Professor Liz Barnes, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Staffordshire University, has been appointed to the Order of the British Empire with a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Professor Barnes has been Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at Staffordshire University since April 2016, having previously been Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University and Pro Vice-Chancellor at Derby University. Her career began in Staffordshire at Longton High School as a teacher of physical education and mathematics with 23 years also spent at Teesside University.
In the past three years Professor Barnes’ leadership, exceptional determination and tireless commitment has seen Staffordshire University rise considerably in all major UK university league tables, being named as one of the country’s top 40 universities in The Guardian League Table 2020. The University has also been recognised as being in the top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction and for the first time has been ranked in the top 1,000 universities in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
The success of Staffordshire University is critical to the region, contributing millions of pounds to the local economy each year and developing skilled graduate-level employees and entrepreneurs. The University has over 15,000 students at bases across the United Kingdom, Far East, USA and Middle East.
This honour also recognises Professor Barnes’ commitment to the West Midlands, delivered through her membership of four Multi-Academy Education Trusts and membership of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership Board. Recently appointed Co-Chair of the Opportunity Area Partnership Board, she also works to bring employers and the education sector together to improve the life-chances of young people in Stoke-on-Trent.
David Gage MBE DL, Chair of Governors at Staffordshire University, warmly welcomed Professor Barnes’ appointment to the Order of the British Empire:
“I am absolutely delighted that Professor Barnes has been awarded a CBE in Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours. Professor Barnes has made a highly significant impact as the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of Staffordshire University; the culmination of 36 years’ service to education. Equally, this is an award to be shared by everyone at Staffordshire University where, under her exceptional leadership, the University has been transformed into an organisation that offers a first-class student experience and has risen substantially in all national league tables. What is particularly poignant is that Professor Barnes was born in Staffordshire, returned to live in the county and that her first teaching role was at Longton High School.”
Professor Barnes is also recognised across the UK Higher Education sector through her board position with MillionPlus, the association for modern universities and JISC, the leading digital education organisation. She also makes time for local charities, raising thousands of pounds in the 2018 Donna Louise ‘Tower to Tower’ Challenge and recently joining the Donna Louise board.
The Order of the British Empire was instituted in 1917 by George V to reward outstanding contribution to the war effort and now recognises exceptional individuals who have made outstanding achievements in public life.