• Thursday 11 November 2010
  • No. 4934
  • Vol 141

Consultative notices

Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) Consultation

Following many months of discussions about changes to the USS pension scheme, a package of proposals put forward by the USS Joint Negotiating Committee has been accepted by the USS Trustee Board, subject to consultation with affected members and their representatives.

The consultation period runs from 20 October 2010 until 22 December 2010. During this period, USS members and those who are eligible to join USS, together with recognised employee representatives, have the opportunity to consider the proposed changes and provide their responses. Once the consultation period ends, the USS Trustee Board will consider all the comments received from affected members and their representatives before it decides on the final form of any changes.

To find out more about the proposed changes, and to provide your response, visit An information pack about the consultation has been distributed by post to those eligible to take part.

The proposed changes are supported by the Employers' Pension Forum (EPF), the national body representing the employers, but opposed by the University and College Union (UCU), which represents scheme members. Further information is available on their respective websites at and

To ensure that the USS Trustees receive your views, you should use the USS online consultation at The University will also pass on to the USS Trustees the views put to it by the Oxford representatives of the UCU.

General notices

Guidelines for Leave for Academic Staff

Ref. nos. ATC/1, EMS/11

1. Approval of applications for leave

All applications for leave from normal academic duties (sabbatical leave, leave to hold research awards, special leave etc.) must be accompanied by a recommendation from the individual's department or faculty board, as appropriate, and must also be approved by the divisional board which now has the authority to grant leave.

2. Sabbatical leave and dispensation from CUF lecturing obligations

The University's regulations in respect of sabbatical leave and dispensation from CUF lecturing duties are set out in Council Regulations 4 of 2004. Application forms and advice on individuals' entitlement may be obtained from:

Humanities—Ms Parsons, 34 St Giles', tel.: (2)70559, email:

Social Sciences Divisions and Continuing Education—Ms Hales, Hayes House, 75 George Street, tel.: (6)14857, email:

Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division—Ms Sutcliffe, 9 Parks Road, tel.: (2)82588, email:

Medical Sciences Division—Ms Armitage, Medical Sciences Office, the John Radcliffe, tel.: (553) 21689, email:

Completed application forms (signed by the head of department where appropriate) should be returned to the head of the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division or the divisional contact shown above, as appropriate, for processing and for faculty board/divisional board approval.

3. Sabbatical leave in advance of entitlement

In some circumstances individuals may wish to take leave for purposes covered by the sabbatical leave scheme at a time when they do not have sufficient sabbatical entitlement. Such circumstances might include an unrepeatable opportunity to pursue academic interests, or a need to undertake fieldwork for a period exceeding one year. In such cases leave could be granted in whole or in part as sabbatical leave in advance of entitlement if a good academic case could be demonstrated.

4. Applications for leave to hold some public offices

Applications for leave to accept an appointment in the public service of national or international importance are normally granted by the divisional board, provided that:

  • the purpose of the leave can be shown to be compatible with the academic interests of the department or faculty;
  • the department or faculty (and the college in the case of joint appointments) supports the application and is able to cover the individual's duties including examining and graduate supervision;
  • it is clear that the individual intends to return to university service after the period of leave.

Applications for leave to hold such offices should be made to the divisional secretary, faculty board secretary or other officer as notified locally.

5. Applications for certain research awards

Applications to national bodies of prestigious and competitive research awards (e.g. British Academy Research Readerships and Senior Research Fellowships, AHRC Research Leave awards, EPSRC Senior or Advanced Fellowships) are normally granted by the divisional board provided that the department or faculty (and the college in the case of joint appointments) supports the application and that appropriate arrangements can be made to cover the individual's duties, including examining and graduate supervision, should the application be successful.

Applications for research awards by members of the Humanities Division must be notified to the appropriate divisional research facilitator at least one month before the funder's deadline. The research facilitator will provide advice and support for the application, produce a budget and an OG (internal authorisation form required by Research Services) and will liaise with the Humanities Division and Research Services to obtain approval for the application. It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain in advance the consent of the college (where appropriate) for any research leave application. Consent must be forwarded to the research facilitator and is required by Research Services as part of the internal checking and authorisation process. Note: all applications to outside bodies for research funding must be checked and authorised by Research Services. The AHRC will not accept applications directly from colleges: applications from CUF lecturers to that body can only be submitted via the relevant faculty.

6. Applications for special unpaid leave

Applications for leave other than those outlined above may be considered as applications for special unpaid leave. Applications may be considered if they meet one or both of the following criteria:

  1. providing academic benefit to the University;
  2. providing a career development opportunity for the individual, hence aiding staff retention.

Activities under these criteria might include visiting another institution to study specialised laboratory techniques, taking up a visiting lecturership or visiting professorship at a prestigious department abroad, an extended period of fieldwork etc.

In all cases, it is essential that the consent of the college (where appropriate) and of the department/faculty board is obtained before an application is made to the divisional board. In considering applications, colleges and departments/faculty boards must be satisfied that the proposed leave fits with their overall plans and objectives, and it must be clear that the individual's duties for the college and for the department/faculty, including examining and graduate supervision, can be covered satisfactorily. Divisional boards will consider applications both on their own merits and in the context of overall operational needs, and will not approve applications which are prejudicial to the teaching and research of the department/faculty or which are not supported by the applicant's college.

Occasionally applications are made for leave to enable an individual to accept a fixed-term appointment in another academic institution (other than routine visiting appointments held during sabbatical leave). In such instances the college and the department/faculty board would need to be satisfied that the application was in line with their overall plans and objectives, as above, and that all operational requirements could be covered satisfactorily, before the application was put to the divisional board. Applicants would normally be expected to give a commitment to return to Oxford after the period of leave. It should be noted that the longer the appointment at the other institution, the less likely it is that leave will be granted.

Leave will not be granted, except in the most truly exceptional circumstances, to enable an individual to decide whether to accept a permanent post elsewhere.

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 and to their college under the terms of their contracts, no such offer should be accepted without the support of the college and the department/faculty and the explicit approval of the divisional board. It is essential, therefore, that any prospect of such an offer is discussed, in confidence, with the college and with the divisional secretary or faculty board secretary at the earliest opportunity so as to avoid delays, and the possibility of refusal, if a firm offer is then made at very short notice.

All applications for special unpaid leave should be made to the divisional secretary, faculty board secretary or other officer as notified locally, who will also be able to advise on the likelihood of success of any application on the university side; the college's consent in appropriate cases must be obtained before an application is put to the divisional board.

7. Special paid leave

Divisions may, if they wish, with the concurrence of the college in relevant cases, grant additional paid leave outside sabbatical entitlement, funded from their own resources, to enable staff to undertake projects of mutual benefit to the individual and the University. Examples might include asking a member of staff to concentrate for a term wholly on considering revised teaching patterns across a whole subject area; or permitting a member of staff to teach at another university for a term to foster inter-institutional links, possibly as part of an exchange arrangement.

8. Stipendiary arrangements

Sabbatical leave and dispensation from CUF lecturing duties: leave will be granted with stipend (although it may be granted without stipend if taken for the purpose of holding a remunerated visiting appointment under 6 above).

Leave to hold a public office: leave will be granted without stipend.

Leave to hold a research award: the arrangements vary depending on the regulations governing the award, but it is normal for individuals holding such awards to continue to receive their usual university stipend, the awarding body either providing funds to make a replacement appointment or reimbursing the University for the individual's salary costs.

Special leave: leave will normally be granted without stipend, but see 7 above.

9. Implications for future entitlement to sabbatical leave or dispensation from CUF lecturing duties

Special leave does not count as qualifying service for the purposes of calculating future entitlement to sabbatical leave or dispensation from CUF lecturing duties. However it does not count against an individual's future entitlement. When special leave has been granted for the purposes of holding a public office or a research award, sabbatical leave is not normally granted in the period immediately preceding or following the period of special leave, although some flexibility may be exercised at the divisional board's discretion in respect of periods of special leave not exceeding one year, especially in connection with the holding of research awards.


St John's College: Display of Laudian Vestments

The College intends to open to the public its collection of medieval vestments on Saturday, 27 November, from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.  The collection is displayed in the Garden Quadrangle and entrance, free of charge, will be via the Main Lodge.

Humanitas Programme

The Humanities Division is delighted to announce the launch of a new initiative for 2010/11: the Humanitas Programme.

Humanitas is a series of Visiting Professorships at Oxford and Cambridge intended to bring leading practitioners and scholars to both universities to address major themes in the arts, social sciences and humanities. Created by Lord Weidenfeld, the Programme is managed and funded by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue with the support of a series of generous benefactors and administered by the Humanities Division in Oxford and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) in Cambridge.

Humanitas will welcome some twenty Visiting Professors, who will be appointed for a given academic year and invited to deliver a series of lectures, followed by a related symposium, workshop or masterclass for graduate students.

The Programme will include the following fields:

  • Architecture
  • Chamber Music
  • Chinese Studies
  • Classical Music and Music Education
  • Comparative European Literature
  • Contemporary Art
  • Diplomacy and Statecraft
  • Drama
  • Economic Thought
  • Film/TV
  • History of Art
  • History of Ideas
  • Interfaith Studies
  • Media
  • Museums, Galleries and Libraries
  • Opera Studies
  • Popular Music
  • War Studies and Terrorism
  • Women's Rights

The Humanities Division is delighted to welcome Athol Fugard, the leading South African playwright, director and actor, to Oxford as the first Humanitas Visiting Professor in Drama, generously sponsored by Eric Abraham.

Further information on the Humanitas Programme can be found at :

Recognition of Distinction

Recognition of Distinction

The following title has been conferred on behalf of the Recognition of Distinction Committee: Hambly, B.M., BSc Adelaide, PhD Camb, University Lecturer in Mathematics and Fellow of St Anne's, Professor of Mathematics with immediate effect.

Electoral Boards

Composition of an Electoral Board

The composition of the electoral board to the post below, proceedings to fill which are currently in progress, has been revised and is now as  follows:

EP Abraham Professorship of Chemical Pathology

  Appointed by
The Master of St Catherine's Mr Vice-Chancellor
The Rector of Lincoln ex officio
Professor Sir John Bell Council
Professor J. Thomas Council
Professor H. Bayley Medical Sciences Divisional Board
Professor N. Proudfoot Medical Sciences Divisional Board
Professor C. Marshall Medical Sciences Divisional Board
Professor H. Waldmann Medical Sciences Divisional Board
Professor J. Raf Lincoln

Musical Events

Kellogg College

Fundraising piano and viola recital, Saturday, 20 November, 7.30 p.m., Kellogg College.

Programme includes piano works by Schumann, Mendelssohn and Chopin; Berlioz's Harold in Italy arranged for viola and piano by Liszt. Tickets £7, £5 students, including glass of wine. Funds raised go to the Student Hardship Fund. All welcome. Further information and tickets: Jitka Fort on 01865 612014 or


Museum of Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museum: Christmas Light Night

In association with Oxford City Christmas Light Night, 26 November, 18.00–22.00, free, Oxford University Museum of Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museum will be continuing their series of magical evening events. Explore the Natural History collections by lantern light, with live jazz, blues and choral music to welcome the festive season. Experience the Pitt Rivers by torchlight accompanied by sounds from around the world (timed tickets available on the night). Mask making and festive refreshments (bar closes at 21.30).