Dr John Wheeler

Associate Dean - Students

School of Justice, Security and Sustainability

After completing his PhD in Supramolecular Chemistry at the University of Birmingham and undertaking postdoctoral research with Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart, John lectured in chemistry and its applications in forensic science at Staffordshire University. Since then, he has held at number of roles, including Head of Sciences and Associate Dean. From 2009 to 2012 John was seconded as Project Director for the Science Centre, to define and fulfil the academic vision of the building. He co-authored a successful bid to the HEFCE Strategic Development Fund for £8.1m, forged an enduring partnership between Stoke Sixth Form College, Stoke College, and the University to provide joint facilities for science education, and realised a high-tech, flexible learning environment.

More recently, John has been heavily involved in initiatives centred upon the professionalisation of policing. Upon the launch of the Police Education Qualifications Framework by the College of Policing he joined a national working group, funded by the HEFCE Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund, and was influential in developing the national delivery model and quality assurance framework for the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA). He led the successful bid for Staffordshire University to deliver the PCDA and Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) to four police forces in the West Midlands and proposed a pioneering pedagogic approach to police education that melded academic and practice-based learning. Since implementation in 2019, 4200 leaners have enrolled on our courses, generating £37.5m income to date and facilitating cultural change across policing. John has championed partnership working between the University and employers, leading the team that won the 2017 AdvanceHE CATE award and the 2019 National Undergraduate Employability award for the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership, a unique imitative between Staffordshire University and Staffordshire Police that provides opportunities for students to gain real-world experience whilst investigating topical challenges in forensic science. 

Professional memberships and activities

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)

Academic qualifications

Master of Business Administration (MBA) - Distinction Staffordshire University 2012

PhD Chemistry University of Birmingham 1991

BSc(Hons) Chemistry - First Class Sheffield University 1988


Work-based and workplace education Educational and employer partnerships

Supporting learners in the workplace

Forensic chemical and drug analysis Forensic protocols and procedures Organic chemistry


Supporting Apprentice Learners in the Workplace though Professional Mentor Training John Wheeler and Sarah Page, CANTF Symposium: "The future is bright - improving HE for everyone", April 2023

Presentation The Identification of Synthetic Cannabinoids in English Prisons Mia Abbott, Jodie Dunnett, John Wheeler and Alison Davidson, Forensic Science International, 2023, in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2023.111613

Collaborative Practice in Forensic Science and Academia: The Development of a Documentation Strategy for Fingerprint Examinations in an English Fingerprint Bureau in the ISO 17025 era Megan Needham, Sarah Fieldhouse, William Morris, John Wheeler, and Gary Nicholls, Science & Justice, 2022, 62, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2022.03.004

Adding value for students, employers and the community through the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership J. W. Wheeler, S. J. Fieldhouse, D. P. Flatman-Fairs and A. R. W. Jackson In The CATE Collection: Together in Collaborative Educational Leadership, Eds Professor Debbie Tolson, Dr Nicola Watchman Smith, Dr Dawne Irving-Bell and Dr Miles Weaver, AdvanceHE p.121-3, 2021

Building Strategic Partnerships with Employers J. W. Wheeler, J. Marshall and M. Edmondson, Graduate Employability Conference, London, October 2019, Panel Discussion 

External profiles

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021