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Vice-Chancellor: Professor Steven Spier

About Steven

Professor Steven Spier is Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University. An accomplished academic and leading advocate of the skills for innovation needed to drive economic growth, he originally joined Kingston University in 2012 as Dean of Kingston School of Art. Through his leadership, he enhanced the School's prominence as one of the top global providers of design and art education.

Steven's academic career has encompassed roles in a number of European cities. These include Zürich – at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zürich – and later in Hamburg as founding Vice-Chancellor of the HafenCity University, an institution of the built environment and metropolitan development. Steven has also served as head of the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Ulster in Belfast and head of the School of Architecture at Strathclyde University in Glasgow.

Acclaimed as an expert in contemporary Swiss architecture, Steven's published works include Swiss Made, named one of the books of the year by the Architects' Journal in 2003. Also a specialist in ballet choreography as a form of spatial organisation, he edited the first English-language book on renowned choreographer William Forsythe, William Forsythe and the Practice of Choreography. It Starts from Any Point.

A driving force in Kingston University's Future Skills campaign, Steven is held in high regard for his ground-breaking work championing the need for government, business and educators to work together to ensure graduates are equipped with the skills for innovation needed to invigorate the national economy.

Steven is currently a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Creative Industries Council. He was a founding director of the board of Architecture and Design Scotland and was named honorary fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland and of German body Bund Deutscher Architekten in recognition of his services to architecture education. He was a long-serving board member of Scottish Ballet and also sat on the board of Glasgow-based production house Cryptic.

Born in Montreal and raised in the United States, Steven holds a degree in philosophy from Haverford College, Philadelphia, and completed postgraduate studies at the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

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Responsibilities and portfolio areas

Under the Instrument and Articles of Government, Steven is the chief executive of Kingston University, responsible for advising the Board of Governors on the education, character and mission of the University and for the organisation, management and leadership of its staff. He carries out these responsibilities with the advice of colleagues from across the University and, particularly, the Senior Leadership Team.

Education and professional qualifications

  • 1989 Master of Architecture, Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles
  • 1981 Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Haverford College, Haverford, Philadelphia

Professional activity

  • 2012–present: RIBA and RSUA Design Awards Jury
  • 2011–present: The New Metropolis interdisciplinary journal published by HafenCity University, Advisory Board
  • 2010–present: Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, Panel of Academic Advisors
  • 2009–present: Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Peer Review College, Programme for Arts-based Research (PEEK)
  • 2009–11: The University of Brighton, chief external examiner, BA and Master in Architecture
  • 2008–present: The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Quadrennial Evaluation Committee, Institute of Architecture
  • 2006–09: The University of Westminster, London, external examiner, Diploma and Master in Architecture
  • 2006–11: London Metropolitan University, external examiner, Master of Arts Cities, Design & Regeneration
  • 2006: Architektur Olympiade Hamburg, Jury Member (Fachjury)
  • 2005: RIBA Design Awards Jury, RIAS Representative
  • 2005–present: AHRA (Architectural Humanities Research Association) board member
  • 2005–present: Journal for Education in the Built Environment (JEBE), editorial board
  • 2003: AHRA (Architectural Humanities Research Association), founder member
  • 2002–05: The University of Sheffield, external examiner, BA and Diploma in Architecture
  • 2001–04: Kingston University, London, external examiner, MA Art and Space

Contact us

Kingston University
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 9000