Open Colleges
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Our People

Our People

Open Colleges is built on team engagement, passion and diversity and our people are focused on a commitment to improving the standard of education opportunities available to adult learners in Australia.

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Our Leadership Team

The culture of Open Colleges is founded on over a century of commitment to high standards, accessibility, affordability and real engagement between students, trainers, support staff and management, as well as dedicated faculty direction.

Our people are here because they have all been students at some time, and are now top professionals in their field, committed to providing you with the best student and stakeholder experience possible.

Jose Miguel Herrera-Perea

Managing Director 

Over the past 20 years, Jose has held positions driving growth and shareholder value in Europe, Australia and Asia. Jose’s passion for education is exhibited through his studies and career choices. 

Prior to joining Open Colleges, Jose amassed a wealth of experience across iconic organisations at the cutting edge of digital such as Google, SEEK Ltd, IDP Education Pty Ltd and Fujitsu. As COO, Jose led an ASX listed start-up focused on artificial intelligence for 3 years.  

Before that, he was Executive General Manager of Open Universities Australia Pty Ltd (OUA) for 6 years. His key achievements include leading OUA's emerging digital division, globally launching Open2Study: a MOOC platform and building an engaged community of 1+ million users across 100+ countries within two years.  

In 2014, Jose was accepted by Stanford University in the Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate Program. His qualifications include:

  • Graduate Certificate of Business Management from Monash University  
  • Bachelor in Business Management and Organisation from Universidad Complutense de Madrid 
  • Diploma in Web Design from Dublin Business School 
  • The APAC Executive Programme from INSEAD 
  • Member of the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) 

Jose is bringing in a new era at Open Colleges, by providing new direction through transparency and collaborative leadership. 

Alexis Watt

Chief Executive Officer - Open Colleges Services

As CEO of Open Colleges Services, Alexis engages with a wide variety of organisations including Universities, non-University Higher Education Providers TAFEs, independent RTOs, employment and labour market agencies, and governments. Working closely with partners across this network, Alexis and his team apply technology to education, developing and delivering innovative solutions to meet the needs of students, workers, institutions and governments.

Alexis holds a number of appointments to State and Commonwealth government commissions and with steering groups involved in developing tertiary education and workforce skills for domestic and international students. His role covers policy, funding, innovation and reform and he strives to continuously improve the experience of tertiary education to better support lifelong learning, career development, and personal and economic productivity.

Alexis has managed multiple national and local programs with State and Commonwealth governments, working on international student pathways from South East Asia, India, Nepal and Kenya. He has also worked on large scale projects in aged care, community care and health industries. 

As a Board member and Deputy Chair (VET) of the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia, the national peak body for private education and training, Alexis has unique insights into national policy for the VET sector, including funding, regulation, quality assurance and reform.

Jaco Jonker

Executive General Manager - Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer

Jaco is a multifaceted leader having held executive positions across various industries.   

With a career spanning over 19 years of financial expertise, Jaco has worked in the capacity of CFO, CEO and now as Executive General Manager at Open Colleges.   

Jaco spent 10 years at South Africa’s leading e-commerce marketplace ‘’, where he was responsible for the overall management, growth and strategic direction of the business. He was also responsible for identifying and executing on opportunities for investment in start-ups and other complementary technology businesses, including a very successful online payments aggregator. He has also worked in financial roles at Rectron Pty Ltd as the group financial director and gained 4 years of auditing experience at Deloitte in South Africa and the USA. 

As a CFA charter holder and Chartered Accountant, he has a wealth of experience in auditing, financial reporting, budgeting, forecasting, modelling, valuations, management and strategic planning.    

Jaco has gained skills across various countries, including South Africa, USA, UK and Australia. He has served on several boards of directors and executive committees spanning several industries including, distribution, online marketplaces and online payment aggregators.  

His qualifications include: 

  • Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Accounting & Finance from the University of Johannesburg.  
  • Member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) 
  • Member of CFA Institute 

Jaco joined Open Colleges as interim CFO and has now assumed the position of Executive General Manager and CFO where he is involved in finance, technology, data and course development. 

Erik van Eekelen

Executive General Manager - EduTech

With over 15 years of international experience in online retail, logistics, fintech, greentech and online education, Erik is an experienced leader in Product, Technology and Innovation.

Prior to starting at Open Colleges, Erik worked in positions as CTO, CIO, Head of Product, and Head of Business Transformation for a variety of organisations, including the largest online retailer in The Netherlands (, the most advanced European start-up in the field of distributed (green) energy management for Electric Vehicles, and a number of successful consultancies.

During his last period in Australia, Erik was the CIO of Open Universities Australia, in which his responsibilities included the fast-tracked development of the first Australian MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) platform with over 1 million students across 2.5 years.

Erik holds a Masters in Artificial Intelligence, with a minor a Business Economics from the University of Amsterdam and is an accredited facilitator and trainer in several agile, lean and innovation methodologies. Erik is a regular international public speaker with a number of keynote appearances over the years including European Commission Event (Dublin), DreamForce Conference (San Francisco) and CXO Disrupt (Brisbane), just to name a few.

At Open Colleges, Erik leads the Education Technology teams responsible for the digital learning experience of the student and all system development. This includes the areas of product management, software development and configuration, and learning experience.

Bill Lovegrove


Emeritus Professor Lovegrove was the Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) from 2003 until retiring as USQ’s longest serving Vice-Chancellor in December 2011.

Prior to his appointment at USQ, Emeritus Professor Lovegrove was Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Internationalisation and Commercialisation) at Griffith University. He also held senior positions at the University of Wollongong after commencing his academic career at the University of Tasmania. Throughout his career Emeritus Professor Lovegrove developed an international research profile in the area of visual information processing and dyslexia.

Emeritus Professor Lovegrove’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts, First Class Honors and PhD in Psychology through the University of Queensland. He also completed an Advanced Executive Program at the Kellogg School of Business of North Western University in the United States.

He has extensive committee and Board experience having represented Universities Australia on the Universities Grants Committee of the University of the South Pacific, the Board of the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA), the Board of Australian University Sport and chaired the Board of Graduate Careers Australia. He has also been a member of the board of a number of CRCs and is currently the Chair of the Study Queensland Industry Council and the Board of the Smart Water Research Centre.

Cathy Stone

Cathy's professional background is in Social Work, student support and research aimed at enhancing student equity in higher education. 

Accredited as a Mental Health Social Worker with the AASW, and a member of the Australian College of Social Work, Cathy has a long standing interest in and commitment to student equity, widening participation and improving the student experience for increasingly diverse university student cohorts. 

Following nearly 20 years in management and counselling within Student and Academic Services at the University of Newcastle, Cathy worked with Open Universities Australia as the Director of Student Success until the end of 2014.

Marcia Devlin

Professor Marcia Devlin’s research interests and expertise span higher education policy, equity, Indigenous higher education, standards, leadership, interdisciplinarity, teaching and learning, student engagement and learning, digital education and eLearning.

Current and recent national work includes contributing to federal policy development in the area of equity and leading national studies of effective teaching and support of students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds and of effective university leadership of learning and teaching.

She currently holds an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant on international student policy.

The author and co-author of more than 360 commissioned reports, studies, and articles in international peer-reviewed journals, Marcia also writes regularly on higher education matters for newspapers. Professor Devlin launched the SHEER Centre and presented the inaugural Sounding Board Scholars address in 2013. 

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