The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Professor Simon Tate

Professor of Higher Education


I’m a proud Mackem! Born in Sunderland, I’ve been a season ticket holder at the Stadium of Light since the 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 Professor of Higher Education 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, textbooks, and a report on transitions for the Higher Education Academy. My latest textbook "Studying Geography at University: How to Succeed in the First Year of your New Degree"  was co-written with Prof Peter Hopkins and published by Routledge in 2020.

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 received Newcastle University's Vice Chancellor's Education Excellence Award and in 2020 I was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by AdvanceHE (formally the HEA). Both awards are recognition of my impact on teaching and learning at Newcastle University, nationally and internationally. 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:

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

Dissertations (Geo3099): module leader, lectures and one-to-one dissertation mentoring.

Geopolitics (Geo3102): lectures and seminars.

In addition, I 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 also co-convened the Geography Student-Staff Committee, alongside a student chair, from 2008-2017.

I am 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). I was also 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.

Nationally,  I deliver the Royal Geographical Society's annual Postgraduates Who Teach workshops and I am a  member of the RGS Accreditation Panel for Undergraduate Degrees. I have also been the external member sitting on geography degree approval / validation panels.