Professor Sir Steve Smith

Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Exeter


Professor Sir Steve Smith has been Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter since October 2002. He was previously Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and Professor of International Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, as well as Head of the Department of International Politics, and Director of the Centre for Public Choice Studies at the University of East Anglia.

Sir Steve is a graduate of the University of Southampton and holds a BSc in Politics and International Studies, an MSc in International Studies and a PhD in International Relations. He was made an Honorary DSc of the University of Southampton in 2004, was awarded an Honorary Professorship by Jilin University in 2007, in 2010 was made an Honorary DEd of the University of the West of England and an Honorary Fellow of Aberystwyth University, and in 2011 he was awarded on Honorary Fellowship by the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. In 2009 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

He has written or edited 15 books, over 100 academic papers and has given over 170 academic presentations in 22 countries. In 2001 he became only the second UK academic to be elected President of the International Studies Association in the USA. In 2000 he was elected Academician of the Academy of the Learned Societies in the Social Sciences and in 1999 was the recipient of the Susan Strange Award of the International Studies Association for the person who has most challenged the received wisdom in the profession.

Sir Steve is currently Chair of the Supporting Professionalism in Admissions Programme (SPA), and is a member of the UCAS Board. He was President of Universities UK (UUK) – the representative body for the executive heads of UK universities – from 2009-2011, and remains a member of the UUK Board.

In addition, Sir Steve is a Board member of the 1994 Group of Universities; Member of the British Council’s UK-US Higher Education Policy Forum; Member of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) Advisory Group; Member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) Financial Sustainability Strategy Group; Member of the Times Higher Education (THE) Editorial Board, and Member of the General Advisory Council for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT).
From June 2007 until May 2010, he led for higher education on the 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.

In the South West, Sir Steve’s appointments include membership of the South West of England Regional Development Agency Board.

Related speakers

Professor Gina Rippon

Professor of Cognitive NeuroImaging, Aston University

Sharon White

Chief Executive of Ofcom

Professor Kimberley Scharf

Head of the Department of Economics, University of Birmingham

Chris Keates

General Secretary, NASUWT

Rt Hon Ed Vaizey

MP & Former Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries

Justine Thornton

Environmental Law Barrister