Professor Shane O'Neill

Senior Vice-Principal

Executive, University Executive Office

Portrait photo for staff profile Shane O'Neill
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As Senior Vice-Principal, 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, the Vice-Principals and leaders of our professional services to ensure that we deliver on our strategic plan to be an engine of positive social transformation, from local to global contexts, by 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.

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, which secured a Bronze Award in 2019, he provided honest and committed leadership, such that Keele has been recognised as a sector leader in its efforts to become a strongly anti-racist institution. Shane was also Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences during his time at Keele. In that role, he oversaw important changes in programme development, the creation of the Keele institute for Social Inclusion, the transformation of the new Keele Business School and the emergence of a new School of Social, Political and Global Studies.

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.

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 a Lecturer in the Department of Government of Manchester University before joining Queen’s University Belfast in 1994. Shane’s 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.