UWE awards honorary degree to Professor Steve Smith

Issue date: 22 November 2010


The University of the West of England will award the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Education to Professor Steve Smith in recognition of his significant contribution to the regional higher education agenda through his work with HERDA-SW (now Universities South West) and the Regional Development Agency.

The Honorary Degree will be conferred at the Awards Ceremony of the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences on Tuesday 23 November at 10.30 at Bristol Cathedral.

Born in 1952, Steve Smith graduated from Southampton University with a BSc Politics and International Studies in 1973. In 1974 he completed an MSc in International Studies, and in 1978 a PhD in International Relations, both also at Southampton University.

Steve Smith began lecturing in Politics in 1976 at Huddersfield Polytechnic. From this he went on to lecture in Politics at the University of East Anglia where, between 1979 and 1992, he held several posts including, Director of the Centre for Public Choice Studies and Professor of International Relations. In 1992 Steve Smith joined the University of Wales, Aberystwyth where, as Professor of International Relations, he served as Director of Research Training, Head of the Department of International Politics, and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs). In 2002 Professor Smith took up his current position as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter.

Steve Smith has made a substantial contribution to the development of the discipline of International Relations (IR), in particular in the areas of IR theory and methodology, foreign policy and security studies, and engaging with new departures in the field. He has written or edited 15 books, contributed 40 chapters and over 50 academic articles, and given over 150 academic presentations in 22 countries. He has also served on 16 journal editorial boards and on a large number of review and award panels.

Steve Smith's extensive contributions to the field of International Relations have been well recognised. In 1999 he was the first recipient of the Susan Strange award from the International Studies Association for the person who “most challenge(s) conventional wisdom and intellectual and organizational complacency in the international studies community”. In 2001 he became the second UK academic to be elected President of the International Studies Association in the USA. In 2007, he was awarded an Honorary Professorship at Jilin University in China, and in 2009 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

During his career Steve Smith has also held a number of prominent national and regional roles. He has served on a range of advisory groups, developing policy and strategy in the higher education sector in many areas, including the Student Experience, Research, and on Post Qualification Applications. From June 2007 until May 2010, he led for higher education on the former Prime Minister's National Council of Excellence in Education, which provided advice to Government about strategy and measures to achieve world-class education performance for all children and young people. He has also worked closely, as a Board Member, with the South West Regional Development Agency, and with the Labour Government's Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and the previous Department for Education and Skills.

Professor Smith commented, “I am delighted to receive this honour from the University of the West of England. This award recognises the achievement of so many of my colleagues and the provision of first class higher education, collaboration and partnerships in the south west.”

In 2004 he became a member of the Executive for the 1994 Group, serving as Chair of this University mission group between 2006 and 2009. In 2006 he became a board member of Universities UK (UUK), the representative organisation for the UK's universities. He went on to become Vice President and member of Executive Committee in 2007, and then President in 2009.

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