The future

is online

Expanding access to quality higher education.

Taking universities online.

Creating the future, today.


HEP’s mission is to increase access to top quality and affordable higher education through the online delivery of instruction and help online students succeed.

Equality of opportunity is at the heart of everything we do. By helping people improve their lives, whatever their background and circumstances, we believe that affordable and high-quality higher education builds fairer and more equitable societies, unlocks the potential of individuals, helps harmonise skills gaps with the needs of the workplace, transforms employability rates and delivers a thriving global economy.


HEP’s mission is to increase access to top quality and affordable higher education through the online delivery of instruction and help online students succeed.

Equality of opportunity is at the heart of everything we do. By helping people improve their lives, whatever their background and circumstances, we believe that affordable and high-quality higher education builds fairer and more equitable societies, unlocks the potential of individuals, helps harmonise skills gaps with the needs of the workplace, transforms employability rates and delivers a thriving global economy.


We have invested in cutting edge technology and market-leading expertise to help our partner universities grow their online market share. Our comprehensive suite of services includes:

  • Competitive online program portfolio selection.
  • Omni-channel marketing and online student recruitment.
  • Online student enrollment, retention and ongoing student support.
  • Academic capacity-building, including programme planning, instructional design, assistance in module conversion, quality reviews and faculty professional development.
  • Operational assistance to effectively support online student lifecycle.

Our Partner Support team works closely with operational teams at university partners to develop and execute structured yet tailored plans for the implementation and launch of new online programmes. The team delivers step-by-step support, guidance and expertise to ensure that all stakeholders, processes, systems and technology are aligned and geared up to deliver an outstanding end-to-end student experience.

Change Management

Programme Launch & Ongoing Management

Our Academic Services team supports university’s academic staff and instructional design teams with evidence-based best practices in online teaching and learning, guidance around strategic programme planning, and ongoing professional development and training opportunities.

Based upon needs analysis and in collaboration with programme leaders, the team guides online programme design and planning, assists in module mapping and development, module delivery, quality reviews, and utilisation and deployment of learning tools and technologies, all with the clear aim of ensuring the best possible student experience and student outcomes.

Our Academic Services approach is entirely tailored to the needs of each partner and is built around the principle of scalability. It is further focused on capacity building, equipping the academic teams at the university with the knowledge, tools and resources to help them design and deliver successful online programmes in a virtual learning environment. Ownership of all intellectual property always remains with the partnering institutions.

We take a comprehensive, customised and data-driven approach to promoting each partner’s online offering and manage on their behalf a proprietary, programme-specific omni-channel marketing strategy and execution. Our objective is to identify and target through various media outlets the most qualified potential students with the highest probability of enrolment.

Our digital expertise includes search engine marketing, content marketing, search engine optimisation, email marketing, and video and social media marketing across multiple user platforms including mobile, tablet and desktop. We work with Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Bing, as well as additional affiliates to give our partners a competitive advantage in a highly competitive marketplace.

Our offline capability includes business-to-business marketing, traditional marketing through radio, direct mail, newspaper, magazine and outdoor advertising as well as public relations.

Our team of university-designated Enrolment Specialists engages with prospective students under university’s unique brand and helps them make informed decisions about online programme selection. The team follows a clearly defined and robust strategy in connecting with enquiring students and having the right conversations with potential learners to assess their online programme suitability. Each prospective student is assigned a dedicated Enrolment Specialist who supports him/her from the point of enquiry through the application and enrolment processes, right up to the beginning of class.

Student success is fundamentally what determines the success of our university partnerships. That’s why each of our partner universities is assigned a Student Success team to ensure the best possible student outcomes. The team provides proactive engagement and encouragement and support to all students throughout their online journey. Each student is allocated a dedicated Student Success Specialist who ensures that s/he is given the right level of support, from enrolment right through to graduation, and who identifies when the student needs encouragement, guidance or intervention in order to succeed.


EMENA Region Europe/Middle East/North Africa

HEP is committed to expanding access to quality education in the EMENA region. HEP believes in the transformative power of higher education on peoples’ personal and professional lives, and society as a whole.


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Steve Hill

President and CEO

Steve is HEP’s President and Chief Executive Officer. His career spans over 25 years serving in international finance, investment funds analysis and higher education. Most recently he served as the Chairman of FutureLearn Ltd and the CEO of Open University Worldwide Ltd.

Steve began his finance career at National Westminster Bank, where he worked for over ten years in corporate and international banking and held various senior management positions. In 2001, Steve joined Lipper, a Reuters company, as Head of EMEA and became their Global Commercial Director.
In 2011, Steve joined The Open University as CEO, OU Worldwide Ltd. where he was responsible for driving the development and implementation of the university’s international partnership strategies. In 2015 he was appointed to lead all external engagement activities, overseeing the Marketing, Communications, Development Office and Business Development Units. Steve also played a key role in developing and implementing the university’s global strategy. 

‘The transformative impact of education is key to our evolution as a society. Higher Ed Partners work with a select group of universities to expand access to high quality and affordable online education globally, helping to underpin the future success of our partners and of innumerable ambitious individuals across the world.’

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Ian Howell

Director, University Partnerships

Ian is HEP’s Director for University Partnerships. He has the ultimate responsibility for onboarding and managing university partnerships from the point at which a contract is signed through the life of the agreement. Ian previously ran commercial operations at the Open University and had direct responsibility for international student recruitment, corporate sales, strategic partnerships and apprenticeships. Before moving to the OU, Ian worked for Thomson Reuters for eleven years in a number of senior leadership positions and prior to this served as an officer in the British Army. Ian is directly responsible for the overall success of university partnerships and ensures that all necessary resources are made available to the partner during the onboarding stage and that enrolment and retention targets are achieved for each institution. Ian works with the senior colleagues to define and deliver strategic vision for the venture and a supporting operational plan which includes academic, marketing, enrolment, retention, IT, project/change management and student experience deliverables.
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Sarah Frame

Director, Partner Support

Sarah is HEP’s Director of Partner Support where she oversees the onboarding, launch and ongoing operational support for HEP’s partner institutions. Sarah has over 20 years of experience in online learning, gained in both the private and public and higher education sectors in the UK and internationally. Sarah’s experience includes 5 years as Head of School of Distance & E-learning at University of East London. Prior to joining HEP, Sarah served as Director EMEA for Toolwire Inc, providing immersive learning solutions to universities and industry. Sarah holds RICS Professional qualifications and is a Fellow of the Learning & Performance Institute.
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Ed Harland-Lang

Director, Marketing

Ed is HEP’s Director of Marketing. He is responsible for the omni-channel marketing and student recruitment for online programmes from HEP university partners. Prior to joining HEP, Ed worked in a number of marketing leadership roles, including Head of Marketing for the Churchill and Privilege insurance brands and Head of Marketing at NIG. Ed is responsible for launching the marketing activity for partners and for ensuring the ongoing efficiency, effectiveness and success of marketing campaigns and their performance. Collaborating closely with university partners from the outset, Ed develops a deep understanding of their brand, culture, strengths and points of differentiation - creating a bespoke marketing strategy for each institution. He manages the development, execution, measurement and ongoing optimisation of all campaigns, partner sites and landing pages, taking a data-driven approach to delivering continuous improvement in both marketing and enrolment performance.
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Andrew Doig

Vice President Academic Services

Andrew is HEP’s Vice President for Academic Services. He oversees the successful planning, validation, design, quality assurance and implementation of academic programmes in support of HEP partner universities. He manages a team of Instructional Designers and works closely with academic leadership and teaching teams at partnering institutions. Andrew has spent his entire professional career in education, as a teacher, lecturer, study skills adviser, director of studies, educational developer, instructional designer and director of academic services. He has a number of publications including teaching textbooks and research papers. Andrew holds an MA and MLitt from Glasgow University, a PGDip Blended Learning from Solent University, and was awarded the title of Associate Professor at Solent University. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
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Adam Watson

Director, Technology

Adam leads HEP’s technology function. He has nearly 20 years of experience working in the UK higher education sector at a portfolio of institutions including the University of York, University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University. As Director of Technology, Adam is responsible for the design and implementation of the business processes and data integrations that underpin HEP’s university partnerships. He is also responsible for the day-to-day IT requirements of the business including management of HEP’s CRM. Adam is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Professional Member of the Charted Institute of IT and an Affiliate Member of the Institute of Leadership & Management. He holds a BSc(Hons) and MSc and is a qualified practitioner of a number of frameworks and methodologies including SCRUM, PRINCE2, ITIL version 3 and TOGAF 9.1.
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Sami Gheriafi

HEP’s Regional Vice President

Sami Gheriafi is HEP’s Regional Vice President responsible for establishing and managing partnerships with universities in Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Sami has 19 years of experience working in higher education with deep understanding of the higher education landscape in the Middle East. He also acquired firsthand experience in business development within the higher education space. Prior to joining HEP, Sami worked at the American University of Beirut, most recently heading the consulting arm of the university and responsible for a portfolio of university and educational projects, as well as business development for continuing and executive education programs. Sami has also worked in the private sector in Qatar, Kuwait, and Canada. Sami holds a BA from the Lebanese American University and an Executive Master in Business Administration (EMBA) from the American University of Beirut.
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Rula Awwad

Vice President for Business Development

Rula Awwad is HEP’s VP for Business Development overseeing its activities in Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia. She joined HEP after an extensive career in politics and political communications, where she most recently served with the United Nations mission in Libya as a Senior Political Affairs Officer working on conflict mediation and conflict resolution. Prior to her career with the United Nations, Rula was the Director of the Jordan Information Bureau in Washington DC where she was the lead in developing and implementing Jordan’s external communications strategy as well as developing and managing relations with US media and think-tanks. Rula brings with her a wealth of expertise in strategy, business development, and communications, driven by a conscientious desire to impact positive change and a conviction that just and equal opportunities, are a right for all.
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Vicente Prior

Vice President, University Partnerships Spain

Vicente is HEP’s Vice President for University Partnerships in Spain. He is responsible for all business development efforts in that country, onboarding and subsequently managing HEP’s Spanish university partnerships. Prior to joining HEP, Vicente spent 26 years with Santander banking group working in various executive roles, including as global head for Products and Channels within the Universities division, which served 7.6 million university customers in 12 countries. Prior to Santander, Vicente worked for Accenture as a consultant in advanced practices in Spain, Switzerland and UK. He holds a Bachelor and Masters degree in Physics from the University of Salamanca and an MBA from IESE at the University of Navarra.


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Lord John Eatwell

Chairman of the Board

Professor Lord Eatwell has served for more than two decades as President of Queens' College at the University of Cambridge and was also Director of the Centre for Financial Analysis and Policy at Cambridge’s Judge Business School. A 25-year Labour member of the House of Lords, he has served as Principal Opposition Spokesman for Treasury and Economic Affairs. Lord Eatwell was a member of the UK’s Board of the Securities and Futures Authority and the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the UK Financial Services Authority as well as Chairman of the Jersey Financial Services Commission. He is the founder of the Institute for Public Policy Research, a leading UK think tank. Educated at Cambridge and Harvard University, Lord Eatwell has been a teaching fellow at Harvard, a visiting professor at Columbia University and is a visiting professor of economics at the University of Southern California.
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Justyna Dymerska, Ph.D.

Board Member

Justyna Dymerska is Chairman and Managing Partner of Best Merchant Partners (BMP), a parent organization of a group of online program managers across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Educated at the University of Cambridge, she spent her entire career in education, initially as post-doctoral fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin and Southern Methodist University. After joining BMP, she worked in executive roles at its portfolio companies, including at Academic Partnerships and Ilumno. Justyna serves or has served on the boards of directors of Ilumno, Higher Ed Partners Limited, Higher Ed Partners South Africa, Academic Partnerships Foundation and various higher education institutions in Brazil, Argentina, Panama, Chile and Colombia.
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Sir Tim Melville-Ross

Board Member

Sir Tim Melville-Ross began his career with British Petroleum, and also spent time with the City of London and Nationwide Building Society where he spent 20 years – the last ten as its CEO. He served for 5 years as Director General of the Institute of Directors, a membership and lobbying organisation. Since 1999 he has been chairing a wide range of organisations including Royal London Insurance, Bovis Homes, Investors in People, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. He was knighted for services to higher education on the 2018 New Year's Honours List.
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Mark Anderson

Board Member

Mark Anderson has spent much of his career in education, primarily with Pearson, plc where he worked for 22 years, including as President for International Strategy and Business Development, Managing Director Pearson Europe and Managing Director Pearson UK. He is now Chair of London Metropolitan University, Future Whizz Media and Created Education, and a City Fellow of Hughes Hall Cambridge. He is the author of The Leadership Book (Financial Times Publishing).