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Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement)

Professor Richard Follett

Professor Richard Follett took up the post of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) on 9 January 2023.

Professor Richard Follett is the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Global Engagement) at the University of Exeter. He leads the development and delivery of the University’s global strategy and has oversight of the University’s global activities, including student recruitment, global experiences for staff and students, establishing and leading the University’s relationships with key global partners, engaging alumni around the world, and working across the University’s Faculties and Professional Services to deliver Exeter’s global agenda. He is also responsible for all the University’s student recruitment and admissions activity.

An elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Richard is also Professor of American History and a specialist on the history of African American slavery. He enjoys a strong international reputation for his scholarship and public engagement work.

Richard joins Exeter from the University of Sussex where he was Associate Vice President and Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (International). In his time there, Richard led Sussex’s international activities, overseeing a worldwide network of education, research, and knowledge exchange partnerships. With more than a decade of senior university leadership in the field of international education, Richard is Chair of Universities UK International Africa and Middle East Network and serves on Universities UK's International Strategic Advisory Board and UUKI's Horizon Europe Senior Advisory Group. He is international partnership lead for the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Higher Education and Sustainable Development Goals Network and serves on a joint UK-Nigerian Government Steering Committee on Higher Education Reform. An active and internationally visible Higher Education leader, Richard has extensive experience of international education in the Americas, Africa, Middle East, South and South-East Asia, and China. He speaks several languages and is a fluent Spanish speaker.

Brought up in Bangor, Wales and Bristol, England (with spells in USA), Richard gained his BA from the University of Wales, Swansea and the University of Illinois, going on to achieve an MA from the University of London in 1991, before becoming a Fulbright scholar, supporting his doctoral work on American history at Louisiana State University. Before moving to the University of Sussex in 1999, he taught at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He has held visiting teaching and research appointments at the University of Lagos (Nigeria); Nanjing and Peking Universities (China), University College London (UK) and external examining roles at Queen's University Belfast and the University of Manchester.

Richard’s scholarship on the history of African American slavery includes award winning The Sugar Masters: Planters and Slaves in Louisiana’s Cane World, 1820-1860; Slavery’s Ghost: The Problem of Freedom in the Age of Emancipation; and Plantation Kingdom: The American South and Its Global Commodities. He is currently completing a monograph on African American resistance to slavery, 1619-1865. He founded and co-edited the interdisciplinary periodical Atlantic Studies (Routledge).