Van Acker Named Dean of Ontario Ag College

OAC Dean Dr. Rene Van Acker: “Our enrolments continue to grow, but so does the sector and our enrolments don’t meet anywhere near the demand.”

The Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) at the University of Guelph will soon have a new dean.

The school announced Tuesday that weed management expert Rene Van Acker, currently associate dean of external relations and a professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture, will begin a five-year term on September 1.

“I am very excited to work with our excellent staff, faculty, students and partners to realize the opportunities we have to provide leadership for a vibrant and expanding food and agriculture sector,” said Van Acker in an OAC news release.

Charlotte Yates, provost and vice-president (academic), said the hiring committee was impressed by Van Acker’s dedication and commitment to OAC, “especially his work as associate dean during a period of great change and fiscal challenges.”

Yates also highlighted Van Acker’s experience developing relationships and partnerships with government, industry, alumni and others in the agri-food sector.

“Agriculture is a complex sector, and partnerships and collaborations will be a key part of OAC’s future growth and vision,” she said. “I am pleased to welcome Rene to the leadership team.”

Prior to joining the U of G in 2006, Van Acker was an assistant plant science professor at the University of Manitoba for ten years. He was chair of Guelph’s Department of Plant Agriculture from 2006 to 2009, and has been an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University since 2014.

Raised on a farm in southwest Ontario, Van Acker holds a B.Sc. in crop science and a master’s degree in weed science from Guelph, and a PhD in crop-weed ecology from the University of Reading in the UK.

He replaces Rob Gordon, who served as OAC dean from 2008 to 2015. Gordon became the vice-president, research, at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo last November.

Related: Ontario Ag College Dean Moving On

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