Professor Barend Erasmus has been appointed as the Dean in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (NAS) at the University of Pretoria (UP) from 1 October 2019.
Prior to his appointment as Dean, he was the Director of the Global Change Institute (GCI) at the University of the Witwatersrand, since 2014.
Prof Erasmus obtained the degrees PhD (Zoology), BScHons (Zoology) and BSc (Zoology) from the University of Pretoria. He has spent most of his working career at the University of the Witwatersrand. After a short postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Stellenbosch, he was appointed as a lecturer in the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences in 2003. He was subsequently promoted to professor and the Exxaro Chair in Global Change and Sustainability.
He has always had an interest in interdisciplinary work. His doctoral degree at the University of Pretoria was the first assessment of climate change impacts on biodiversity in South Africa, and the core paper from that study continues to be relevant in international literature.
Prof Erasmus’ research interests subsequently expanded from biodiversity and climate change impacts to a more systemic approach to long-term land cover change and sustainability in rural landscapes. He is passionate about postgraduate training, particularly within the context of collaborative and interdisciplinary research programmes.
He has co-authored several strategic documents on climate change, space science and global change for national government and serves on advisory bodies for the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the National Business Initiative and the African Climate Leadership Programme. Together with colleagues from the Global Change Institute, he recently co-authored an international report, commissioned by the United Nations, on the state of global land degradation and restoration.
Outside of academia, he is an avid sportsperson who has excelled in the sport of fencing, winning silver and bronze medals at the 1998 Commonwealth Fencing Championships.
Prof Erasmus says that he enjoys living in Johannesburg, and after work, you are likely to encounter him and his wife, Saron, taking their two pugs for a walk at Emmarentia Dam. Soon, they will be looking for a new place to walk their dogs in Pretoria.
We welcome Prof Erasmus as the new Dean and wish him well in his career as the Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and as a member of the University’s senior management team.