NORTH-EAST academic Dr Simon Stobart has joined an elite list becoming the first at Teesside University to receive a prestigious principal fellowship from the Higher Education Academy.

The principal fellowship is the highest fellowship awarded by the HEA and is given to a select number of academics who have excelled in the strategic leadership of teaching and learning.

Dr Stobart joined Teesside University in 2008 and became dean of the School of Computing two years later.

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To be considered for a principal fellowship, Dr Stobart had to submit a considerable portfolio of work demonstrating his contribution to higher education.

Dr Stobart was instrumental in the creation of the SPACE, a student learning and social lounge in the School of Computing, which allows students an opportunity to gather and interact outside classes.

He highlighted his support of both ExpoTees and Animex – two highly successful annual events at Teesside University.

ExpoTees is a showcase of final year work by students in the School of Computing. It is also an opportunity for businesses to come and meet students and recruit bright new talent to their organisations.

Animex, now approaching its 14th year, is the UK’s largest and longest running festival dedicated to animation and computer games and attracts industry experts from all over the world.

Reflecting on his accolade, Dr Stobart said: “I am extremely proud to receive the Principal fellowship from the Higher Education Academy.

“It demonstrates the professional credibility of both the School of Computing and Teesside University. Furthermore it is additional recognition of the high quality experience students receive here.

Dr Stobart grew up in Morpeth, Northumberland and gained his lifelong interest of computers thanks to his father Kenneth.

Since joining Teesside University he has played a key role in the School of Computing’s international developments and establishing Teesside as a leading university for computer, animation and games courses.

He is a fellow of the British Computer Society, a chartered membership and higher education accreditation assessor.

Dr Stobart will now act as a mentor to help further senior academic staff at Teesside University achieve Principal Fellowship.

Professor Stephanie Marshall, chief executive of HEA, said: "principal fellowship is a key milestone in the career of any learning and teaching professional in higher education”.