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News Members of Connected University community recognised in New Year Honours

Graduates, honorary graduates and former staff members have all been recognised in Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year Honours list.

Graduate and honorary graduate Fayyaz Afzal CBE
Image: Graduate and honorary graduate Fayyaz Afzal CBE

We are proud to be associated with so many people who are recognised for their work in the New Year Honours list and who form part of our Connected University community. The fact that at least three began their career journeys at Staffordshire University is testimony to the role higher education plays in helping to make the world a better place.

Professor Liz Barnes CBE DL, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive

The published list recognises the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom.

Recipients include Stoke-on-Trent filmmaker Darren Teale, who founded his company Junction 15 after graduating with a BA (Hons) Film, TV and Radio from Staffordshire University in 2005.

Darren has worked on documentaries and humanitarian films that promote social action and is most noted for bringing the BAFTA-shortlisted Sky One doc 'Ben: Diary of a Heroin Addict' to TV screens. He received an MBE for services to media and vulnerable communities in the UK and abroad.

BSc (Hons) Forensic Science and Criminology graduate Courtney-Jayne Foley from Malpas in Cheshire also received an MBE for her services to Defence during the Covid-19 Response. Graduated in 2011, Courtney-Jayne works as a Maritime Electronic Warfare Systems Programme Manager for the Ministry of Defence based in Newport, Wales. Last year, as part of Special Operations, she headed up a team responsible for procuring personal protective equipment (PPE) for use across the NHS.

Meanwhile, the UK’s first Asian blind barrister Fayyaz Afzal – who graduated from the University with a Law degree in 1998 and a Postgraduate Diploma in commercial Law in 2000 – has received a CBE for services to the Judiciary and to Diversity and Inclusion.

Fayyaz was awarded an OBE for his services to the judiciary and voluntary services to disabled people just ten years after graduating from Staffordshire University with an LLB in 1998. Now a Judge overseeing some of the most serious family cases in the legal system, he was made an Honorary Doctor of the University in 2010.

He said: “I chose Staffordshire because it was close to home, the Law School had a great reputation and because it had a strong history of students with special needs and visual impairment.”

Also recognised for her services to the legal profession is honorary graduate Cordella Bart-Stewart OBE who graduated with an LLB from North Staffordshire Polytechnic - now Staffordshire University - in 1980 and who also founded the Black Solicitors Network.

Cordella, who sits as a judge in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, receives her OBE for services to the legal profession and voluntary service to diversity and to education. She was made an honorary graduate of the University in recognition of her commitment to social justice, equality and fairness and has also served on the University’s Board of Governors.

Former senior lecturer Lee Pardy-McLaughlin was also awarded an OBE in New Year’s Honours List for his services to social work.

In the last four years, Lee has worked as Principal Social Worker at Coventry City Council’s Children’s Services where he has made a huge contribution to improving social work practice and improving the city’s work with children and families. Lee takes on a new role at Stoke-on-Trent City Council this month.

Professor Michael Wood OBE has also been recognised for services to Public History and to Broadcasting. Professor Wood, who has an honorary degree from Staffordshire University and also served as Pro Chancellor, was appointed Professor of Public History at The University of Manchester in 2013. He has presented history documentaries on everything from China to Shakespeare.

Commenting on the New Year’s honours, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Liz Barnes CBE DL said: “We are proud to be associated with so many people who are recognised for their work in the New Year Honours list and who form part of our Connected University community. The fact that at least three began their career journeys at Staffordshire University is testimony to the role higher education plays in helping to make the world a better place. We wish to add our heartfelt congratulations on the awarding of these honours which are richly deserved.”

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