worked in NHS mental health research, and on a large-scale blood donation project at the University of Nottingham. Naomi's research interests include sexualities, sexual health, and discourse analysis, using critical approaches to examine the ways in which bodies and identities are socially and culturally produced.
Charmaine Ricki-Lawrence is an associate lecturer with Arden University, and previously taught psychology for 21 years within a variety of educational settings. More recently, her teaching has focused on developmental psychology. Charmaine’s research interests centre on pedagogy, mental health, and well-being. As an early stage researcher, her work has specifically entailed investigations into the perceptions of self-harm in adolescents and the implementation of the special educational needs and disabilities code of practice in schools and colleges. Charmaine’s interests are growing to include the impact of technology based and blended learning for sub-groups of children with learning differences and special educational needs.
Kieron Rooney is a lecturer at Arden University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in health psychology. He has a broad set of interests, but his real passion lies in mindfulness, stress and anxiety, and neuroscience. How can we better navigate to what is 'right' versus what is 'easy', and what stands in our way when we try to? Those are the questions that drive his interest in psychology from an academic and personal perspective, and form the basis of his research. While predominantly quantitative in his academic approach, Kieron has recently developed an increased appreciation for qualitative research methods.
Dr. Adriana Soni
Dr Adriana Soni is a psychology lecturer at Arden University. She obtained her PhD in Education at the University of Bristol in 2017. Her doctoral thesis focused on exploring Latin American teachers’ perceptions about the mind-brain relationship, brain function, and neuroeducation. Her current research interests were inspired by her thesis findings and she is now focusing on developing neuroscience strategies that can be helpful in promoting social equality and better education for children who come from low-socioeconomic backgrounds. In relation to this, music has become a major area of interest in her research, as she wants to explore how it can impact children's cognitive skills and brain function.
Holly Stokes is a lecturer in psychology at Arden University. Her research interests lie within developmental and educational psychology. She is particularly interested in how we can use play to facilitate both development and learning, and the barriers which prevent both teachers and parents from implementing play within the school and home. Her other main area of interest is in the lived experiences of those with developmental disorders, specifically Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has also worked as a reviewer for the Journal of Gender Studies, contributed to government select committees, and presented at key conferences.
Dr. Suhana Begum
Dr Suhana Begum is a Practitioner Health Psychologist, registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS). She is also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Assistant Publication Editor for the Behavioural Science and Public Health Network. Her research specialises in behaviour changes, such as diet, physical activity and substance misuse within a public health context.
Nicola Bentham has a background in Occupational Psychology and a member of the British Psychological Society, her areas of interest include organisational identity and change amongst underrepresented employees, the effects of pre-and post-natal yoga on the executive functioning skills of mothers returning from maternity leave and neurodiversity and leadership development.
Coupled with a professional background, Nicola has worked across a number of different industries, including non-profit organisations, oil and gas, investment banking and construction, and property. Nicola has commenced her PhD in 202o, focusing on Organizational change and the concept of the ideal worker – a critical perspective of intersectionality and inclusivity within the workplace.
Matthew Copeman is an Associate Lecturer for Arden University and another institution, currently studying an MSc in research methods in psychology. He has taught at undergraduate and postgraduate level having also supervised group research projects for students at another institution, and currently teaches on the undergraduate psychology blended learning course at Arden.
Matthew has also worked on private and public funded research studies, such as advertising for Barclays and experiencing virtual reality for The National Theatre. Being at the start of his research career, his interests focus on video games and social anxiety and how gaming might offer a first stage framework for developing coping strategies to help sufferers of social anxiety. He aspires to start a PhD programme to further this research.
Dr. Andrew J. Holliman
Dr. Andrew J. Holliman is a Dissertation Supervisor at Arden University, recognized as Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
He is an established academic with demonstrable experience in academic leadership and effective pedagogical practice. His research interests include the psychology of education, teaching and learning in higher education, and the development of children’s literacy.
Dr. Penny Hyams
Dr Penny Hyams has recently joined the expanding team in the School of Psychology at Arden University as a lecturer. She is currently leading a Level 6 module in Mental Health and Illness, and is contributing to other areas of our Psychology programme, including Social and Developmental Psychology and Qualitative Research Methods.
Her doctoral and post-doctoral research focused upon the organisation of social interaction, using qualitative research methods. This focused on interaction involving people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, but has since extended to other topics and areas. Her fascination with people and the highly diverse social worlds they inhabit extends to her three energetic children, two shaggy cats and one slightly wild garden!
Dr. Beth McManus
Beth McManus is an organisational psychologist and illustrator, focused on wellbeing, emotions and creativity at work. She is a director of Create Seven and works as an associate for a variety of organisations, including Arden University. She believes in making an active contribution to psychology and is a founding member of The Centre for Psychology at Work and co-convenor of the BPS DOP ‘Volunteer Development’ working group.
A passionate advocate of volunteering, Beth is the Equality and Diversity Officer for Manchester Green Party, a coach for Queen Bee Coaching, and a mentor for The Girls’ Network. Beth graduated with a BSc in Psychology and Human Resource Management and an MSc in Organisational Psychology. She holds a Foundation Certificate in Transformational Coaching and is on the BPS Register of Qualifications in Test Use.
Dr. Scott Varney
Dr Scott Varney is a new member of the Arden Psychology team but has been teaching psychology in higher education for over a decade at universities across the UK and has also worked as a student support worker in a secondary school. Scott obtained his PhD from Loughborough University and his doctoral thesis, ‘Watching Sitcoms Together: A Discursive Analysis”, utilised conversation analytic and discursive psychological methods to examine the ways in which laughter is utilised in interaction and how groups of people respond to comedy on TV.
Whilst he has taught on a number of psychology modules covering the main subject domains, Scott is primarily a social psychologist and has led modules and supervised dissertations in this field. In addition, he has led modules in qualitative research methods and study skills at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He has received the ‘Extra Mile’ and ‘Loughborough Legend’ awards for his teaching and was shortlisted for the Staff Member of the Year Award and the Vice Chancellor’s Loughborough Award of Excellence.
Scott’s research interests include laughter, interaction, humour, conversation analysis and discursive psychology. Specifically, his work examines the varieties of laughter that people produce in different contexts, how laughter is used to perform a range of interactional business, and how laughter can be transcribed for research. Scott also explores the ways in which individuals understand or ‘get’ humour and how this is accomplished discursively. In addition, he is also interested in early research in social psychology and how these are (mis)reported in textbooks and depicted in film and media.
Dr Shannon DeBlasio
Criminology and Forensic Psychology Lecturer
Dr Shannon DeBlasio is an FT lecturer within the School of Psychology and Social Sciences teaching the Criminology and Forensic Psychology modules and working to support students through their BSc and MSc studies. Before joining Arden, Shannon worked within the prison estate. She spent seven years in a category B male prison undertaking a series of roles including treatment managing the offender behaviour change programmes, working non-operationally as a substance misuse practitioner, and within the security department as an intelligence analyst.
Her research interests lie within the experience of offending, particularly sexual and violent crimes. Shannon’s PhD thesis explored the criminal narratives, emotions, and individual differences of 120 men who had been found guilty of a sexual or acquisitive offence within the UK.
Dr. Amy Jones
Dr. Amy Jones has a passion for sociology and earned a first class degree, two master’s degrees, and a PhD on the subject. Amy’s PhD research focused on the ways in which neoliberalism and the most recent economic recession have affected those aged 60 and over, particularly those living within an area of severe deprivation. In addition to studying this subject, Amy has been both a college and university lecturer for over a decade. She was Head of Access Sociology at a college for five years, and then went on to teach this subject at a number of universities, including Arden University.
Her interest in sociology began when she first picked up Michel Foucault’s ‘Discipline and Punishment’. She continues to enjoy every new book or journal she reads on the subject, which helps her understand the world in a completely different way, and to question what appeared to be reality.
Her research interests include critical theory, inequality and injustice, health and wellbeing, social and economic policy, poverty and the poor, social mobility, crime and deviance, social networks, and research methods and approaches.