Professor Shane O'Neill

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost

Executive, University Executive Office

Shane O'Neill
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As Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Provost, Shane is responsible for the University’s academic performance and for the ways in which each of its schools contributes to the globally recognised excellence of the University of Dundee. He manages all of the Deans of School and he is also responsible for the academic planning process, working with others to ensure that this is appropriately robust and integrated. He works closely with the Principal, other UEG members and leaders across the institution to ensure that we deliver on our strategic plan to be an engine of positive social transformation, from local to global contexts, achieving excellence in education, research and in our economic and social impact. He is particularly focused on ensuring that we have an effective strategy for managing and supporting people in ways that allow them to use their talents and to realise their full potential. Shane took up this role in October 2021, having served for over six years on the University Executive of Queen’s University Belfast, followed by five years on the Executive of Keele University in Staffordshire, England.

Shane is a renowned political theorist whose research has explored the demands of justice and democratic legitimacy within the constitutional state and beyond it, at global level. He has been a Professor of Political Theory since 2002 and was Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania in 2004/5. He has also held Visiting Professorships at Hong Kong University, Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. Shane’s first degree was a BA in History and Politics followed by an MA in Moral and Political Philosophy, both undertaken in his home city at University College Dublin. He then secured a Postgraduate Scholarship to study for a PhD in Political Theory at the University of Glasgow. His first academic post was as Lecturer in the Department of Government of Manchester University before joining Queen’s University Belfast. A number of the research projects he led there, for over twenty years, were focused on delivering progress in the Northern Ireland peace process. A short selection of his publications is available below.

As Pro Vice-Chancellor for Planning at Advancement at Keele, Shane led a strategic process which transformed the structure of its academic job families and career pathways while also introducing a set of academic role expectations to support excellent performance at school and individual levels. He was also responsible for engagement with supporters and alumni at institutional level. As Co-Chair of the Race Equality Self-Assessment Team at Keele, he provided honest and committed leadership in seeking to ensure that Keele became a pro-actively anti-racist institution. Shane was also Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences during his time at Keele, and he established the Keele institute for Social Inclusion.

At Queen's, Shane was a Head of School from 2001 to 2009. Twice in those years he was asked to lead colleagues in creating newly expanded, multidisciplinary Schools. During his years as Dean of Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen's (2009 to 2015), he also undertook a range of formal University leadership roles including that of University Envoy to the Americas. During that period there was a marked improvement in the performance of the subjects in that broad Faculty across many key indicators of excellence in both education and research. As Dean, Shane led the establishment of the George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice and the William J. Clinton Leadership Institute at the Queen’s University Management School.

Selected publications

Books and Journal Special Issues

Recognition Theory as Social Research: Investigating the Dynamics of Social Conflict   (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), edited with Nicholas H. Smith. 

After the Nation? Critical Reflections on Nationalism and Postnationalism (Palgrave   Macmillan 2010), edited with Keith Breen. 

Political Theory and Social Hope, Special Issue of Critical Horizons, 9/4 (December 2008),   edited with Nicholas H. Smith. 

Recognition, Equality and Democracy, edited with Jurgen de Wispeleare and Cillian McBride   (Routledge 2008). Previously appeared as a special Issue of Irish Political Studies 22/4   (December 2007). 

Contemporary Social and Political Theory (Open University Press 1999), co-authored with   Fidelma Ashe, Alan Finlayson, Moya Lloyd, Iain MacKenzie and James Martin. 

Reconstituting Social Criticism: Political Morality in an Age of Scepticism (Palgrave Macmillan   and St.Martin’s Press 1999), edited with Iain MacKenzie. 

Impartiality in Context: Grounding Justice in a Pluralist World (State University of New York   Press 1997).