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Roderick Watkins appointed Anglia Ruskin Vice Chancellor

Published: 8 February 2019 at 08:43

Professor Roderick Watkins

Professor Watkins appointed after playing significant role in shaping 10-year strategy

Anglia Ruskin University has appointed Professor Roderick Watkins as its new Vice Chancellor.

Following a decision by Anglia Ruskin’s Board of Governors last night (7 February 2019), Professor Watkins, who has occupied the role of Acting Vice Chancellor since Professor Iain Martin’s departure in October, will now fill the position on a permanent basis following an application process that produced a strong field of candidates.  His first day in office will be Monday 11 February.

A composer whose compositions have been performed and broadcast across Europe, Professor Watkins joined Anglia Ruskin in 2014 and was promoted to the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor in 2015. In that role, he led a number of strategic developments that delivered significant improvements in the quality and impact of ARU’s research, and a doubling of research income and PhD completions.

One of his key tasks as Vice Chancellor will be to progress the university’s education strategy, which has a clear ambition to foster social mobility – ensuring that an individual’s future must not be defined by their postcode, family income or school, but by their potential.

Professor Watkins said:


“I am absolutely delighted. Anglia Ruskin is a truly outstanding community of staff, students and partners, with an uncommon sense of purpose and ambition. We have the ability to be a powerful force for change and social good right across the East of England. It’s a great privilege to help shape and focus that energy for the future.”


Professor Watkins grew up in Norfolk but went to America for his undergraduate education, gaining a BA in Philosophy and a BMus in Composition from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music. He then returned to the UK to undertake an MMus and PhD at the Royal Academy of Music, followed by a year at IRCAM in Paris.

His opera The Juniper Tree, commissioned by the Munich Biennale and co-produced with Almeida Opera, IRCAM and the London Sinfonietta, was premiered in 1997 in Munich and London – and called “a triumph” by The Times.

Academically, Professor Watkins has wide-ranging experience of external examining, peer reviewing and research panel membership.  He also has wide-ranging experience as a trustee or board member of a number of arts, education and charitable organisations. He arrived at Anglia Ruskin from Canterbury Christ Church University, where he latterly held the title of Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

Dr Jerome Booth, Chair of the Board of Governors of Anglia Ruskin, said:

“We have been extremely impressed with the way that Professor Watkins has carried out his duties as Acting Vice Chancellor.

“We are delighted that he has agreed to take on the role permanently. As an internal appointment, Professor Watkins has already played a significant role in shaping Anglia Ruskin’s strategy for the future, and he will now have the opportunity to lead its delivery and ensure Anglia Ruskin continues to thrive.”


Read Professor Watkins's biography