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Meet the tutors

Among our staff of 220 in Ireland, there are a dozen staff tutors with responsibility for overseeing different subjects and faculties. Read about them now for an overview of what they do and their areas of specialism.

Dr Nicola McIntyre, Science staff tutor

Nicola teaches within the Life, Health and Chemical Sciences department of The Open University. Nicola studied for her PhD at Bristol University, where she looked at mechanisms underlying learning and memory in the brain. Nicola oversees a range of health science modules, and teaches on a module about how the brain processes information from the senses, and the neurological basis for sensory illusions. To relax, Nicola likes to cycle and run, and has been known to take part in the odd adventure race. 

Aine MacNamara, Health & Social Care staff tutor 

Aine works in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, and is based in Belfast. Aine qualified as an SRN in 1984, after which she gained a BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies from the University of Ulster.  An Institute of Health Service Management PG Dip led to a position in Down & Lisburn Health and Social Services Trust, where Aine managed a Disability Resource Centre.  Aine completed an MSc in General Practice / Primary Care after taking up her post with The Open University in 2002.  Since then, she has developed her interest in end of life care, currently as Chair of the module 'Death and dying', and through participation in an ongoing research project with partners from Marie Curie and Ulster University.  Aine enjoys weightlifting and cooking, but not at the same time.

Dr Elaine Thomas, Computing and communications staff tutor    

Elaine works within the School of Computing and Communications, and is currently leading production of a new introductory level 1 Computing and IT module. Elaine also manages the tutors who support technology students in Ireland. Elaine has studied for a BSc (Hons) with The Open University, and is very aware of the challenge of combining study with work and home life. Her research interests lie in the use of technology in learning. Elaine lives in Belfast with her husband and a cat called Finn.

Janice Holmes, Senior lecturer in History

Janice Holmes is a Senior Lecturer in History in the School of History. Janice looks after Faculty of Arts modules, part-time tutors and students, and runs the MA in History programme. Janice gained her PhD in History from Queen’s University Belfast in 1995, and has particular interest in Irish religious history, folklore and ethnology, and local history. Janice is President of the Irish Committee for Historical Sciences, lives and works in Belfast, and tweets as @SomertonJanice. 

Donna Gallagher, Nursing Health & Social Care staff tutor 

Donna Gallagher is a Registered Nurse managing the BSc (Hons) Nursing Degree programme in Ireland.  Donna holds a Post Graduate Certificate and Diploma in Education from Ulster University and an MEd from The Open University.  Donna works in partnership with a range of stakeholders from both the statutory and independent health care sector in Northern Ireland, ‘growing our own nurses.’  With research interests focused on undergraduate and postgraduate engagement, Donna’s aim is to assist all those delivering care to reach their full potential academically and professionally.  

Ximena Arias-McLaughlin, Languages staff tutor 

Ximena works within the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies.  She’s also a linguist and Spanish language associate lecturer at The Open University, as well as a lecturer in Spanish for Law at Queen’s University in Belfast.  Ximena’s recent research has been in the area of Dyslexia in Modern Language learning.  Ximena has a BA in Language teaching (Spanish and English) from UTPL (Ecuador) and an MA Ed from The Open University.  She’s also a teacher trainer and contributes regularly in training events in Northern Ireland.  Ximena speaks six languages and is currently learning a seventh (Mandarin). She loves tango dancing, yoga and Tai chi. 

Philip O'Sullivan, staff tutor & lecturer, Faculty of Social Sciences

Dr Philip O'Sullivan is a lecturer in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Geography and Development.  Philip has an MA Hons in Philosophy and Politics from Edinburgh University and a PhD in Political Theory from Queen’s University Belfast. Philip has written Open University course materials and has tutored with us for more than a decade. Philip lives in Belfast with his wife and four sons. His hobbies include playing golf, dog walking and supporting Glasgow Celtic - sometimes all at the same time.

Roisin McPhilemy, PGCE Education & Language Studies staff tutor 

Roisin works in the Faculty of Education and Language Studies. Roisin has managed the PGCE course in Northern Ireland, and now works as Staff Tutor in Education. She has a MA in Irish Literature from Queen’s University Belfast, as well as an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Roisin is currently working on a collection of short stories, which she hopes will bring her future fame and fortune. 

I found incredible support from the tutors along the way – it’s a great way to learn.

Orlagh Costello, MSc Technology Management

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