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[Note. An asterisk denotes a reference to a previously published or recurrent entry.]

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GERARD JAN HENK VAN GELDER (kandidaatsexamen, Amsterdam, doctoraal examen, Leiden and Amsterdam, PH.D. Leiden), Senior Lecturer in Arabic, Department of Languages and Cultures of the Middle East, University of Groningen, has been appointed to the professorship with effect from 1 October 1998.

Dr van Gelder will be a fellow of St John's College.

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Mr Vice-Chancellor has designated P.W. JONES, MA, Fellow of Green College, Deputy Registrar (Administration), as Acting Registrar for the period from 1 April 1998 until 30 June 1998.

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The General Board's regulations in respect of sabbatical leave and dispensation from CUF lecturing obligations are set out in Ch. VII, Sect. I

(Statutes, 1997, pp. 384–6). Provisions for other leave are set out in the same section (pp. 382–3). The following guidelines describe the General Board's policy and practice in respect of applications for leave which do not fall within the category of straightforward sabbatical leave or dispensation, i.e. special leave.

Applications for leave to hold some public offices or certain research awards

(a) Applications for leave to accept an appointment in the public service of national importance are normally granted by the General Board, provided that the purpose of the leave can be shown to be compatible with the academic interests of the faculty, the faculty board lends its support to the application, and it is clear that the individual intends to return to university service after the period of leave. Leave for this purpose for heads of departments or professors can, however, be problematic, for obvious reasons.

(b) Applications to national bodies for prestigious and competitive research awards (such as British Academy Research Readerships and Senior Research Fellowships, EPSRC Senior or Advanced Fellowships and Nuffield Foundation Social Science Research Fellowships) should be made to the General Board through the faculty board. It is usual for such national bodies to specify that applications should be made through the employing institution, and in Oxford's case this involves routing the application via the faculty board to the General Board. The University will normally support such applications for prestigious awards, but it is necessary for the faculty board and the General Board to consider carefully what replacement teaching arrangements will be required if an application is successful.

Leave granted under (a) and (b) does not count against sabbatical entitlement: indeed the rules of some research awards specifically forbid this. However, as in other cases of special leave, the period of leave does not count as qualifying service for the purpose of calculating future entitlement to sabbatical leave, and sabbatical leave is not normally granted in the period immediately preceding or following periods of such leave, although some flexibility may be exercised in respect of periods of special leave not exceeding one year, especially in connection with the holding of research awards.

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Applications for leave for other purposes

All other applications for leave are initially considered in terms of application for sabbatical leave, until entitlement to sabbatical leave is exhausted. In other words, if an individual applies for leave under this section for any term which he or she would be entitled to take as sabbatical leave, any leave granted for that term will be granted as sabbatical leave. Such leave may also be granted as sabbatical leave in advance of entitlement: in other words, sabbatical leave will be granted for a term which the applicant would not normally be entitled to take as sabbatical leave, and leave for the term in question will then be deemed to be taken in a later term (normally not more than six terms later). In this way the leave will count against an individual's sabbatical entitlement: taking the individual's service as a whole, the leave will not be in addition to the standard sabbatical entitlement. For sabbatical leave to be granted in advance of entitlement, an academic case must be made by the faculty board to the Appointments Committee of the General Board.

When sabbatical leave entitlement had been exhausted, an application has to be considered in whole or in part as one for special leave. In such cases, faculty boards are required, when making recommendations to the Appointments Committee of the General Board, to specify whether, and if so how, the grant of such leave would be in the academic interests of the faculty. Where there is no statement of academic interest, or this statement is not persuasive, special leave will not be granted.

Applications for special leave cover many kinds of situation. One would be an unrepeatable opportunity to pursue academic interests where the applicant is ineligible for sabbatical leave. In such a case it would be necessary for the faculty board to demonstrate the academic advantage (to the University rather than to the individual) of the individual being able to accept the opportunity, and for an explanation to be given of why such an opportunity could not be taken up at a later period when the applicant would be entitled to sabbatical leave. Another situation where special leave might be applied for would be where there was a need for fieldwork for a period exceeding one year, which could therefore not be accommodated within the sabbatical provisions. In such a case it would be expected, as usual, that as much of the leave as possible would be taken as sabbatical or sabbatical in advance of entitlement, and the faculty board would again need to demonstrate the academic advantage to the University of the application's being granted.

Very occasionally applications are made for leave to enable someone to accept an appointment in another academic institution (other than a routine visiting appointment held during sabbatical leave). In such instances, the faculty board would need to make an extremely convincing case as to desirability of the individual being offered reversionary rights to his or her university post for any application to be successful. Factors taken into account would include all relevant circumstances relating to the individual's role within the faculty and the consequences for the faculty, in terms of the refilling of the post, if leave were not to be granted and the individual were therefore to resign. On this latter point, it should be noted, of course, that if leave is granted and the individual subsequently resigns during the period of leave or at the end of it, the uncertainty about the long-term filling of the post will have been exacerbated. The longer the appointment in the other institution the less likely it is that leave will be granted; leave will not be granted save in the most exceptional circumstances to enable someone to decide whether to accept a permanent appointment elsewhere.

In each of the situations outlined above, applications are considered on their academic merits, but it is emphasised that the nature of special leave is that it is granted exceptionally rather than automatically. Advice on the likelihood of success of any application can be obtained from the Secretary of Faculties or the secretary of the Appointments Committee of the General Board.

The General Board takes the view that academic staff are specifically appointed to undertake both teaching and research, and (although the Board would support arrangements whereby teaching in excess of a contracted or reasonable stint was relieved) an extremely good case needs to be made in support of an application for special leave which would have the result of the individual's teaching being conducted mainly or wholly by someone else. This is a especially true given that the sabbatical leave scheme has been preserved intact throughout retrenchment, so providing the opportunity for individuals to concentrate on research in one term out of every seven. Willingness to forgo university stipend or the ease with which funding for a replacement appointment may be attracted will not be sufficient to guarantee in any way the success of an application for special leave.

It is emphasised that any application for leave, including any application for funding which might result in the need for leave from university duties to be granted, must be made to the General Board through the faculty board (and head of department, in departmentally organised faculties). In every case the academic advantage to the institution will be the general criterion by which applications will be considered: in every case the General Board requires details of any necessary substitute arrangements, including those relating to examining and graduate supervision.

It is recognised that some offers are made to individuals at short notice. Given the fact that all members of the academic staff have clear obligations to the University under the terms of their contracts, however, no such offer should be accepted without the explicit approval of the General Board under the procedures set out above: for this reason any prospect of such an offer, however indefinite, must be discussed (in strict confidence) with Dr Whiteley, secretary to the Appointments Committee of the General Board, at the very earliest opportunity. Delay in bringing to the attention of the University the possibility that an offer may be made will mean that if applications and substitute arrangements then have to be considered at short notice, this might compromise the chance of leave being granted.

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Stipendiary arrangements

Leave granted under the above arrangements is normally without university stipend, but the precise implications for payment can vary. In some cases the leave is clearly unpaid, such as when appointments in the public service are held. In other cases, such as the holding of prestigious research awards, the University is expected to continue paying the individual, while the grant-giving body provides support for the University to employ a replacement: or the grant-giving body supplies a sum of money which is equivalent to that paid by the University under normal circumstances to the individual. Although this is technically special leave without university stipend, the University will continue to pay the stipend to the individual through the payroll mechanism, being reimbursed by the award-giving body. Special leave under any other arrangement will mean the University will cease to make payments of stipend and national insurance and superannuation contributions. In general, except where the rules of grant-giving bodies in respect of major competitive awards specify otherwise, it is expected that the normal result of the granting of an application for special leave will be the release to the University of the full salary and on-costs of the substantive university appointment, which may be available, with the agreement of the General Board, to the faculty board for the making of any necessary replacement appointment. This is particularly important given the University's practice of advertising temporary university lecturerships, for example, without cash-limited salary scales.

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Closure of Duke Humfrey's Library

As previously advertised, Duke Humfrey's Library will close from the beginning of September 1998 for major repair and renovation. It is anticipated that it will reopen early in July 1999.

Throughout the closure, alternative provision will be made in the north range of the Upper Reading Room for the consultation of original materials normally read in Duke Humfrey's, and existing microfilms of rare books and manuscripts will be made available in the Schola Astronomiae (in the south-east corner of the Old Schools quadrangle).

Inevitably, however, facilities throughout the Old Library will be under very great pressure, and readers are requested to bear this in mind when planning their use of the Library and its collections between September 1998 and June 1999. The Library regrets the inconvenience caused by this essential work on its oldest building.

Further details about the closure, the alternative arrangements, and the restriction on facilities can be obtained from William Hodges, Superintendent of Duke Humfrey's (telephone: (2)77150, e-mail:

Advance notice is hereby given that the closure of Duke Humfrey's represents the first stage of work in the Old Library. Renovations and improvements to facilities in the Upper and Lower Reading Rooms will be undertaken in the period up to 2001.

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Restriction on vehicle parking

From 14 March 1998, any unauthorised vehicles parked in the parking space of the Oxford Association of University Teachers (AUT), New Barnett House, 28 Little Clarendon Street, Oxford, will be wheel-clamped. There will be a £30 charge for release.