University Agenda

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Degree by Special Resolution

The following special resolution will be deemed to be approved at noon on 2 November, unless by that time the Registrar has received notice in writing from two or more members of Congregation under the provisions of Tit. II, Sect. vi, cl. 6 (Statutes, 1997, p. 15) that they wish the resolution to be put to a meeting of Congregation.

Text of Special Resolution

That the Degree of Master of Arts be conferred upon the following:




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The meeting of Congregation is cancelled. The sole business comprises questions to which no opposition has been notified and in respect of which no request for an adjournment has been received, and Mr Vice-Chancellor will accordingly declare the preamble adopted and the Vice-Chancellor's Oration presented without a meeting under the provisions of Tit. II, Sect. iii, cl. 11 (Statutes, 1997, p. 8).

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CONGREGATION 17 November 2 p.m.

Members of Congregation are reminded that written notice of any intention to vote against the preamble of the statute at item 1 below, or of any proposed amendment to, or intention to vote against, the general resolution at item 2 below, signed in either case by at least two members of Congregation, must be given to the Registrar by noon on Monday, 9 November (see the Guide to Procedures in Congregation cited in the note at the end of `University Agenda').

1 Promulgation of Statute

Statute: St Catherine of Alexandria Prize

Explanatory note

The Theology Board considers that it is desirable to change the arrangements for the St Catherine of Alexandria Prize, which is currently open only to eligible members of the Anglican Theological Colleges (a category which has been substantially reduced in size over recent years), in order to extend eligibility for the prize to any member of the University reading for the Honour School of Theology who is also engaged in training for ordination either in the Church of England or in a church in ecumenical relations with the Church of England.

The following statute, and the decree to be made by Council if the statute is approved, provide accordingly.

WHEREAS the University in 1954 accepted a benefaction for the endowment of the St Catherine of Alexandria Prize, and WHEREAS it is now expedient to extend eligibility for the prize in order to increase the number of candidates and thus maintain the integrity of the prize, NOW THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, in exercise of the powers in that behalf conferred upon it by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act, 1923, and of all other powers enabling it, ENACTS, subject to the approval of Her Majesty in Council, AS FOLLOWS.

In Tit. XV (Statutes, 1997, p. 165, as amended, subject to the approval of Her Majesty in Council, by the Statute approved by Congregation on 16 June 1998, Gazette, Vol. 128, pp. 1353, 1380), insert Sect. LXIV:

`Section LXIV. Of the St Catherine of Alexandria Prize Fund

1. The income of the St Catherine of Alexandria Prize Fund shall be used for the annual award of a prize by the examiners for the best performance in the Honour School of Theology by a candidate who is also engaged in training for ordination either in the Church of England or in a church in ecumenical relations with the Church of England, provided that his or her work is deemed to be of sufficient merit.

2. Surplus income arising in any year shall be carried forward for expenditure in subsequent years, for use in whole or in part to augment the value of the prize on subsequent occasions at the discretion of the examiners on each occasion.

3. Congregation may from time to time amend this statute, provided that the main object of the fund, as defined in clause 1 above, is always kept in view.'

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Decree to be made by Council if the Statute is approved

1 In Ch. IX, Sect. I, delete § 311 (Statutes, 1997, p. 717) and renumber existing §§ 312–36 (pp. 717–28) as §§ 311–35.

2 This decree shall be effective from the date on which Statute (...) approved by Congregation on ... is approved by Her Majesty in Council.

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2 Voting on General Resolution concerning the salaries of university lecturers and certain other academic staff

Explanatory note

The Committee on Academic Salaries has begun a review of the University's academic salary structure. It had been hoped that more progress would have been made by now with a fundamental review of that structure, but this has been delayed by the uncertainties, such as those surrounding college fees, of the last academic year. However, Council and the General Board have now approved four specific proposals so far made by the committee, one of which also requires the approval of Congregation (and is reflected in the general resolution below), and have encouraged the committee to consider other elements of the current structure.

The four proposals approved by Council and the General Board are as follows.

First, it has been agreed that all of those holding the post of reader and who are not already on the top discretionary salary point above the substantive scale should proceed to that point by annual increments beginning on 1 October 1998. This will mean that eventually there will be a single salary point for readers (£37,257 per annum at current rates). Two-thirds of readers are already on the discretionary points, awarded hitherto in competitive triennial exercises. The decision of Council and the General Board affects the twenty-two readers still paid on the substantive scale, the top point of which is £34,464. The decision reflects the fact that the substantive reader scale is now equivalent to the upper reaches of the scale for university lecturers without tutorial fellowships (ULNTFs), and thus that all lecturers in Oxford now enjoy, at the top of the scale, salaries which are equal to the basic reader scale. The recent expansion of professorial distinction awards has also affected relativities between readers and professors. This change will not affect those who hold the title of reader following recent exercises for the recognition of distinction (the new policy on this having been approved by Congregation on the strict understanding that the award of titles would not affect salaries).

Second, the arrangements for the salaries of departmental lecturers (previously known as departmental demonstrators) have been adjusted, in order to ease problems of recruitment and retention, and of comparabilities with academic-related grades. The top of the substantive salary scale has been increased to £20,867 per annum (from £20,107), and discretionary points to £25,535 (rather than £21,815) have been added. The use of the discretionary points is subject to guidelines issued by the General Board.

The third point concerns the position of ULNTFs. Council and the General Board have noted that this is one of the most important and contentious issues relating to academic salaries at the present time. New arrangements for this category of staff were introduced in 1995–6, but the Commission of Inquiry recommended further very large payments to them in order effectively to equalise the income of all lecturers in Oxford at the top of the scale by ensuring that ULNTFs received the joint maximum plus the average housing allowance.

Council and the General Board have noted that this recommendation raises serious issues about the obligation of the University as employer to take into account payments made by other employers (in this case the colleges) in determining its own salaries; about funding (the Commission having envisaged covering the cost of the change by the redeployment of funds which currently provide faculty boards with the opportunity for making short-term adjustments in the balance of lecturers' duties); about comparabilities with readers and professors (the Commission's proposals would see ULNTFs paid a higher university salary than both readers on the top discretionary point and professors on the basic stipend); about the definition of the duties of all academic staff and the contractual arrangements for them; and about the repercussions for the joint appointments system (since the Commission's proposals would leave no financial disincentive against resignation by tutorial fellows from their college posts). The most serious issue, however, is one of equity, and whether ULNTFs do in fact perform a range of duties similar in scope and complexity to those performed by university lecturers with tutorial fellowships.

The original working party on ULNTFs proposed that the Commission should undertake a proper evaluation of the relative responsibilities of university lecturers with and without fellowships, but in the event the Commission did not pursue this. The result is that the question whether the duties of ULNTFs justify the payment of a university salary equal to the average combined salary of tutorial fellows is still open. Council and the General Board have therefore agreed that, as a first step towards resolving this issue, external consultants should be commissioned to analyse, on the basis of a job evaluation process in which representatives of all interested parties would be fully involved, the relative weight of the overall responsibilities of university lecturers with and without tutorial fellowships. Council and the General Board hope that swift progress can be made on this.

Fourth, Council and the General Board are proposing, through the general resolution below, that there should be more flexibility as to the possibility of paying lecturers at points within the normal scale but above the normal age–wage relation: this would apply both on appointment and to those in post.

When the age–wage link was first loosened in 1988, this was on the basis of a change in legislation to provide that lecturer salaries `shall have regard to, but shall not be bound by, scales related to age' (Tit. X, Sect. I, proviso (c), Statutes, 1997, p. 75), and Congregation approved this on the basis that a maximum of two points within the scale above the normal age–wage relation would be permitted. This flexibility has been found to be useful in the recruitment of new staff and its operation does not seem to have caused significant difficulties. Appointments committees, themselves often including lecturers on the normal age–wage point, have been anxious to use whatever salary flexibility is available, and the desirability of recruiting the favoured candidate has far outweighed any concern about comparabilities with existing staff.

The use of the two extra increments on appointment is now more common in areas of special difficulty, being used in approximately one-third of recent cases; however, it is increasingly regarded as providing insufficient scope to secure an appropriate range of applicants, and is normally of little help in retaining existing staff contemplating a possible move elsewhere. Since the introduction of this modest discretion in lecturer salaries at Oxford very much more flexibility has been introduced elsewhere in the University's salary structure—for example for professors and for the academic-related research staff who often form a considerable proportion of the applicants for university lecturerships in the sciences. Even more flexibility is available at other British universities, and the current flexibility is therefore increasingly seen as too limited to attract the best young candidates in the United Kingdom and abroad to apply for lecturerships at Oxford: experience of many recruitment exercises has shown that more salary flexibility would significantly enlarge the number of applicants of appropriate standing and ensure the maintenance of the quality of appointees which, while remaining high, is increasingly threatened by the attractiveness of terms and conditions at other universities. Council and the General Board are clear also that it is desirable to be able to provide significant incentives to outstanding young staff to remain in Oxford by offering substantial increases in salary to staff in post in appropriate cases.

Council and the General Board therefore propose an extension of the current arrangements for the salaries of lecturers on appointment and in post to permit salaries within the scale up to five points above the normal age–wage point, these arrangements to apply to university, CUF, special non-CUF, and faculty lecturers and academic research officers. The maximum additional salary which the five-point flexibility would represent is £6,419 per annum, compared with the current figure of £3,495.

The criteria to be applied in considering requests for departures from the age–wage norm would be as follows. In the case of a new appointment, the Appointments Committee of the General Board would require a case from the faculty board with firm evidence that the normal stipend, plus all college income, would be significantly below the candidate's current or prospective salary; stating whether the candidate would be moving from a fixed-term to a prima facie permanent position; stating whether the extra increments were required to secure the candidate's acceptance; and setting out the consequences should the candidate decline (including comments on the difference in quality between the favoured candidate and any proxime). For existing staff, it would be necessary for there to be evidence of outstanding academic merit and of serious academic consequences were the lecturer to resign, coupled with evidence of the likelihood of resignation. For both incoming and existing staff, faculty boards would have to certify that their proposals, if adopted, would not produce unacceptable anomalies within subject areas and that they appreciated that the granting of extra increments might affect decisions on the numbers of posts released for refilling in the future.

Council and the General Board estimate that the maximum additional cost of this change would be around £200K per annum. It is envisaged that as time went on the General Board would take account of the additional salary costs of the academic staff in determining how many posts to release, and would thus be able to absorb these if it wished by slightly reducing the number of vacancies refilled.

Council and the General Board commend this resolution to Congregation, against the background of the other decisions described above.

There are of course many other pressing issues to be resolved in the general area of the terms and conditions of employment of academic staff. Following the Report of the Commission of Inquiry, a series of complex and interrelated problems are being actively considered by a working party with representatives of the General Board and the colleges. The working party is inviting faculty boards, in consultation with Senior Tutors, to review, on a subject-by-subject basis, the current arrangements for the organisation of teaching in the collegiate University, before turning its attention to the question of appropriate contractual formulations to underpin the improved systems which it is hoped will emerge. Better organisation should hold the key to reducing the general burden of duties on academic staff and to providing a better balance between them.

While Council and the General Board have asked the Committee on Academic Salaries to consider further elements of the University's current academic salary structure, beyond the four referred to above, the committee's consideration will need to be co-ordinated with the developing approach and the likely outcome of the discussions of the joint working party. These issues are being actively pursued by collaboration between the joint working party and the Committee on Academic Salaries.

Text of General Resolution

That this House endorse the proposals from Council and the General Board, as set out in the explanatory note to this resolution, to provide flexibility in the salaries of university, CUF, special non-CUF, and faculty lecturers and academic research officers of up to five increments within the salary scale above the normal age–wage point.

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