University of Exeter Vice Chancellor

By | 6th June 2017

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University of Exeter Vice Chancellor

University of Exeter Vice Chancellor Sir StevenĀ  Murray Smith

Sir Steven Murray Smith, FAcSS, FRSA (born 4 February 1952) is an international relations theorist, academic, and senior university manager. He is the current Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter and Professor of International Studies.

Early life

Smith was born on 4 February 1952 in Norwich, England. He attended the City of Norwich School, then a grammar school, on Eaton Road, Norwich. His parents were from working class backgrounds. At a parents evening, his form master told his parents about their son that “people like you don’t go to university”. The school afterwards suggested finding a low-skilled job for him.

Smith gained a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Politics and International Studies in 1973, a Master of Science (MSc) degree in International Studies in 1974 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) in International Relations in 1978, all from the University of Southampton. BY: Himanshu Bhushan.

University of Exeter Vice Chancellor Sir StevenĀ  Murray Smith

Academic career

From 1976 to 1978, Smith lectured at Huddersfield Polytechnic. From 1979 to 1992, he lectured at University of East Anglia, becoming Director of the Centre for Public Choice Studies at UEA. He was a professor at the university from 1990 to 1992. From 1992 to 2002, he was Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs), as well Professor of International Politics at University of Wales, Aberystwyth and Head of the Department of International Politics.

In October 2002, he succeeded Geoffrey Holland as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter. When, under his Vice-Chancellorship Edzard Ernst was involved in a dispute with Prince Charles about the Smallwood Report into complementary medicine, the prince’s secretary Sir Michael Peat put pressure on the University to discipline Ernst for publicizing his reasons for dissociating himself from the report. After being subjected to a “very unpleasant” investigation by the University of Exeter, in which Ernst was “treated as guilty until proven innocent”, the university accepted his innocence but continued, in his view, to treat him as “persona non grata”. All fundraising for his unit ceased, forcing him to use up its core funding, allowing its 15 staff to drift away, and leading to his early retirement.

In the period 2003 to 2004, he was President of the International Studies Association (ISA), only the second non-American to receive this honour. Between 2006 and 2008 he was Chair of the Board of the 1994 Group. From August 2009 to August 2011, he was the President of Universities UK and remains on the board.

In 2012, Sir Steve Smith, together with the Vice-Chancellor of Plymouth University announced the demerger of Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, and the establishment of the University of Exeter Medical School and the Plymouth University “Peninsula” Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.