Alasdair Smith is a professor of economics and former Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sussex and former Chair of the 1994 Group. He is a noted international economist whose studies (often developed in concert with fellow economist Tony Venables) have been used by the European Union.
Smith was born on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland and is married to Sherry Ferdman, an Associate Tutor at Sussex. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Oxford University. He later taught for 17 years at the London School of Economics before moving to the University of Sussex in 1981, and becoming Vice-Chancellor in 1998.
His pro-top-up fees stance resulted in the University of Sussex Students' Union calling for a vote of no-confidence in his leadership in a student election in February 2003. The members of the student union voted against Smith in large numbers. Smith later referred to the vote of no-confidence as "a clever piece of electioneering by some of the candidates standing for election as Students' Union officers".
From November 2005, the University of Sussex Students' Union has been conducting the Sort US Out campaign, which began at the Annual General Meeting of the Union with a vote of no-confidence in the University Council and senior management. A petition with 1,311 signatures supporting the Sort US Out campaign was presented to the University Council on 16 December 2005. The campaign calls for changes in senior management, especially since the "Investing in Excellence" paper was released, suggesting what is felt to be the closure of the Chemistry department. On 27 March 2006 he testified before an evidence session of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology, with regards to the proposed change in provision for chemistry. On the same day, he appeared on the Channel 4 News programme to defend the possibility that Sussex would close its Chemistry department. It was since decided by the University Senate that the chemistry department will remain open following lobbying from staff and students. The department has since been ranked number one in UK by the Guardian University Guide for 2008 though student recruitment remains a problem. Smith announced in November 2006 that he was to stand down at the end of August 2007. His successor, Professor Michael Farthing, took over as Vice-Chancellor on 1 September 2007, while Smith remained at Sussex as a professor (Economics). Sussex has since been one of the Universities in the headlines due to financial pressures due to underfunding with staff redundancies and future department closures imminent.
Smith was a member of the Prison Service Pay Review Body from 2001 to 2004. In March 2010, he became Chair of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body.
Famous quotes containing the word smith:
“How it infuriates a bigot, when he is forced to drag out his dark convictions!”
—Logan Pearsall Smith (18651946)