Professor Shane O’Neill assumed the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean in September 2016 when he moved to Keele from Queen’s University Belfast. As Pro Vice-Chancellor for Advancement and Global Engagement he provides strategic leadership at institutional level in development, supporter-engagement, alumni relations and the promotion of the profile of the University in a global context. As Executive Dean he leads the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (http://www.keele.ac.uk/hss/), taking overall responsibility for: the strategic management of the Faculty’s research and education portfolios; ensuring a high-quality experience for all students and members of staff; furthering external partnerships and collaborations that serve the needs of our local communities and the wider world; and supporting colleagues in the Faculty to maximise the impact of their educational and scholarly activities.
Professor O’Neill held a Lectureship at the Department of Government in Manchester University before joining Queen’s University Belfast in 1994. He became Professor of Political Theory there in 2002 and was a Head of School from 2001 to 2009. Twice in those years he was asked to take responsibility for the creation of newly expanded, multidisciplinary Schools. He completed an extended term as Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen’s from 2009 to 2015. During those years he also took on a range of formal University leadership roles including that of University Envoy to the Americas. He was Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania in 2004/5 and has held Visiting Professorships at Hong Kong University, Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.
As an undergraduate Shane O’Neill studied for a joint honours degree in History and Politics at University College Dublin. He remained as a Postgraduate Scholar at UCD and graduated with an MA in Moral and Political Philosophy. For his doctoral studies at Glasgow University, he completed a dissertation advocating a theoretical account of justice that is sensitive both to pluralism within modern societies and to cultural diversity internationally. His primary research interests continue to focus on debates in contemporary moral and political philosophy, specifically in clarifying the demands of justice and outlining conditions of democratic legitimacy both within the state and beyond it. He has sought over many years to develop a critical-theoretical perspective on struggles of marginalised groups against injustice and related demands for recognition, particularly in contexts of national diversity. In recent times, he has been working towards an account of global justice based on a reconsideration of the concept of decolonization. He has been the first supervisor for 16 PhD students who have completed dissertations on a range of topics in political theory and critical philosophy.