Director of Studies and Vice-Principal of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (SMO) John Norman Macleod has been named at the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Herald Higher Education Awards.

Prior to his appointment, SMO was an independent college offering seasonal short courses in Gaelic language and culture, but today it offers five honours degrees as well as postgraduate courses and serves as the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture on the Isle of Skye.

A spokesman for City of Glasgow College, which sponsored the award, said: "Education is at the heart of everything we do and this event is a great way to celebrate the tremendous work and commitment of Scotland's universities and colleges.

"We would like to congratulate all the entrants and particularly like to pay tribute to John for winning the Lifetime Achievement Award which we were delighted to support this year."

The awards – which are also supported by QAA Scotland, Universities Scotland, Anderson Strathern, technology provider Jisc, City of Glasgow College, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), media company ABSOLUTE and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) – were hosted by Scottish broadcaster Sally Magnusson at an event at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow.

A native of Skye, Mr Macleod was first appointed lecturer in Gaidhealtachd Studies (Highlands and Islands Studies) in 1983, having previously taught history at Plockton High School and was promoted to Head of Studies in 1987.

Since 1998 he has acted as Co-ordinator for the UHI Gaelic and Related Studies Scheme, which includes the Gaelic undergraduate and post-graduate provision, and was a UHI Subject Network Leader for Gaelic and other Contemporary Languages from 2003 - 2010. Currently a member of the following UHI committees - Humanities and Gaelic Faculty Executive, Gaelic Committee, Academic Planning Committee and the Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee.

A member of the SMO Senior Management Team and the Board of Management he also chairs a number of academic committees at the College. Member of organising committee for a number of conferences and has presented conference papers and was a member of various external committees, particularly related to Gaelic and to widening participation in education. Currently is a member of the Scottish Government’s Excellence Group for Gaelic.