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Photo of Associate Professor Dr Deborah Goodwin OBE

Associate Professor Dr Deborah Goodwin OBE

Honorary Associate Professor

Deborah permanently joins the University in September 2019. She was invited to return to her alumna University so that Exeter students can experience and benefit from her considerable knowledge and experience in Negotiation, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. She is an applied, practical academic whose career has seen her draw upon her considerable academic knowledge to develop applied skills courses and training for student-practitioners. She produces and delivers informative, lively and engaging sessions to build informed skill sets.

Her doctorate is in Negotiation, and she studied for this at the Department of Politics at the University of Reading. Her ground-breaking research in negotiation in conflict contexts has been described as seminal by national and international academics, and as the leading authority in this context.

She focuses her knowledge, research and lecturing to help those who work in difficult and complex environments to build peace and dialogue. She also writes, creates and runs unique training simulations for groups up to 100 strong, which allow delegates to experience complex and ambiguous real-world contexts, and to apply practical frameworks for professional decision-making, problem-solving and negotiating.

In 2009 the United Nations awarded her a Commendation in recognition of her voluntary negotiation work in Cyprus since 2000. This is a rare accolade for a civilian. She estimates she has trained and advised about 10000 peacekeepers to date.

In 2013 she was elected to the Board of the Jean Monnet Association, Paris, and remains the first UK academic ever to have been awarded this distinction. (The Association recognises contributions in the international field of diplomacy).

In 2007 she was named as 'an extraordinary woman' working in the field of conflict resolution by PeaceDirect NGO, UK.

She is also a qualified crisis negotiator and was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2017.

From September 2019 she is joining the University of Exeter to design and deliver new postgraduate Modules in Applied Negotiation skills and Applied Analytics in a post-conflict environment. Exeter has bestowed an Honorary Associate Professor status on her.

In July 2019 she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Reading. This distinction is in recognition of her significant work in the field of negotiation and diplomacy. She also dedicated this award to all those who work for peace.

Her core motto is 'Be tough on the problem, not the people', and stresses she will never stop learning as life and people have so much to teach us.

Deborah's taught PG modules are offered to inter-disciplinary students. If you are studying IR, Sociology, Psychology, Politics, Data analysis, Law, Philosophy, Business... then these modules will empower your applied knowledge in your chosen field

POLM159163 student feedback Dec 2019

Deborah is the best teacher I have ever had, and this has been the highlight of my entire study journey (here at Exeter and before). She's knowledgeable, engaging and built a personal relationship with everyone in the class very quickly. It's clear she as committed to teaching and learning as we are as her students - I've never had a lecturer like that before. It's been a privilege to learn with her.

The work around skills to interact directly with people was my favourite element of the module (listening, understanding what motivates people etc.) and completely transformed how I view and interact with people forever. However, every element of the module was interesting - there wasn't a moment where I was bored or not learning something new.

This module has provided me with a wide analytical toolkit which I have been able to use to help understand and improve my personal negotiation skillset, and can also be utilised to evaluate a wide-range of negotiation contexts and case studies. It has been incredibly practically interesting and helpful.

I don't exaggerate when I say this was among the best, most useful and most interesting modules I have ever done in my masters or bachelors

Thank you so much Dr Goodwin for being such an excellent seminar tutor; you are a real inspiration and have lit a passion under me for this wonderful subject, which I hope to continue to work with throughout my academic career. I am so grateful for your help, advice and kindness.

The skills-based work on listening, understanding what motivates people to behave in the ways that they do and body language which is already, and will definitely continue to, shape how I am interacting with others. Also, the pointers and direction to keep looking for further independent study - the module's over but my learning from it isn't.

From Year 19/20 her taught PG Modules are (see Teaching tab also):

'Applied Skills: becoming an effective negotiator' (30 & 15 credit options) Term 1
POLM159 Q-Step Applied Skills: becoming an effective Negotiator (30 credits) Deborah Goodwin OBE T1
POLM163 Q-Step Applied Skills: becoming an effective Negotiator (15 credits) Deborah Goodwin OBE T1

'Applied Analytics: understanding self and others in a post-conflict world' (30 & 15 credit options) Term 2
POLM164 Q-Step Applied Analytics (30 credits)-understanding self and others in a post-conflict world Deborah Goodwin OBE T2
POLM165 Q-Step Applied Analytics (15 credits)- understanding self and others in a post-conflict world Deborah Goodwin OBE T2



Research group links

Research interests

My current research interests centre on analysing the behavioural aspects of Negotiation and Influence.

In addition, assessing the core behaviours in conflict contexts and modelling these complexities to gauge viable option creation.

My constant focus is designing & developing training courses for multiple context stakeholders (academic/business

I have been tasked recently to undertake some new developmental work for the UoE Innovation Centre (SEED project)

Research supervision

I would be able to offer support and guidance for research in the following areas (subject to prior discussion & agreement):


Conflict Resolution: case-studies/techniques/analysis


Influence and Persuasion

International Diplomacy and conflict de-escalation techniques

Behavioural aspects of Negotiation and Influence

Peacekeeping and non-kinetic tactics

I have experience in supervising doctoral students, and have also been an external PhD examiner

Other information

Other areas of interest:

Psychology of Leadership

Heuristics and Biases

Thinking about Thinking

Decision-making:techniques and processes

Problem-Solving:techniques and processes

Subconscious Thinking

Understand how to engage with and influence others: negotiation, active listening skills, influencers, behaviours, styles, option creation

Changing behaviours and attitudes:techniques and processes

Personal Leadership Strategies: self-presentationand confidence, language and discourse, developing presence and impact

Conflict Resolution strategies:group conflict, group behaviour, ethnocentrism, conflict theory, mediation, facilitation

Complex Thinking:meta-cognition, self and identity

Adaptive Leadership: responding to and leading change, team dynamics and development, understanding ambiguity, learning from mistakes, learning from experience, emotional intelligence

Ethical Leadership:the is-ought question, Action, Intention and contact principles, morality, case-studies

Public Relations: context, definition, image management, strategy, messaging and semiotics, question techniques

Personnel management:team building, motivation strategies, handling bad news, interview techniques, changing behaviours and attitudes

Social awarenessand behaviours: empathy, respect for others, understanding how others think, cultural biases, saving face

External impact and engagement


  • Member of University's Military Education Committee
  • Collaborating on SEED Project for Innovation, Impact and Business

Modules taught


I was an undergraduate at Exeter, and studied General Honours in History, English and Philosophy. This was a fantastic degree with the chosen subjects linking thematically each year. Following my graduation I spent some time working as an historical archivist on behalf of Totnes Museum and DCC. The team was establishing a Community Archive and producing databases, school resources and resources for the public to use. The late Bill Bennett, Totnes Museum, was the enthusiastic energy behind this superb initiative. During this time I discovered numerous primary sources relating to the English Civil War events in South Devon (letters especially). This resulted in publications and also a life-long interest in the tactics of General Fairfax, in particular.

Life took me in another direction though. Following further studies (MA in English and a Masters in Education), I accepted a position as a Senior Lecturer at RMA Sandhurst. Here began my life-changing journey into the world of negotiation which continues to today. I researched extensively, published, trained and qualified, and completed a PhD in Negotiation in 2002 at the Dept of Politics, Reading. Ending up as Head of an Academic Department at Sandhurst, and honoured by the Queen in 2017 with an OBE, and the University of Reading in 2019 with an Honorary Doctor of Letters, I was recently invited by QStep and Politics colleagues at Exeter to join them to offer applied skills modules and applied learning opportunities for Exeter students. It is a pleasure to be part of the Exeter team.


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