My name is Alastair Smith. Originating from a small village in Shropshire (UK), I distinctly remember not really knowing what university really was at the age of 16. Following the influence of an inspiring History teacher, I followed his lead to study History and Politics; and, as far as I know, became the first person in my family to experience Higher Education. Here I made some seriously fundamental realisations about power and injustice in the world, and my fascination with knowledge led me to an MPhil in International Development Studies, and then a PhD in Geography and Planning.
Along the road I developed a defining passion for teaching and learning, and now have the great fortune to have a full-time and permanent role as a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department for Global Sustainable Development, School for Cross-faculty Studies. Here I teach around a philosophy of human development: as the collective endeavour to create opportunities for all people – irrespective of their time and place of birth, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender etc – to create sustainable lives, that they themselves have reason to value.
I believe that those with higher opportunities and capacities should do what they can to support those who are less well placed, and that collective action is one of the best ways to socialise this.
I have been a UCU member since I started working full time in 2012, became School Rep in 2017 and was elected to the Committee in February 2019.
As Casework Coordinator, I’m likely be the first point of contact for UCU members who would like support at work. I’ll help you understand the options that might exist, and hopefully help you manage your understanding of possible outcomes. In most cases, I’ll then pass you to the caseworker who is best equipped to guide you through your situation.