The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Simon Tate

School Director of Excellence in Learning and Teaching (DELT)


I’m a proud Mackem! Born in Sunderland, I still live in Sunderland, and I’ve been a season ticket holder at the Stadium of Light since the late 1990s (before that at Roker Park). That said, in all other ways I consider myself an honorary Geordie. I first entered the Geography Department at Newcastle University as an undergraduate student in 1994 and I'm incredibly lucky to work in the same department today as a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography and as the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology's Director of Excellence in Learning and Teaching (DELT).

I specialise in two (completely unrelated) things. Firstly, as a former school teacher, I’m very interested in the social and academic transition from school to university geography - particularly how these are experienced by widening participation students. Most recently I have been a corresponding member of Geography's A-level Content Advisory Board (ALCAB), a body established by the government to lead the reform of A-levels. I am also an advisor to several A-level exam boards on this issue. I have written multiple transitions related research articles, a textbook, and a report on transitions for the Higher Education Academy. If you are interested, please have a look at my personal website for more info.

My second area of interest lies in political geography – particularly British foreign policy and the so-called “Special Relationship” between the UK and the USA.  I seem to spend a lot of time in darkened rooms in the Public Records Office in Kew, looking at old government documents and thinking about how Britain's past geopolitical strategy influences current British foreign policy.  In 2012 my single authored monograph “A Special Relationship? British Foreign Policy in the Era of American Hegemony” was published by Manchester University Press.



In 2018 I won the Vice Chancellor's Education Excellence Award in recognition of my impact on teaching and learning across the university. I have also been nominated by students three times for the Newcastle University Student Union’s Teaching Excellence Awards. My innovative approach to teaching can be evidenced by the fact that I have been awarded four Newcastle University Teaching Innovation Fund Awards.

I currently lead and / or teach on the following geography modules at Newcastle University:

Geographical Study Skills (Geo1096): module leader, lectures and seminars

Doing Geographical Research (Geo2111): module leader, lectures and seminars

Geopolitics (Geo3102): lectures

Dissertations (Geo3099): dissertation mentor.

In addition, I currently convene Geography's Student-Staff Committee and lead geography's subject strand of the PARTNERS Assessed Summer School for widening participation students.

From 2008-2015 I was Senior Tutor for Geography, overseeing the pastoral care of all geography undergraduate students at Newcastle University. I fulfilled the same role for geography's MA students in 2017-18.

I am also committed to supporting the teaching and scholarship of other staff. I mentor new staff through Newcastle University's Certificate in Advanced Studies in Academic Practice (CASAP) and observe their teaching. I also mentor staff who are in the process of applying for Associate Fellowship or Fellowship status of Advance HE (formally the HEA). Previously, I ran the Royal Geographical Society's annual Postgraduates Who Teach Workshop in London, with the aim of improving the quality of the teaching delivered by geography postgraduates employed by UK HEIs.  Most recently, I was a founder member of the HASS Faculty's new Pedagogies of Scholarship and Teaching (PoST) Group. Funded by the Faculty, the group's aim is to improve the quality and quantity of teaching-related publications produced by the Faculty's teaching-focused staff.

Finally, I am a member of the University's Programme Approval Committee, Student Disciplinary Committee and an Appeal Adjudicator. Nationally, I am a member of the Royal Geographical Society's Accreditation Panel for Undergraduate Geography Degrees. I have also acted as the external member sitting on geography degree approval / validation panels.