Two new Deans appointed at Royal Agricultural University

19 January 2024

Two new professors have joined the Royal Agricultural University in the newly created roles of Dean of Land and Property Management and Dean of Agricultural Sciences and Practice.

Professor Duncan Westbury and Professor Olivier Sparagano joined the Gloucestershire university at the end of last year – Professor Westbury from the University of Worcester where he had spent 12 years as a Principal Lecturer in Environmental Management, and Professor Sparagano from City University in Hong Kong where he was Professor of Veterinary Parasitology and Head of Department of Infectious Diseases and Public Health.

Professor Westbury, RAU Dean of Land and Property Management, said: “As a Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, my research interests fit perfectly with the RAU’s aspiration to be the global University for sustainable farming and land management. This role presents a wonderful new challenge and a great opportunity to make a difference and be part of the RAU’s future.

“In my new role as the Dean, not only do I look forward to engaging with more research into the sustainable production of food, but also helping to ensure our degree programmes continue to provide students with the skills, knowledge, and real-world experiences enabling them to also have impactful and rewarding careers.”

Professor Sparagano, who is Dean of Agricultural Sciences and Practice, added: “I am delighted to have joined the RAU to support staff and students to continue developing cutting edge impactful research and scholarly activities for the benefit of our communities.

“I will focus on further developing a new curriculum in Agriculture, Environmental Sciences, and Equine Studies, bringing state-of-the-art teaching methodologies and modern practices in our classrooms.

“As the new Dean of Agricultural Sciences and Practice, I take pride in our farming networks, and our national and international partnerships, while we keep at heart the student experience to integrate them better in modern agriculture-related systems and increase their employability and long-life skills.”

The two new Deans will work closely with Professor David Main, the RAU’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Academic Planning and Resources, who heads up teaching at the Cirencester-based university.

He said: “We are delighted to welcome Duncan and Olivier to the RAU to provide the academic leadership for our two critical disciplines of Agricultural Science and Practice and Land and Property Management. 

“Their wealth of academic, practical, and leadership experience will help us deliver on our mission of equipping the next generation with the skills to address the global imperatives of supporting sustainable agriculture, resilient food systems, and climate action.”