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Personal profile


I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). My current teaching is around policy development. I have broader teaching interests is residential child care, ethics and social work theory and a particular interest in professional education.


I was a practitioner and manager in residential child care settings for almost 20 years before entering academia. My first academic post was at the University of Strathclyde, where I set up and taught a Masters programme in residential child care. In 2005, I moved to the University of Edinburgh as lecturer, and subsequently, senior lecturer, in social work. I served as head of social work there from 2013 - 2017. I joined the University of Dundee as Professor of Social Work in 2017. My wife and I are respite and foster carers, which maintains a link with direct care practice.


I have a broad range of research and writing interests. I have published three books on residential child care, one of which is translated into Japanese, and two edited volumes on moral panics and on social work in a changing Scotland. I am writing a further book on the stories of boys (now men) who were brought up in a residential school in the 1980s. I regularly publish articles in high ranking journals. My writing and research interests lie in the areas of care and upbringing, social pedagogy, social work ethics and theorising social work. I have a particular current interest in historical abuse in residential child care.

I would be interested in supervising PhDs in any of the above areas, or more broadly, through negotiation.

Education/Academic qualification


Doctor of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh


Master of Education, University of Edinburgh


University of Stirling


Master of Arts, University of St Andrews

Oct 1977Jul 1981

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  • 16 Similar Profiles
social work Social Sciences
Social Work Medicine & Life Sciences
social pedagogy Social Sciences
child protection Social Sciences
social worker Social Sciences
abuse Social Sciences
child care Social Sciences
social welfare Social Sciences

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Research Output 2004 2019

Social pedagogy and its relevance for Scottish social welfare

Smith, M. & Monteux, S., 5 Jun 2019, Glasgow: Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services. 16 p. (Insights: A Series of Evidence Summaries; no. 49)

Research output: Book/ReportOther report

Open Access
social pedagogy
social welfare
child care

The politics and ethics of research into ‘wicked’ social problems: The case of Jimmy Savile at Duncroft

Smith, M., 30 Jul 2019, Designing and Conducting Research in Social Science, Health and Social Care. McSweeney, F. & Williams, D. (eds.). 1 ed. Taylor & Francis, 13 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Social Problems
moral philosophy
economic research

Ethics for Social Work

Smith, M., 1 Mar 2018, Social Work in a Changing Scotland. Cree, V. E. & Smith, M. (eds.). Abingdon: Routledge, (Student Social Work).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


Smith, M. & Cree, V. E., 1 Mar 2018, Social Work in a Changing World. Smith, M. & Cree, V. E. (eds.). Abingdon: Routledge, (Student Social Work).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Relationship-based practice: emergent themes in social work literature

Ingram, R. & Smith, M., 26 Jan 2018, United Kingdom: Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services. 16 p. (IRISS Insights; no. 41)

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Open Access
social work