FLANZ Executive Committee

The FLANZ executive role provides direction and governance for the organisation. In addition, executive members contribute to initiatives depending on their availability and skills. Executive members are asked to attend monthly meetings (evenings) as well as one full day planning meeting (normally October). Costs are paid for attendance at the planning meeting, but the time needs to be made available by the member.

The executive role is flexible, allows for engagement and activity that fits with each member’s situation, and offers opportunities to work with peers nationally and internationally. If you have a passion for flexible learning and would like to be at the forefront of activity and research in open, distance and flexible learning, please consider standing for a position on the committee.

FLANZ Committee

photo of FLANZ President Nathaniel Louwrens Nathaniel Louwrens (President) is Manager Learning Development and Processes at Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga. He holds a Masters of Education in which he researched online student engagement. Nathaniel has experience in open, distance, flexible learning as a former secondary teacher, a digital technologies facilitator to schools, as well as in learning design and assessment design in the tertiary sector. Twitter / LinkedIn.
photo of FLANZ Vice-President Spice Wang Spice Wang (Vice-President) was a trained teacher with a PhD in Digital Learning and Teacher Education. She is a senior educational practice specialist at the Centre for Educational Innovation and Development at RMIT University. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an experienced educator and academic developer specialising in digital education and educational design. Spice is passionate about understanding how and where learning happens and how educators can help shape student learning experiences based on institutional resources and vision. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in both academic and commercial fields across K12 and higher education, demonstrating a solid history in educational research, design, development, and digital learning leadership. Spice is committed to helping individuals and organisations not only solve small problems but also nurture a culture that drives excellence in education. LinkedIn  Twitter
Photo of FLANZ Secretary Ralph Springett Ralph Springett (Secretary) is the Manager of the Assessment Centre at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. Ralph is also a Director at ReGear Learning Ltd, a company providing eLearning resources and strategy advice for vocational training organisations. In the past Ralph represented distance students while studying extramurally at Massey University.
Photo of FLANZ Executive member Andrew Higgins Andrew Higgins is retired but retains close links in the schooling sector. His research involved work on the provision of education to isolated students and later on in the use of technologies in education. He has been a member of various Ministerial advisory committees in New Zealand and Queensland and was formerly a university Director. He is a Life Member of FLANZ.
photo of FLANZ executive member Kwong Nui Sim Kwong Nui Sim is an Associate Professor/Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching at Sydney International School of Technology and Commerce after being the Learning, Teaching and Innovation Manager at International College of Management Sydney for a short term. Prior to this, she was seconded as a Senior Advisor/Senior Lecturer at Graduate Research School in Auckland University of Technology in conjunction with her position of Senior Lecture/Learning and Teaching Consultant at AUT Learning Transformation LAB (altLAB). From 2015 to September 2020, I was an academic developer/lecturer at the Centre for Academic Development, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Linkedin Twitter
photo of FLANZ Executive member Linda Laven Linda Laven is a veterinarian by training. Linda has worked in distance education since 2009 as Academic Coordinator of the Master of Veterinary Medicine programme, Massey University. Linda’s interests lie in supporting the development of engaged, lifelong learners with a passion for their workplace.
photo of FLANZ Executive member Larian Nkomo Larian Nkomo is currently Surveys Officer at the University of Otago. He has previously been involved in distance education course design and Learning Management System administration. His interests are in Higher Education, Student Engagement, Learning Analytics and Educational Technology.
photo of FLANZ Executive member Gloria Gomez Gloria Gomez undertakes applied design research in novel educational practice with Bridging Design Prototypes. She is co-founder at OceanBrowser Ltd. (New Zealand), an honorary senior lecturer at the Save Sight Institute, University of Sydney (Australia), and a scientific committee member in the postgraduate programmes in Diseño y Creación at La Universidad de Caldas (Colombia). Her GUI and interaction design projects include OB3 online study application (OceanBrowser Ltd.), CmapTools software (Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, USA), and “La Ciudad Fantástica” interactive game (Proyecto Ludomática, Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia). Her new concept product projects include the “Authoring Concept Mapping Kit” (PhD project, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia), “My Otago First Year” (University of Otago, New Zealand) and the coordination of the EU consortium “FULCRUM: Smart Learning Environments for the Transition to Early Algebra” (University of Southern Denmark, Denmark). Learn more at http://www.gloriagomez.com
photo of FLANZ Executive member John P Egan John P Egan is Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) and Director of the Learning and Teaching Unit in the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. Previously, John was Senior Manager, Strategic Curriculum Services at the University of British Columbia. He holds a PhD in Educational Studies from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Higher Education from the University of Auckland.
photo of FLANZ Executive member Kristina Hoeppner Kristina Hoeppner is the project lead for the open source ePortfolio platform Mahara, working for Catalyst IT in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. She traded hemispheres and careers in 2010 and enjoys supporting and working with the New Zealand and worldwide community of educators, learning designers, and education innovators in both formal and informal learning settings to create positive and supportive learning environments. Twitter / LinkedIn
photo of FLANZ Executive member Bettina Schwenger Bettina Schwenger is Curriculum Development Manager and Lecturer at the Faculty of Arts,  University of Auckland and a Senior Fellow (HEA). Her research investigates some of the points at which a range of contemporary learning and teaching issues are connecting: curriculum design, scaffolding of graduate attributes, digital literacies and independent learning across a qualification, embedding of whanaungatanga and ako, and integrating online with face-to-face learning and teaching.  LinkedIn
photo of FLANZ executive member Lucie Lindsay Lucie Lindsay is an online educator, eLearning Lead (Primary), and Deputy Principal at Kōtui Ako Virtual Learning Network Aotearoa. She is a Lead Teacher in Kōtuitui Online Teachers Network of Expertise. She holds a PhD in Education from the University of Sydney. Her Master of Professional Studies in Education is from the University of Auckland and she was a Learning Designer at the University of Auckland. Her academic interests are design for collaborative, knowledge-building, technology-enhanced, professional learning, innovative applications of digital technologies, and eLearning pedagogy. LinkedIn Kia ora koutou katoa. Greetings.


photo of executive menber shilpa jain Shilpa Jain is Senior Lecturer in Business Management and Learning Delivery at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand | Te Pūkenga. She is experienced in facilitating open, distance, flexible learning and face-to-face teaching since several years. She holds a Doctorate and Masters in Business Management, a Bachelor in Psychology and a Diploma in French Language. She has several peer-reviewed publications to her credit in scholarly journals. Her research interests are in the discipline of Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource management, on areas such as workplace stress, job burnout, flexible work arrangements, work teams, and business sustainability. LinkedIn
photo of executive menber Rosina Merry Dr Rosina Merry is the Director of Teaching, Learning and Research for Te Rito Maioha (ECNZ), and is an Adjunct Professor UNITAR International University.  She has the overall responsibility for the oversight and management of academic and research strategy for undergraduate, graduate and post graduate programmes. This role also includes managing the quality, compliance and national consistency of teaching, learning and research delivery of Te Rito Maioha (ECNZ)’s qualifications. Through her doctoral study, Rosina developed a conceptual model, which supports initial teacher education providers to understand how student teachers integrate digital technology into their teaching practice. She has a passion for e-learning with a particular focus on student engagement and lecturer presence.
Wang Chen
photo of FLANZ Treasurer Simon Paul Atkinson Dr Simon Paul Atkinson PFHEA (Treasurer) is currently the Head of Learning and Development at Independent Schools of New Zealand. He is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and co-editor of the Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning. He has over 25 years experience in the tertiary sector as Head of Learning Design at the Open Polytechnic (2018-2022), Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching at BPP University (2011-2018), Academic Developer at the LSE (2010-2011), Director of Learning and Teaching at College of Education at Massey (2008-2010), Head of Centre for Learning Development at the University of Hull (2003-2008), Academic Developer at the Open University (UK) (2001-2003) and has worked in communications and micro-enterprise charity roles before that. https://sijen.com/contacts