This Dame's got a real passion for education

PRINCIPAL and Vice-Chancellor of Napier University, Joan Stringer, has been made a Dame in this year's Queen's birthday honours list.

Ms Stringer, who has been principal at Napier since January 2003, was previously made a CBE in 2001. This year's DBE was awarded for services to local and national Higher Education.

Following the announcement of the honour, Professor Stringer said: "I am hugely passionate about the enormous importance of Higher Education in Scotland and the UK and the benefits that it brings to individuals, the economy and society.

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"It has been a privilege to make a contribution in such an important area and I have enjoyed every challenge of my 30 years in the sector.

"Of course this honour is something that would not have been possible without all the dedicated and talented colleagues with whom I have worked and who continue to make our universities institutions of which we can all be proud."

Tribute was paid to her by Professor George Borthwick, chairman of Edinburgh Napier University Court, who said: "Professor Stringer's achievements over the last six years are an extension of the energy and commitment she has shown throughout her long and influential career in higher education. She is a terrific ambassador for the sector and it is more than fitting that her hard work has been recognised with this honour."

Originally from Stoke-on-Trent, Prof Stringer worked as a local government officer, and as a part-time teacher.

Her academic studies began with a joint degree in history and politics at Keele and in 1980 became a lecturer in public administration. In 1986 she gained a PhD for her research on industrial training policy in Britain.

In 1988 she became head of the School of Public Administration and Law at the Robert Gordon University, and in 1991 was promoted to assistant principal.

She then worked as principal and vice-patron of Queen Margaret University College before taking up her current post.

In 2001 she was awarded Hon D Litt from the University of Keele for her contribution to higher education and public service.

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She has been involved in numerous external bodies, including membership of the Scottish Committee of the Dearing Report into Higher Education, and of the Secretary of State's Consultative Steering Group on the Scottish Parliament, which set out the rules and procedures governing the operation of the Parliament.

She was appointed chairwoman of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission Working Group in 1998-1999, which brought together four equalities commissions as part of the peace process.

She also has a large number of other roles, including convenor of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, chairwoman of Education UK Scotland, trustee of The David Hume Institute and Member of the Executive Committee, Scottish Council Development and Industry .

She is a Companion of the Chartered Institute of Management, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

She is married to Roel Mali, and lives in the New Town.