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ORATION BY THE SENIOR PROCTOR

The following Oration was delivered in Congregation on 19 March by T.P. SOFTLEY, MA (PH.D. Southampton), Fellow of Merton College, on demitting office as Senior Proctor.

SENIOR PROCTOR: Insignissime Vice-Cancellarie, licetne Anglice loqui?

VICE-CHANCELLOR: Licet.

SENIOR PROCTOR: Mr Vice-Chancellor, in the last twelve months the University has elected a new Chancellor, brought into effect new statutes and regulations with an associated new disciplinary structure, disbanded the University Police, received a government White Paper on Higher Education, celebrated a major anniversary of the Bodleian Library and taken part in a Loyal Address to Her Majesty; we have worn mourning bands for the first time in fifty years and won all seven out of seven boat races against Cambridge. The statistical probability of events of this nature all occurring in one Proctorial year can be estimated at 1 in 3.2 trillion. If you multiply that by the probability that the colleges would agree to `stint reform' then the result goes beyond the bounds of any calculator. Fortunately no one can quite decide whether the colleges did actually agree to this or not, but all in all we may well look back on this period as a watershed in the history of the University.

Within a few days of their induction the Proctors and Assessor were swept away to Buckingham Palace to attend the presentation of the University's Loyal Address to Her Majesty on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee. We waited at 9 a.m. on the steps of Wellington Square, attired in full academic dress along with you, Mr Vice-Chancellor, the Registrar, four Pro-Vice-Chancellors, the Public Orator, and the President and Access Officer of the Student Union. We had been promised the best executive transport that the University could afford, so we were not surprised when a small twelve-seater minibus arrived, into which we squeezed for the journey along the M40. At Buckingham Palace we joined twenty-six other `privileged bodies' in the ballroom and were glad to be greeted with the words `Ah ... Oxford University ... an especially privileged body'. We were led to seats in the front row as number two in the ranking list of privilege, behind only the General Synod of the Church of England. The University of Cambridge was suitably upset to find itself in third place for once, while Ken Livingstone and the City of London Corporation were decidedly underprivileged in fifteenth place. You, Sir, told Her Majesty that `We are emboldened to believe that Your Majesty shares with us the desire to move in necessary and ungrudging accord with the changes of the times but to move in such a way that we retain all that is best in the splendid traditions that we inherit from the past'. Clearly these words had been agreed in advance with the Conference of Colleges. After all the loyal words in praise of Her Majesty were spoken, she and the Duke joined us for a gin and tonic before we headed off for lunch. Having declined the invitation to join the Cambridge Proctors at the Oxford and Cambridge Club, in expectation of something better, we were perplexed when our minibus stopped in Hyde Park. We piled out for a brief photo session (still in academic dress) and then were supplied with sandwiches and bags of Sainsbury's crisps by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Resource Allocation (I believe the crisps were roast-RAM flavoured). Sitting in the back of the minibus the Public Orator took one look at his ham and mozarella sandwich and was heard to mutter:

`Qui reginae aulas Augustaque tecta frequentat
pernas fumosas et casea bubula spernit'

(literally, `he who frequents the halls of the Queen and the royal palace rejects smoked hams and cheeses from cows').

The life of a Proctor or Assessor involves attending many ceremonial and formal occasions. For example we attended three openings of the Saïd Business School (maybe a few less openings next year would help their balance sheet). A moving and spectacular occasion starring Nelson Mandela was swiftly followed by the visit of Romano Prodi, but it was the Unveiling of the Ox by Councillor Maureen Christian that hangs most prominently in the memory. The Ox, an impressive life-sized bronze statue created by Olivia Musgrave, looks out from the west wall of the Business School to confront anyone who dares to emerge from the train station; let us hope that this does not cause trouble with the new access regulator. However it is little known that the Ox represents the five academic divisions of the University. The pointed forward-looking horns represent one division, the powerful neck another; a third division is represented by the horizontal tail poised for unpredictable action, while the four legs holding up the lumbering body represent a fourth division. And then finally there is the very large downward-pointing appendage. I will preserve my neutrality by not going any further with this discussion.

The operation of the academic divisions has been a matter for close perusal by the Proctors and Assessor this year as we rotated around the divisional board meetings; these are remarkably different in character. If these were the days when smoking was still permitted in public places then the Life and Environmental Sciences Division would be `rolling their own' nervously, but remaining forward-looking and optimistic despite their financial difficulties. The Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division would be smoke-free having already exhausted their supplies in private before the meeting, and would be dealing efficiently with their 360-page agenda in a matter of minutes with very little argument. The Social Sciences and Medical Sciences Divisional Boards would be smoking large, and larger, cigars respectively, whereas the Humanities Division would be stoking up their pipes and passing the snuff. The Social Sciences and Medical Divisions have almost become mini-universities in their own right. The `fat-cat' heads of the medical departments hold their divisional board meetings at 8 a.m. so that they can find spaces to park their MGs and Mercedes, and discuss major building plans in Headington and their academic and research strategies. The ever-smiling Social Sciences Divisional Board has single-minded plans for development of postgraduate taught courses as part of an evolving research strategy. It would prefer that the rest of the University does not interfere—and what is the central University going to dare to do about it anyway? Humanities is a much more complex body, being made up of people with no authority to tell other people what to do. And of course being humanities there is always more than one right answer to any question, providing you can work out what the question is. At the present time the Humanities Division would see any suggestion of a departmental structure as a threat to their academic independence. In common with most Oxford academics they are only willing to be told what to do if that does not involve any change in what they are actually doing. But after all this attitude characterises why we are all at Oxford and not the University of Lesser England.

The Proctors and Assessor have poked their noses into approximately eighty committees between them, ranging from the Committee on Select Preachers to the Sports Strategy Committee. Committee meetings have been held at diverse locations (sometimes requiring the wearing of regulation subfusc wellies) including Tubney House, a bark hut at the Botanic Garden, and the rugby pavilion at Iffley Road, and we dragged ourselves away from our desks to attend a meeting at OUP HQ in New York. The newly acquired original manuscript of Mendelssohn's Hebrides overture was passed round at one committee meeting, and one could read the composer's own handwritten corrections. This was a moment of revelation indeed, giving me a true sense of the importance of the Bodleian's collection. It also made me realise how fortunate it was that they did not have Tippex in the nineteenth century.

Of the committees of Council it is perhaps at EPSC (Educational Policy and Standards Committee) that we have found it most easy to get a word in edgeways—surely nothing to do with the absence of the heads of division? The words that have been on everybody's lips at EPSC have been `academic strategy' and `university policy'. Policy is something agreed by Council or its delegated authority, and which is there to be followed by all divisions, departments, and faculties—with the apparent exception of the Law Faculty, of course. Academic strategy exists in a rather patchy form known as the divisional five-year rolling plans. There is a growing feeling at EPSC and indeed at Council that the University must develop an over-arching academic strategy if it is to retain its top-ten status in the world ranking lists, a strategy that not only cross-correlates the divisional plans but provides an umbrella within which these plans should be developed. It is clear that Council is the only body in the collegiate University where an overall academic strategy can be formulated. Colleges should take the opportunity to contribute to this debate directly through their representation on Council, and it is encouraging that the Conference of Colleges has recently agreed in principle to accept binding majority decisions. This is a major step forward that will hopefully allow the Conference of College representatives on Council to act with the influence that was intended under the governance reforms.

But why is it that many of us still arrive at our college governing body meeting suspicious of what `the suits in Wellington Square' are plotting? Why do we refer to `the University' as if it is something to which we do not belong? One matter that would help to cultivate a greater sense of loyalty would be to improve internal publicity. Council and its committees and the academic divisions do too little to keep the grass-roots academics of the University informed of what they are thinking. In a recent exercise in one college, the Senior Tutor tried to gather information from the tutorial fellows about the plans within their divisions and subjects for stint reform. The exercise was abandoned because none of the tutors knew what the plans were. The consequence of this lack of transparency is that the academic staff and others learn by rumour and speculation, or worse still by reading the student newspapers. What we need is an easy-to-read Council newsletter letting us know what is going on and why. Should one have to spend a year being a Proctor to find out what is going on?

Assuming the collegiate University does construct an academic policy, it will have to face up to the need for flexibility in the deployment of the University's academic manpower. The University could move forward in a much more dynamic manner if the central University paid the salaries of its academics in full, and leased their services to the colleges. This seems unlikely to happen because the colleges would fear losing the loyalty of fellows that lies at the heart of college teaching, the welfare of students, the running of colleges, and the cultivation of alumni. What we need though is not a loyalty to either the colleges or to Wellington Square but to a common purpose of the collegiate University that seeks excellence and provides support for both teaching and research.

Food has been an important topic on the university agenda this year. An OUP Delegates' meeting had to consider a proposal for an Oxford Handbook on British Food, and you, Mr Vice-Chancellor, referring to yourself as the leader of the `Eat for Oxford campaign', revealed the depth of your knowledge about the variability of Harry Ramsden outlets at a range of service stations along the M1. The Land Agent reported to a meeting of the University Property Investment Sub-committee that he had taken dinner at one of the University's properties in Ipswich—a branch of a well-known fast-food retailer. When pressed by the Senior Proctor he revealed that the manageress had personally cooked his Big Mac and large fries and served these for him on a dinner plate. And then of course the Proctors attended dinners almost everywhere, in as wide ranging venues as the Guggenheim Museum in New York (courtesy of OUP), the hospitality launch at the Boat Race, and the car-park at Twickenham. Bodley's 400th anniversary was celebrated with a conference and banquet at Keble, and an honorary degree ceremony followed by lunch at Merton. Bodley was himself of course not only a fellow of Merton, but also a Junior Proctor, and it was noticeable that there was one apparently empty seat at the lunch.

Fortunately, despite all of this eating, the Proctors have managed to avoid any significant gain in weight. This has been helped in my own case by the maintenance of the Proctorial bicycle, a useful means of transport for creeping up on unsuspecting undergraduates who thought they had walked far enough away from the Examination Schools to start depositing flour and eggs upon one another. However, on one occasion I was parking my bicycle outside the Schools to prepare for a spot check on an examination when a middle-aged lady stopped and asked me how I was feeling—`err ... fine', I replied, slightly puzzled—`well, good luck with your exams anyway', she said.

Undergraduate admissions have been another key topic for discussion within the University over the course of the year, and there is now a growing and seemingly irreversible movement in the direction of greater centralisation of admissions—i.e., subject tutors across the University devising means to ensure that the best people applying to the University of Oxford in their subject get accepted. I am sure that this objective can be achieved while retaining the option for the candidates selected by the subject groups to be allocated to their colleges of preference.

The Government White Paper brought more attention to admissions, with access appearing as a prominent issue in the context of top-up fees. Higher education became remarkably prominent in the national news and the political forum. The President of the Oxford University Student Union managed comfortably to upstage the Vice-Chancellor in terms of the number of press quotes and TV and radio appearances—even the President of Magdalen and Principal of St Anne's could not keep pace with Mr Straw. A close look at the University's finances has enabled the Proctors and Assessor to see just how much those fees are needed by the University—indeed were it not for the good management and financial contributions of the University Press the underfunding situation would be dire. With regard to the access issue, we already have a magnificent programme of outreach, but we shall have to go even further to convince people from all backgrounds that students at a world-class university such as this one are offered the kind of unparalleled opportunities that make financial sacrifice worthwhile. At the same time we must resist any external efforts to manipulate our intake, and we must stand up for high academic standards in our courses and in our admissions policy. It is insulting to the brightest young people in our country to suggest that there was any reason to admit them other than that they were the very best we could find in terms of ability and potential. Quotas must be out of the question.

My colleague the Junior Proctor has blazed a trail this year, being the first member of the academic-related staff of the University to be elected a Proctor (and maybe the first female given permission to wear a white bow-tie?). In the Proctors' Office she has been relentlessly pursuing fairness and justice in the fraught world of undergraduate examinations. In many cases it would be tempting to bend the rules a little for the convenience of examiners or to avoid a major confrontation with a student; it is not easy to be popular when you are having to ask examiners to re-mark or double-check scripts in the middle of the summer vacation, and it is not pleasant to have to tell a student that the reason why they got a 2:2 was that they were not quite good enough to get a 2:1. Nevertheless the Proctors must act with consistency, common sense, and firmness in application of university policy, and the Junior Proctor has certainly done that this year.

Complaints and special provisions for undergraduate examinations are decidedly on the increase. At one stage so many students were asking for special provision that the Junior Proctor started dreaming of a fantasy exam room. This would contain one student lying down from time to time at the back of the room next to the one standing up writing at a lectern. On either side of the room would be an ex-boyfriend and girlfriend recently split up, and equally far apart would be the warring factions from St Fisticuff's College. Several students would be poised near the door, allowing their irritable bowel syndrome to direct when they needed to leave the room. As they left they would trip over the leg in plaster stretching out across the gangway. Sundry students would have cushions supporting various parts of their anatomy while those suffering hay fever would be taking medication. An agoraphobic would be in the corner and those with panic attacks, nausea, and claustrophobia would be near the door.

Nicholas Amhurst, writing in 1721, showed that life was simpler in an earlier age: `It is well-known to be a custom for the candidates either to present their examiners with a piece of gold or to give them a handsome entertainment, and make them drunk the night before examination, and sometimes keep them till morning ... Would it not be very ungrateful of the examiner to refuse any candidate a testimonium who has treated him so splendidly overnight?'. Clearly the Proctors had taken their eye off the ball in those days.

The Proctors and the Assessor have enjoyed good relationships with the Student Union this year, and I believe that the impending move of OUSU to superior premises in Thomas Hull House was not only necessary, but would not have happened without a lot of enthusiastic support from my two colleagues. In return the Student Union generously offered to give advice on how to run the election of a Chancellor, but having studied the 452 clauses applicable to their own elections we decided gratefully to decline their offer, and stick with one rule—the Proctors' decision is final.

The Assessor has given particular attention to matters of disability support, and student funding and hardship, and has worked closely with the new student funding office. The establishment of a student funding officer post has been a key step forward towards co-ordinating and administering the various hardship funds and bursaries. The new Oxford Bursary scheme is of particular importance, as it will form a cornerstone of the University's response to the White Paper. Guidelines were produced to meet the first provisions of SENDA (the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act) which came into force on 1 September, making it illegal for universities to discriminate against disabled students, and requiring us to make adjustments to our buildings and to our admissions, teaching, curricula, and assessment to permit disabled students to participate fully in education. An indication of the extent of the challenge is provided by the Surveyor's list of building work required to make adequate access provisions—a total bill of £6m would be required, exceeding by an order of magnitude the HEFCE grant of just £792k for this purpose. The number of disabled students at Oxford is steadily rising (by about 20 per cent in the last three years), but mechanisms for communicating the needs of individual students to where the information is needed are now well developed. For a few weeks the Assessor, who believes he is known as `the nice Proctor', found out what it was like to be loathed as much as the Proctors after being landed with the task of chairing a committee responsible for allocation of car-parking permits.

In disciplinary matters the Proctorial year has been a `game of two halves', with the change to the new statutes taking place on 1 October. The statutes of the University of Oxford have a long and complex history. They evolved over the first 400 years of the University into a rather jumbled form and were codified by Archbishop William Laud in 1636. His statutes included the requirements that all fellows and scholars of colleges should `dress as becomes clerks' and that they shall be obliged to abstain from `that absurd and assuming practice of walking publicly in boots'. Students under eighteen who were found in inns, eating houses, or wine-shops were to be flogged in public; and `no scholars of any condition (and least of all graduates) are to play foot-ball within the University or its precinct'. Major changes were implemented in the 1850s and 1960s, but the changes in 2002 represent the first time in the history of the University that the whole of the University's existing legislation has been repealed. This has been an extraordinary task led by Mr Derek Wood, the former Principal of St Hugh's, and the Proctors have contributed a little help now and then to this process.

`Proctors lose their Power' read the headline in the Cherwell newspaper in October. `Don't count on it' was the response from the Proctors. The Human Rights Act allegedly posed a threat to the Proctors' power to act simultaneously as prosecutor, judge, and jury. Now any serious case must be referred to the Court of Summary Jurisdiction or the Disciplinary Court, and an independent panel will judge whether the Proctors' case is proven, and determine the penalty. While this sounds perfectly fair and more defensible, it must be remembered that Proctors were always very conscious under the old system that they must wear their two or three hats with maximum care and responsibility. It seems likely that the Proctors of the future may well be harsher in their pursuit of disciplinary penalty than they were previously. Donning their barrister's wig, they will announce, `My case rests, your honour', without the same sense of responsibility for the final decision made. Interestingly, in this brave new world, twenty-one students were given the opportunity to contest minor offences in the CSJ, or to plead guilty and take a proverbial `six of the best' from the Proctors; unsurprisingly they all chose the latter.

The Proctors' role as general ombudsmen of the University has also been restricted by the new regulations, but most disturbing is the little-known fact that from 1 October the new statutes removed the long-standing requirement for the sealing of university documents to be witnessed by the Proctors' signature. The Director of Legal Services found that his coup was short-lived, however, when he invited himself in early October to come and take the sealing device away. He soon discovered that the University Seal was so securely fitted in the Proctors' Office that it could not be moved, and it would be too expensive to replace it.

Following an independent review, Council took the decision to disband the University Police. Apparently, impending legislation required that our private police force needed to be upgraded in terms of training and equipment, and by the provision of multi-tiered complaints procedures. Much as there might have been occasions when we would have been glad to see our Proctors' men armed with semi-automatic rifles, riot shields, and dogs when on duty outside the Examination Schools, the University decided that it could not take responsibility or bear the cost of such an operation.

The University Police were founded as a result of an Act of Parliament in 1825, and I would like to pay tribute to their extraordinary role over almost 180 years, not only in matters of student discipline, but also law and order in the city of Oxford. A former Proctor, Lewis Farnell, recalled an incident in 1896 when he was patrolling with a strong `posse' of University Police: `Carfax was still noisy as I approached it, and I found there a low female, seemingly half-drunk, amusing a group of citizens by very indecent dancing ... a city policeman looked on grinning and said that it was for me to arrest this woman if I liked. I did so promptly and we bore her away swiftly to the Proctors' quarters at the end of the Broad, followed by a crowd of citizens booing...'.

In recent years, the University Police have performed an extremely important function in support of the Proctors, assisting with disciplinary investigations, with crowd control during student demonstrations and the dreaded Examination School season, and in ceremonial functions. They are in fact the long arm of the Proctors' Office. This is why the University has decided not to sweep the former University Police into the security services but to redesignate them as Proctors' Officers where they will be able to continue 95 per cent of their original function without the need for formal police powers.

The Proctors and Assessors have been very ably assisted throughout the year by an outstanding permanent staff, headed by Dr Brian Gasser, the Clerk to the Proctors. Brian has an enviable ability to indicate his opinion with only a slight movement of the eyebrow. When I see this movement I may well be driven to say `Hmmm, on second thoughts perhaps I had better rewrite that sentence in my report...', and I have been disappointed and slightly surprised not to get the response `Yes, Minister'. There is rather little preparation one can do in advance of becoming a Proctor, and therefore it is essential to have people of the calibre of the Proctors' Office staff to bring the continuity that the job requires. We are extremely grateful to them not only for that but for making it such an enjoyable year. We are also indebted to our Pro-Proctors, who were always eager to stand in when the need arose.

The Proctors' Office and the constables had their annual outing to Cambridge, to take on the Cambridge Proctors at lawn bowls. Having failed to make adequate provision for footwear the Senior Proctor embarrassed his team by playing in bare feet, while retaining white tie and bands, as was appropriate to his status. The Cambridge team were so desperate for success that they hired a couple of county players to make up their numbers, and the Cambridge Senior Proctor disturbed our concentration by realistic imitations of the mating calls of a gibbon. Despite being apparently soundly beaten, we were able to invoke an ancient scoring rule that left the final result as a draw.

The Proctors enjoyed the panache of some twenty-four degree ceremonies. Our favourite incidents included the candidate for the degree of D.Litt. who had to be literally dragged back by the hood when trying to escape the charge of the Junior Proctor (I can understand why he was terrified), the canonisation that was conferred when one of the bedels called for the Dean of St Linacre, and the supplicant who went missing in the middle of the ceremony to put more money in his car-parking meter. At one afternoon ceremony the Vice-Chancellor's procession had to turn around as it approached the Sheldonian Theatre when it was discovered that the Proctors had been cross-dressing in the Police Room.

I cannot end without a reference to the Chancellor. The Proctors have a very special relationship with the Chancellor, being required by the Statutes to attend to his needs whenever he is on official business. We enjoyed joining Roy Jenkins on many occasions such as lunch with the President of Brazil, or the Court of Benefactors, and can only echo your words, Sir, that he will be sorely missed. A remarkable illustration of his care for this University came when we held a farewell drinks party for Gerry Holman, who had been the University's Senior Bedel for many years and seen it through some 360 degree ceremonies. Roy Jenkins appeared in person for a few minutes just to add his own personal farewell. He will be a hard act to follow indeed.

And so the final event of the Proctorship was `The Election'. The voters rolled up in their thousands for a great Oxford party, bringing children, dogs, and red noses. The Student Union frolicked in the afternoon sunshine with their new friend Ms Toksvig, the first ever female candidate, and Blackwell's and the KA did a roaring trade. The VC and Proctors sat to receive the votes, and scrutinised people's identification cards, ranging from shotgun licences to golf-club membership cards to bus passes to degree certificates. A number of people took the trouble to write their name and details on the front of the voting form without turning it over to record their vote on the back, some couldn't remember their maiden names, others voted for Maggie Thatcher ... It was a spectacular end to a spectacular year. We hope that Mr Patten and indeed our own successors will enjoy a rich and exciting period in the future of this University.

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Proctorial year 2002–3

Summary of offences

(Totals for 2001–2 given in brackets)

Offences                                    No. of cases      Outcome                                  

Breach of University Statute XIII/XI 
Code of Discipline 
—Obstruction                                   6 (1)     1 @ £25 
                                                              4 @ £20 
                                                              1 @ £15          
—Occupation of University property             0 (15)    —                           
   
—Misappropriation of property                  2 (0)     1 @ £50 1 Referral to   
                                                                Disciplinary Court                          
                    
—Misuse of property (IT facilities)            1 (9)     1 @ £30         
—Defacement of University property             0 (1)     —                           
    
—Misuse of drugs                               1 (0)     Referral to Court of Summary    
                                                               Jurisdiction

Breach of Library regulations                  2 (0)     1 @ £65 + £50 damages 
                                                              1 @ £45          

Breach of Rules Committee regulations 
—Fly-posting                                   0 (6)     —
—Misconduct after examinations                 59 (14)   1 @ £60 + £9.25 
                                                                      damages 
                                                              6 @ £50 
                                                              2 @ £45 
                                                              47 @ £40 
                                                              1 @ £35 
                                                              1 @ £30 
                                                              1 Not guilty      

Breach of Proctors' Examination Regulations 
—Smoking in an examination venue               1 (0)     1 @ £40         
—Cheating                                      4 (6)     1 Candidate failed in Pt II of FHS 
                                                                Exam and allowed to resit 
                                                              2 cases referred to Disciplinary Court    
                                                              1 case referred to Court of                  
                                                                 Summary Jurisdiction
       

The Proctors referred three cases to the Disciplinary Court. In one case, a candidate was convicted of cheating in a University Examination. The candidate was failed in the paper concerned and allowed to resit. In a second case, a candidate was convicted of cheating in a University Examination and was failed outright in a final examination (and other penalties are under consideration). The third case is in progress. The Proctors also referred two cases to the Court of Summary Jurisdiction. In one case, a candidate was convicted of cheating in a University Examination: the examiners were instructed to disregard the work concerned and the candidate may resit the examination (with possible marks penalties). The second case is in progress.

Total number of offences: 76 (54)

Total taken in fines: £2,745 (£1,600) plus £59.25 damages.


Proctorial year 2002–3

Summary of complaints received

The 126 cases received during the Proctorial year 2002–3 (or in a few instances carried forward from the previous year) may be categorised as follows: The numbers in brackets refer to 2001--2.

Examinations: 103 (74), including undergraduates 78 (58), and postgraduates 25 (16)

These included 48 (22) requests for verification of results that did not develop into substantive complaints.

Equal opportunities: 1 (0)

Harassment: 4 (3)

Maladministration: 2 (4)

Quality of/access to teaching, research, or support facilities: 3 (0)

Suspension/rustication from the University: 1 (0)

Student Union (OUSU): 2 (1)

Other: 10 (10)

The Proctors upheld, in part or completely, a total of twenty of these complaints and arranged for redress to be provided where appropriate. In addition, four examination candidates were successful in appealing to the Chairman of EPSC against decisions taken by the Proctors. A fifth decision was changed as a result of legal proceedings. Five complaints remain under consideration.

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CONFERMENTS OF THE TITLE OF VISITING PROFESSOR

On the recommendation of the School of Geography and the Environment, the Life and Environmental Sciences Board has conferred the title of Visiting Professor in Hydrogeology on W.M. EDMUNDS (D.SC., PH.D. Liverpool), formerly individual merit researcher at the British Geological Survey, for a period of three years from 1 April 2003.

The Medical Sciences Board has conferred the title of Visiting Professor in Computational Physiology on P.J. HUNTER, D.PHIL. (M.SC. Auckland), currently Professor of Engineering Science, University of Auckland, for a period of five years from 1 May 2003.

The Medical Sciences Board has conferred the title of Visiting Professor in Ultrasound Therapy on G. TER HAAR, MA, D.SC. (PH.D. London), currently Research Team Leader and Reader, Institute of Cancer Research, for a period of five years from 1 May 2003.

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RECONFERMENT OF THE TITLE OF VISITING PROFESSOR

The Medical Sciences Board has reconferred the title of Visiting Professor in Haematology on S.N. WICKRAMASINGHE (SC.D., PH.D. Cambridge), for a period of five years from 1 May 2003.

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REVIEW OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY

The Medical Sciences Board is undertaking a review of Experimental Psychology as part of its programme of regular rolling reviews of its departments. The Deputy Head of Division, Professor David Smith, will chair the review committee, the terms of reference of which are:

(a) To review the progress made in response to the last General Board/EPSC review and the identification of any further action required in the light of changed circumstances in the last six years.

(b) To review by reference to international standards of excellence the quality of academic activities in the department and the balance between these activities, taking into account, in the context of the University's Mission Statement and Corporate Plan, all relevant factors, especially: research, organisational, and management structures within the department, including such matters as academic and non-academic staff planning and recruitment, accommodation and future space needs, and the relationship between units within the department and between the department and cognate subject areas and colleges with which it is involved in teaching and/or research.

The membership of the committee is as follows:

Professor Nicholas Mackintosh, University of Cambridge
Professor Richard Morris, University of Edinburgh
Professor Keith Rayner, University of Massachusetts
Professor Brian Rogers, Department of Experimental Psychology
A divisional representative—to be confirmed

The review committee would welcome written comments on matters falling within its terms of reference. These should be sent to the secretary of the review committee, Ms F. Murphy, Medical Sciences Office, Level 3, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, by 30 April.

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UNIVERSITY LIBRARY SERVICES

Oxford Digital Library Development Fund—second call for `expressions of interest'

Oxford University Library Services is establishing the Oxford Digital Library (ODL) as a key component of the academic services for the University. Over the next five years ODL plans to enrich OULS collections with a significant set of digital resources, based on a robust and sustainable digital library architecture.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a generous grant to the University to fund the essential infrastructure of ODL (equipment and staff) and to support a range of digital projects based on core research material from libraries within the University. The grant is administered through a Development Fund, managed by the Oxford Digital Library in collaboration with an editorial board, comprising scholars and librarians from within and outside Oxford.

This is the second call for expressions of interest, for which a total of £93,000 is expected to be available. This call invites project proposals from scholars in partnership with libraries in the University. It aims to promote scholarly effort with relevance to research and teaching by digitising, delivering, and enhancing major library holdings within the University. Expressions of interest should be submitted by 1 May, by completing the appropriate form on the ODL Web site.

Further information on the Development Fund and the Oxford Digital Library can be found on the ODL Web site at http://www.odl.ox.ac.uk. Specific enquiries may be directed to the chair of the editorial board, Professor Kathryn Sutherland, Professor of Bibliography and Textual Criticism (e-mail: kathryn.sutherland@st-annes.ox.ac.uk), or the ODL team (e-mail: odl-enquiries@ouls.ox.ac.uk).

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