Back Back

A royal honour as University staff awarded MBEs


Two pioneering staff members at the University of Wolverhampton have been honoured with an MBE by King Charles at Windsor Castle.

Clare Dickens, Academic Lead for Mental Health and Wellbeing at the University and Independent Chair of Wolverhampton’s Suicide Prevention Stakeholders Forum, has received an MBE for services to education and improving suicide awareness. Clare led the development of the award-winning ‘Three Minutes to Save a Life’ programme, which aims to give people the confidence and understanding required to tackle issues surrounding suicide, self-harm, and emotional resilience.

Clare was a mental health nurse working in the NHS before she entered Higher Education and began working at the University of Wolverhampton in 2014, as the University’s first strategic lead for mental health and wellbeing. 

Clare’s focus was divided between both responding to people’s needs for mental health and wellbeing support, and promoting preventative measures. It was the combination of these two focuses that led Clare and her team to develop the training strategy ‘Three Minutes to Save a Life.’ 

The scheme has gained national recognition in the Times Higher Education Awards and was named one of the UK’s top 100 breakthroughs in the UUK Made at Uni campaign. The programme has also been featured as a case study in national guidance such as the UUK and Papyrus Suicide Safer Universities, and within a topic briefing for the Office for Students (OfS.)

Clare also chairs Wolverhampton’s Suicide Prevention Stakeholders Forum and has contributed to fundraising events, organised community learning and teaching conferences, as well as working closely with Wolverhampton Public Health for a city-wide approach to suicide prevention.

Clare received her honourable award, presented by King Charles, last month.



Clare_MBEClare Dickens, MBE said: “It was such an honour to be awarded an MBE, to know that someone took the time to gather the details about the work I have been leading on over the last decade and submit that to be reviewed by a panel of experts in those respective fields, is truly humbling. To be recognised by the Queen, and then be greeted by the King was a detail that adds some gravity to the experience.

“The day itself was one I will never forget, and to have my husband and two sons present to witness me receiving my medal made it more special. I did reflect for a brief moment just before my name was announced, on how many wonderful people I have met and had the privilege of working with over the years, as a nurse and as an academic. Those reflections also included some of the challenges I have had to navigate as well as the opportunities I have been afforded.

“The University of Wolverhampton was infused into each of those stories and landmarks in my career, and I took great pride in discussing our University with the King and highlighting what a special place it is.”


Louise Rhodes, British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreter at the University, has also been honoured with an MBE for services to education and the Deaf community. Louise has played a key role in making sure deaf students at the University have the same level of education provision as other students. Her work has helped create a foundation of support that will benefit students for decades to come.

By providing interpreting and note-taking services to students, alongside training internal and external candidates in deaf awareness and note-taking for deaf people; Louise has played a key role in making sure deaf students at the University have the same level of education provision as other students.

As well as her in-class support for students and training in the region, Louise supports the Deaf community, providing assistance and interpreting at University events such as graduation ceremonies, open days, Pride, Student Union Awards, the annual House of Lords event, and Staff Awards, to name a few.

Louise’s support of the Deaf community in Wolverhampton does not stop when her workday ends. She has accompanied students on course trips all over the United Kingdom and abroad and has interpreted at international conferences. As a result of this hard work and dedication, Louise has been nominated for various awards including being part of a team shortlisted for a Times Higher Education Award.

During the lockdown Louise was actively involved in supporting staff and students via Deaf awareness training online, undertaking welfare calls for nominated students and set-up a weekly ‘BSL lunchtime club’ for staff to learn and practise British Sign Language.

Louise received her MBE in November 2022, at King Charles’ first investiture ceremony, as monarch.





Louise Rhodes, MBE said: “It was such a huge honour to be awarded my MBE - I was humbled to think that I was considered worthy of such a prestigious title. However, I couldn’t have done my work without the support of my wonderful colleagues and to have been a small part of the University of Wolverhampton’s pioneering support of Deaf students over the years is a real honour.

“To have been included in the Queen’s last honours list and then to receive my award from King Charles at Windsor Castle at his first investiture ceremony since becoming King, also made the day even more special and truly memorable to me and my family.”


Related Stories