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The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Malaysia

Vice-Chancellor's Award for Malaysia-based Academic

Published: 2 August 2013

Congratulations to Professor Neil Stephen who has received a 2013 Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award from the University of Southampton.

Professor Stephen was presented with his award during graduation ceremonies in Southampton. The awards enable the University to recognise and celebrate the inspirational, innovative and high quality teaching and student learning experience provided by our staff during the academic year.

Professor Neil Stephen

Fellow academic Dr Anna Barney nominated Professor Stephen for the award as “one of the key lecturers on the top-listed Mechanical Engineering degree at Southampton for the last 30 years”.

“He is exceptionally highly regarded by the students both past and present,” Dr Barney continued. “Neil is an academic who believes totally in the importance of teaching and is an ‘exceptional’ teacher. The word ‘exceptional’ is not used lightly here; if a survey were taken of all the Mechanical Engineering students over the last 30 years, to nominate the best lecturer, it would surely be Neil Stephen.”

Since 2011, Professor Stephen has been Head of Academic Affairs in Malaysia where he is also the programme director for the delivery of the University’s undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. In this role he has coordinated the first ever delivery of a University of Southampton Engineering degree outside of the UK. This has included local Malaysian approvals, UK approvals and a large proportion of the programme delivery.

Last year, Professor Stephen received the first Doak Prize for an outstanding research journal paper. Professor Stephen’s paper On Energy Harvesting from Ambient Vibration was originally published in the Journal of Sound and Vibration in 2006 and has been cited more than 260 times.

The journal article was inspired by speculative conversations Professor Stephen had with colleagues on how a stent used in cardiology to open arteries might in the future be designed to absorb energy from blood flow and to use that energy to power a heart pacemaker.

Neil says ”There are numerous examples of University of Southampton engineering research having shaped the present: fibre optics and the internet, quiet aircraft and Diesel engines are now taken for granted. But the future will be as much shaped by our undergraduate students as our research – if only because there are more of them than our academic staff, and they are further away from retirement! I am delighted to have received this Teaching Award – but my real pleasure has always been to interact with such intelligent students, both at University of Southampton, and most recently at our Malaysia campus.”

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