A North East university professor who is playing a key role in shaping the future of teacher training has been awarded an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours list.

Professor Lynne McKenna, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society, is receiving the honour in recognition of her services to education.

Professor McKenna joined the University in 2015 as Head of the School of Education and in 2018 was appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society. Prior to this, she was Director of Initial Teacher Education in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University.

Professor McKenna said: "I’m truly honoured to receive this award, but I share it with so many talented, inspirational and dedicated colleagues across school and university sectors.

“I wholeheartedly believe in the transformative power of education, having experienced this for myself entering higher education as a mature student at Sunderland Polytechnic in 1987.

“It has been a privilege to work in education over the past 32 years, first as a teacher in schools across the north-east and then subsequently in initial and post-qualifying teacher education in universities.”

She added: “To be Dean at the University of Sunderland – the University which gave me the platform to launch my career - has been and continues to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my working life.”

The former teacher studied at the University of Sunderland and graduated with a BEd (Hons) in 1991, before starting her career in a primary school in South Shields. Professor McKenna went on to study for her M.Ed at Newcastle University and has an Ed.D from Durham University.

Professor McKenna has worked in higher education at three North East universities since 1998 in a variety of leadership roles.

As Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society at Sunderland, she is responsible for the strategic direction and development of two large academic Schools; the School of Education and the School of Social Sciences.

Professor McKenna is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and, in 2020, was named a leader in the field of innovation. The aim of the list is to highlight and recognise the excellence of female innovators working right across the North of England, as well as present a showcase of role models to women and girls thinking of working in or studying the many sectors where innovation is key.

Success has followed Professor McKenna to Sunderland when the Guardian University League Tables 2020 ranked four education courses at the University as second in the UK.

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Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland, said: “I am delighted that Lynne McKenna has been recognised through the award of an MBE for her outstanding contribution to education.

“Over a long and distinguished career, she has transformed the lives of thousands, more recently here at the University of Sunderland where she has been an inspirational leader to trainee teachers, social workers and others, as well as to her colleagues.

“Lynne’s popularity and standing will be evident as colleagues across our institution will be delighted for her and her family. At a personal level, I would also want to pay tribute to Lynne for her unwavering loyalty and commitment to the University of Sunderland which I appreciate greatly.”