Name: Katie StobbsPosition: Vice-Principal, Stephenson College Winner of: Respect, Fairness and Equity Award
Katie Stobbs is a joint winner of the Respect, Fairness & Equity Award at the Durham Global Awards 2023. Recognised for her work at Stephenson College, she has inspired students to develop a global perspective, respect other cultures and celebrate diversity. She has received this award for numerous initiatives both within College, more widely across the University and with members of the local community.
Katie grew up in County Durham, studying for a BA in Politics at Newcastle University, then an MA in International Relations at Durham. After graduating in 2011, she worked at anti-racism charity Anne Frank Trust UK, followed by a five year stint in the Middle East working on cross-boundary research and development in renewable energy, water conservation, wastewater treatment and reuse, and sustainable agricultural innovation. She also managed DFID’s international volunteering programme in the West Bank. From 2016 she oversaw the University’s Student Volunteering and Outreach, leading the team in securing the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (the MBE for voluntary groups). In 2018 she became Assistant Principal at Ustinov College, Acting Vice-Master at Hatfield College in 2020, before being appointed to the role of Vice-Principal at Stephenson College in 2021.
Inspiration within Stephenson College
Katie has made a big impact since joining Stephenson in a relatively short space of time and has launched initiatives like Holocaust Memorial Day remembrance events over the last two years (working with the University’s Jewish society) at College; to organising an International Global Youth Summit with students from across Europe focusing on the importance of youth mobility; and working with the University's Lead Chaplain to host Eid prayers for several hundred Muslims from the University and wider community.
Katie (far left) at the Global Goals Summit during Durham Global Week
Her approach to inclusivity, diversity and respect has led her to work closely with College student reps to develop inclusive welcome and orientation programmes, including encouraging international students to participate in day trips in and around the North East to nurture greater understanding of Durham’s region and the UK in general. She also works in conjunction with Stephenson’s Junior Common Room and Middle Common Room on events throughout the year, like Lunar New Year, Holi, and Ramadan, ensuring they are respectful to different cultures.
Katie’s influence throughout Stephenson is evident, with her positivity, global outlook, and inspirational leadership infusing College ethos and its student body. Her initiatives, events, and activities not only help international students to settle in, but also foster an inclusive, diverse, respectful College environment, in which mutual understanding between students of different beliefs, ideas, and cultures is encouraged.
Inspiration throughout the University and wider community
Outside of College, Katie contributes to the University-wide Vice-Principal’s network and various working groups, sharing her insights, knowledge, and experience of living and working in other countries, together with working with a diverse range of students.
Within the local community, she supports initiatives between the University and Durham City. A recent outreach project around Lunar New Year traditions saw Stephenson students volunteering in local schools sharing songs and dances, and culminating in a celebratory event in Durham Town Hall.
Reaction to winning the award
“Congratulations to my fellow nominees and joint award winner for making Durham the best it can be in their respective areas! It was a huge surprise to receive this award and to be recognised by colleagues does mean a great deal.
“Everything we do has a cause and effect, whether it’s something small or great, our actions and how we treat others contribute to and shape our communities in one way or another. I’m very proud to work at a College which is values-led first and foremost, and which enables me to be myself and lead in my own way. I wouldn’t have received this award without the support of a wonderful community of staff and student colleagues who are all “on the same page” when it comes to fairness, respect and making sure everyone is included and celebrated.”