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Queen’s honours for outstanding academics

The Provost of the University of Exeter received her CBE this week after being recognised for services to higher education in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.

It comes after two other outstanding academics received their prestigious awards at early ceremonies. Professor Mike Depledge, who set up the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School, was awarded a CBE for services to environment and human health after he set up a pioneering research centre in the field. Dr Vicki Goodwin, a Senior Research Fellow at the Medical School, was awarded an MBE for services to physiotherapy.

Professor Janice Kay constantly strives to improve the student experience, and has led on the issue for more than 14 years at the University of Exeter. In this time Exeter has become a sector leader in the student experience as recognised by consistent top rankings the National Student Experience Survey and a rise through the national league tables.

Professor Kay, Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter, said: “I’m delighted and humbled by this award. It was a wonderful day – I am very proud of the University of Exeter’s commitment to putting students at the centre of everything we do. That approach has paid dividends – we’re at the forefront of the sector and a leader for student satisfaction. It’s really rewarding to get such positive feedback from students, and it’s testimony to the hard work and dedication of a wide range of staff at Exeter.”

Professor Kay’s influence has national reach via her role on national boards and committees. In Exeter, she has pioneered new, integrated ways of working with students, such as the Change Agents programme. The programme enables student-led improvement projects and has been recognised nationally as a model of best practice. She introduced the Exeter Award which acknowledges the extra-curricular activities of students including volunteering and student-leadership which support personal growth and skills which are highly desired by employers.

Professor Michael Depledge set up the European Centre for Environment and Human Health on the University of Exeter Medical School’s Truro Campus.

He has been exploring the complex interactions between the environment and health since the 80s, when he began advising the European Union, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme. Since then he has had a prestigious academic and advisory career, and has an international reputation for excellence.

Professor Depledge said: “I am delighted to be a CBE, especially because I have spent many years advocating the importance of paying attention to the intimate connections between the environments in which we live and our health and wellbeing. This award recognises and highlights the importance of this topic.”

Dr Vicki Goodwin is a physiotherapist specialising in the care of older people. Her main research interests are around the rehabilitation of older people, including those with dementia. She particularly specialises in areas including rehabilitation after falls – working towards ensuring older people can have the best quality of life possible.

Dr Goodwin said: “I am completely shocked and truly humbled that I am being recognised for my work as a physiotherapist with an MBE. Ultimately, my work is dedicated to improving the quality of life of older people, but it’s a real team effort. This is more a reflection of my family and friends and the people I have worked with over the years, who have supported and encouraged me.”

Dr Goodwin is part of the University of Exeter medical School, and also works for the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care – South West Peninsula (NIHR PenCLAHRC).

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter, said: “I’m delighted to extend my warmest congratulations to these outstanding academics. They are a credit to Exeter, and I’m very proud to work alongside them. These awards are further evidence of the high calibre of Exeter’s pioneering work across a wide range of fields.”

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