The Economics Network

Improving economics teaching and learning for over 20 years

Peter Smith, 1947 - 2024

Peter Smith

It is with great sadness that we are writing to let the Economics Network community know that Professor Peter Smith (University of Southampton) has passed away. We have shared a note from Peter’s wife Maureen, who many of you may have met at a previous DEE conference, below.

Peter was a hugely valued member of the economics education community and a supportive colleague to all of us. He has authored a number of handbook chapters for the Economics Network, which are still helping new and experienced staff with their teaching and assessment today. These include discussions of effective module and curriculum design, teaching development economics, and employing undergraduate dissertations in economics.

Peter was also founder and editor of the Economic Review with the late Barry McCormick, now on its 41st edition – a publication that Peter was still editing and providing feedback on in recent weeks. The magazine, aimed at A-level students, has informed and inspired young people in their economics studies for over four decades. Working with Peter on the magazine was a great pleasure and his support and guidance to fellow editors was invaluable.

In many ways Peter was at the forefront of what we would now term the ‘teaching track’, becoming the first teaching track professor in the UK (at the time his title was Professorial Teaching Fellow). Peter used his trailblazer position to support and mentor many of us in the teaching community.

He will be greatly missed, not only for his contributions as a colleague but also a friend to many of us (and for his excellent wine recommendations and travel stories)!

Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences go to Maureen and the rest of Peter’s family and friends.

Ashley Lait, Alvin Birdi and Hannah-Louise Holmes

Note from Maureen Smith

As Peter’s wife, it is with overwhelming sadness that I have to let you know that Peter passed away suddenly in hospital on Thursday 25 January, two days before his 77th birthday. He spent four days in hospital and it was a shock not only to us but also the medical team when he died. There are no words to express the sorrow we feel and what an enormous gap he’s going to leave in our family’s lives and those of others.

Peter was deeply thoughtful, with a high intellect, many accomplishments and academic successes, an author and writer for the next generation of economists, a talented musician, enjoying his years as a member of the University of Southampton Philharmonic choir, and a fearsome fast bowler for the Economics Department (in his younger days!). As a senior member of the University he made important contributions not only to the whole University but in mentoring other staff and supporting colleagues. His compassion and respect for others did not just extend to his family but to his students and colleagues during his 40 years at Southampton University, for his PhD students (several of whom are now Professors themselves around the world) and even wider to those who are suffering in today’s troubled world.

With the late Barry McCormick, he founded and edited the successful Economic Review for 40 years, his final task editing proofs shortly before he died.

Apart from his work, his passions were foreign travel, classical music, art and literature not to forget wine and chairing the University Wine Club. After his retirement, we crammed in many foreign cruises and visits abroad. His message to us would be that life is precious and you must chase your dreams.

The future is going to be hard but I and our two sons know that Peter was grateful for all his years at the University and his interactions with staff at all levels and with his fellow authors and publishers. You will have your own memories of Peter and we thank you for any part you paid in his life.