Shearer West

Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Nottingham

Professor Shearer West is the seventh Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Nottingham.

Shearer is a Professor of Art History and has held a number of significant leadership roles in universities and higher education. She obtained her B.A. degree in Art History and English at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and her Ph.D. in Art History at St. Andrews. She worked as an editor for the Grove Dictionary of Art before taking up her first academic post in art history at the University of Leicester.

In 1996, Shearer moved to the University of Birmingham as Head of the History of Art Department, then Head of the School of Historical Studies, and Acting Head of the College of Arts and Law. She was awarded a personal chair in 2000.

In 2008 Shearer was appointed Director of Research at the Arts and Humanities Research Council where she also chaired the Research Directors Group for Research Councils UK. She was appointed Head of the Humanities Division at Oxford in 2011, where she oversaw the launch of the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) and the Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Programme in the Humanities. She was appointed Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield in 2015.

Shearer has authored and edited many articles and nine books including Portraiture, The visual arts in Germany 1897-1940: Utopia and Despair, and Fin De Siecle: Art and society in an age of uncertainty. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, the Higher Education Academy and the Royal Historical Society, and has held two visiting Fellowships at Yale University.

Shearer also has a number of international roles, most recently acting as main panel chair for the national research assessment exercise for Humanities in Norway and serving on the steering group to introduce impact into the Excellence in Research (ERA) exercise in Australia.

She has also represented the UK on the Science Europe Humanities Scientific Committee, and has been a jurist for the Spinoza Prize in the Netherlands and the Odysseus and Solvay prizes in Belgium, as well as an Advisory Board member for the Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Vienna.

Shearer grew up in a small town in southwest Virginia, where her father was a factory floor supervisor and mother a high school teacher. She was the first in her family to attend University.

She is a strong advocate for the UK’s outstanding cultural offering, in particular classic music concerts, theatre, opera, museums and galleries; is an avid reader of contemporary fiction and non-fiction; and enjoys running, swimming and cycling.



Session Plenary session: Running a research university in an era of austerity politics and laissez faire economics. Sponsored by WorkTribe
Room Pentland
Time 09:30 - 11:00
Date Wednesday 6th June, 2018
Style Plenary
Speakers Ehsan Masood - Knight Science Journalism Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Goldston - Director of the MIT Washington Office
Shearer West - Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Nottingham