Council and Main Committees

  • Thursday 11 June 2015
  • NO. 5100
  • VOL. 145

Council of the University

Changes in Regulations

Corrigendum: Regulations for College Contributions

Explanatory Note

When changes to relating to the increase of tax bands in respect of the accounts for 2014/15 and the contributions payable in March 2016 were published (Gazette, 23 April 2015, p490), the insertions and deletions were reversed in the changes. The correct changes to these regulations, which came into effect on 8 May, are shown below.

Text of Regulations

In Council Regulations 1 of 2014, concerning college contributions, delete existing regulation 4(4) and substitute (deleted text struck through, new text underlined):

'(4) The bands and rates for the contributions payable in 2013/14 2015/16 based on the account for the year ending on the prior 31 July, shall be as follows:

On the first £3545 million of taxable assets NIL 
On the next £39 million 0.10 per cent
On the next £39 million 0.20 per cent
On the next £39 million 0.30 per cent
On taxable assets over £4472 million 0.36 per cent'

Planning and Resource Allocation Committee of Council

Changes in Regulations

The Planning and Resource Allocation Committee of Council has made the following changes in regulations, to come into effect on 26 June.

(a) Professorship of Development Economics

Explanatory Note

These changes, made with the approval of the Social Sciences Board, establish regulations for the Professor of Development Economics.

Text of Regulations

1 In SCHEDULE A of Council Regulations 3 of 2004, concerning statutory professorships, after 'Nuffield Professor of Economics' insert:
'Professor of Development Economics'.

2 In Sect III of Council Regulations 24 of 2002, concerning individual professorships, insert new §72 as follows and renumber existing §72 onwards by plus one:

'§72. Professor of Development Economics

1. There shall be a Professor of Development Economics who shall undertake research, lecture and give instruction in an interdisciplinary area within the field of Development Economics and generally promote its study in the University.

2. The professor shall be elected by an electoral board consisting of:

(1) the Vice-Chancellor, or, if the head of the college specified in (2) below is Vice-Chancellor, a person appointed by Council;

(2) the head of the college to which the Chair may be allocated by Council from time to time, or if the head is unable or unwilling to act, a person appointed by the governing body of the college;

(3) a person appointed by the governing body of the college specified in (2) above;

(4)–(5) two persons appointed by Council;

(6) a person appointed by the Social Sciences Board;

(7)–(9) three persons appointed by the Department of International Development.

4. The professor shall be subject to the General Provisions of the regulations concerning the duties of professors and to those Particular Provisions of the same regulations which are applicable to the Chair.'

(b) Professorship of Evidence-Based Intervention

Explanatory Note

The following changes amend the title of the Professorship of Evidence-Based Intervention to the Professorship of Evidence-Based Intervention and Policy Evaluation to reflect the strategic priorities of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention. The opportunity is also taken to update the regulations to remove outdated references to the Department of Social Policy and Social Work.

Text of Regulations

1 In Schedule A of Council Regulations 3 of 2004, delete 'Professor of Evidence-Based Intervention' and substitute 'Professor of Evidence-Based Intervention and Policy Evaluation'.

2 In Sect III of Council Regulations 24 of 2002, concerning individual professorships, delete §306 and substitute (new text underlined, deleted text struck through):

'§306. Professor of Evidence-Based Intervention and Policy Evaluation

1. The Professor of Evidence-Based Intervention and Policy Evaluation shall engage in advanced study and research and give instruction in the field of evidence-based social intervention and policy evaluation.

2. The professor shall be elected by an electoral board consisting of:

(1) the Vice-Chancellor, or, if the head of the college specified in paragraph (2) below is Vice-Chancellor, a person appointed by Council;

(2) the head of the college to which the professorship shall be for the time being allocated by Council under any regulation in that behalf, or, if the head is unable or unwilling to act, a person appointed by the governing body of the college;

(3) a person appointed by the governing body of the college specified in paragraph (2) above;

(4), (5) two persons appointed by Council;

(6) a person appointed by the Social Sciences Board;

(7)–(9) three persons appointed by the Department of Social Policy and Social Work Intervention.

3. The professor shall be subject to the General Provisions of the regulations concerning the duties of professors and to those Particular Provisions of the same regulations which are applicable to the Chair.'

Congregation2 June

Question and Reply: Report of Proceedings

Under the provisions of Part 5 of Congregation Regulations 2 of 2002, the question and reply were read in Congregation and supplementary questions were asked.

Question

The following question was read by Professor Julia Bray, on behalf of the nine signatories to the question:

'Oxford University Strategic Plan for 2013–2018 stresses as part of our commitment to maintaining excellence of Oxford research that the collegiate University "will enhance the infrastructure which supports research at the highest level, including libraries". At the same time, funding for university libraries, on top of a 10% reduction in 2010–2013, was further reduced in 2013/4 and 2014/5 financial years, while additional savings, characterised in Michaelmas 2014 update from the Bodleian Libraries as "significant", will need to be found in 2015/6. Amalgamation of important research libraries in the Humanities is now being implemented or proposed (notably Taylorian Slavonic and Modern Greek library, Oriental Institute library and Sackler library), with considerable potential effect on the university's ability to conduct world-class research in these disciplines and on undergraduate and graduate teaching provision.

What consideration has been given by the Council to the potential detrimental effects of further cuts to the Bodleian Libraries budgetary settlement and to the possibilities of finding additional funding to libraries' operational costs?'

Georgy Kantor, St John's
David Seifert, St John's
Barry Murnane, St John's
Julia Bray, St John's
Christopher Minkowski, Balliol
Alison Salvesen, Mansfield
David Taylor, Wolfson
James Benson, Wolfson
John Ma, Corpus Christi

Reply

The following reply was read by the Registrar, on behalf of Council:

'Council shares the view that the Bodleian Libraries are essential in order to conduct world-class research and teaching in Oxford and that the reputation and success of the University in these academic endeavours have been influenced by the collections and services provided by the libraries over the past 400 years. It remains committed to ensuring that the Bodleian Libraries can continue to provide their services to Oxford and recognises that the nature of the provision made by the Bodleian affects the academic disciplines in different ways.

Over the last five years Council has approved significant capital investments of just under £110m on library projects (funded from both University and philanthropic sources) to allow the development of the Book Storage Facility, refurbishment of the Radcliffe Camera and the Gladstone Link, the Weston Library, the Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library, and the creation of the Bodleian KB Chen China Centre Library, all of which contribute to the sustainability of the services and have enhanced the infrastructure to support research.

One of the reasons that the Bodleian Libraries are now making arrangements for accommodating required reduction through a combination of efficiencies in their existing service provision, raising additional funds, and reducing some areas of expenditure is the need for the University as a whole to maintain a sustainable financial plan. An additional reason for such change is the need to provide new services to support researchers in the University, including digital provision, open access support and research data curation and publication.

Council is accountable for the financial health of the University, for ensuring that the University has a strategic plan and an annual operating plan and budget; and that the Strategic Plan is supported by a financial and investment strategy. Council has, appropriately, addressed its considerations to the broad issue of a sustainable budget for the University as a whole, to ensure that facilities, collections and University infrastructure can be sustained responsibly into the future.

The University's Strategic Plan 2013–2018, proposed by Council and approved by Congregation, notes that to support the University's academic communities with appropriate libraries and museums, seminar rooms, laboratories, IT systems and research equipment will require significant capital investment; and to ensure that facilities, collections and University infrastructure can be sustained responsibly into the future will require a sufficient recurrent surplus. The Strategic Plan therefore aims for the University to achieve an operational surplus (calculated as earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation: EBITDA) of at least 5%, taking into account the increasing cost of replacing assets through inflation or rising expectations of functional suitability.

In setting the University's budget for 2014/15, Council, informed by the Planning and Resource Allocation Committee and the Finance Committee, noted that there was an anticipated shortfall against the University's EBITDA target in 2013/14 and future years. At that time EBITDA was forecast to be 4.7% in 2013/14 and about 4.5% in 2014/15 and 2015/16 without action being taken. To address this, Council required the University's budget to be set for 2015/16 with the aim of achieving the EBITDA target of at least 5% in that year. That required savings in that year across the University as a whole of the order of £9.5m.

Since growth in expenditure was the primary cause of the failure to meet the EBITDA target the necessary savings were allocated across the divisions and services pro rata to the growth in budgeted departmental expenditure between 2013/14 and 2014/15. This resulted in divisions and services being required to find savings on their submitted plans totalling £9.5m, with all service areas (Finance, Development, UAS and ASUC) required to make savings totalling £3.1m to accommodate the necessary reduction in funding.

A key element of the future strategy for providing sustainable funding, which would mitigate the negative effects of the reduction in other funding streams, is the continued development of an endowment fund. In the last five years the Bodleian Libraries' endowment value has increased from £27m to £45.5m, enabling the protection of key specialist staff positions, as well as providing funding for preservation, exhibitions, and acquisition of collections. As part of the Oxford Thinking campaign the Bodleian Libraries have been a strategic area for fundraising that has resulted in donations of £32.3m over the last five years with £4.7m cash received this year (to date). Efforts will continue to maximise income from philanthropic giving and so grow the endowment fund in support of the Bodleian Libraries. A plan to leverage external endowment for libraries and museums is under development and expected to come for discussion to PRAC this term.'

Supplementary questions

The following supplementary questions were asked:

Professor James Lewis, Wolfson and Oriental Studies:

'Given that the University is carrying extraordinarily low levels of debt compared to the sector generally and that the sector-average operational surplus lies at 3.7% or less, and that reportedly 90% of donations to the Oxford Thinking campaign come from Humanities and Social Science graduates, why is an operational surplus of 5% or more given absolute priority in the University strategic plan, when this policy results in small savings but irreparable damage to research infrastructure, to the University’s reputation and would cripple efforts to obtain endowments?'

Professor John Ma, Corpus Christi and Faculty of Classics:

'Given that, for Humanities and Social Sciences, libraries are the equivalent of laboratories and other equipment, could Council explain why capital investment in new projects is prioritised over the running costs of existing world-class research library infrastructure?'

¶ These supplementary questions will be considered by Council at its next meeting on 22 June. A reply will be published in the Gazette shortly after that date.

Congregation6 June

Conferment of Honorary Degrees

(i) The conferment of the Degree of Master of Arts, honoris causa, approved by Resolution of Congregation on 28 April 2015, was conferred upon Valerie Boasten.

(ii) The conferment of the Degree of Master of Arts, honoris causa, approved by Resolution of Congregation on 28 April 2015, was conferred upon Charles John Vaisey Jones.

(iii) The conferment of the Degree of Master of Arts, honoris causa, approved by Resolution of Congregation on 28 April 2015, was conferred upon Alison Miles.

The Public Orator made the following speeches in presenting the recipients of Honorary Degrees:

Valerie Boasten

Sir William Dunn School of Pathology and E P Abraham Trust, 1983–2013; first female Bedel of the University of Oxford, Bedel of Arts 1998–2003 and Bedel of Divinity 2003–15

Ecce femina cuius facies permultis inter Oxonienses bene nota est; in ephemeride quoque quae Salve inscribitur imago eius apparuit; nam saltatricem quandam honestaveramus cuius formam et artem vulgus magnopere admirabatur. Itaque et Bedella et Orator aliquantulo celebritatis, sane necopinatae, breve spatium fruiti sunt. Universitatem ut bonam civitatem oportet non solum bene gubernari sed etiam aliquid splendoris in caerimoniis exhibere; quare iuvat nos studiosis in hoc theatro pompa atque apparatu gratulari. Haec femina, ex quo tempore prima e muliebri sexu numero bedellorum est adscripta, munere semper maxima et elegantia et maiestate perfuncta est. Histriones quidem, antequam partes coram spectatoribus agunt, multos per dies exercentur; nos sine exercitatione, sine meditatione officium graduum conferendorum exsequimur. Honorandi igitur nonnumquam timiditate afficiuntur; quibus dicere soleo, ‘Pone curam: sciunt hoc omne bedelli.’ Itaque, dum unam feminam laudamus, simul omni bedellorum cohorti grates nostras offerimus. Haec quam nunc produco nescioquo pacto simul subridere et gravitatem tenere videtur. Cuius in honore ego laeto pectore illud verbum dico quo saepenumero eam de sella surgere iussi.

Praesento universitatis nostrae fautricem fidelem, Valeriam Boasten, Divinitatis Bedellam, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Magistri in Artibus.

Admission by the Vice-Chancellor

Virgae portatrix dignissima, quae tot caerimonias praesentia tua ornavisti, ego auctoritate mea et totius Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Magistri in Artibus honoris causa.

Paraphrase

Here is a lady whose appearance is known to a huge number of Oxford people. Her picture has even appeared in Hello! magazine, following the occasion when we gave an honorary degree to a ballerina much admired by the public for her art and beauty, so that the Bedel and the Orator both enjoyed their brief moment of modest and unexpected celebrity. A university, as in any good constitution, should not only be well governed but should display a sort of splendour on ceremonial occasions; that is why we like to congratulate our graduands in this theatre with procession and pomp. From the time that she joined the bedels, this lady, the first woman to be appointed to their number, has always performed her office with both grace and dignity. Actors rehearse for weeks before opening their show to the public, but we confer degrees without the benefit of rehearsal. So honorands are sometimes a little nervous, but I can always say to them, ‘Don’t worry: the bedels know it all.’ And so, as we honour a particular person, we are also expressing our thanks to the whole corps of bedels. She herself has a way of seeming to smile while preserving the appropriate seriousness. It is with a happy heart that I now speak that word with which I have so often summoned her to her feet.

I present a loyal supporter of our university, Valerie Boasten, Bedel of Divinity, to be admitted to the honorary degree of Master of Arts.

Admission by the Vice-Chancellor

Most deserving bearer of the mace, who have adorned so many ceremonies with your presence, I on my own authority and that of the whole University admit you to the honorary degree of Master of Arts.

Charles John Vaisey Jones

Mechanical Engineering Technician and Student Workshop Supervisor, Department of Chemistry, 1966–2015

Vergilius, qui in Aeneide pietatem super omnes virtutes tollere videtur, virum prope me nunc adstantem voce facundiore quam mea laudare possit. Quomodo satis homini grates nostras offeram qui annos fere quinquaginta in Facultate Chimiae summa fide summa peritia tirones docuit, doctos adiuvit? Idem poeta in Georgicis apium laborem labori Cyclopum comparat; honorandus noster ut hi materiem suae voluntati parere cogit, ut illae opera subtilissima mira calliditate fabricatur. Quod tam excellenter Oxoniensibus effecit ut docti et in Hispania Germania Francogallia sibi similes machinas eum creare rogaverint. Collegae ipsius non solum sollertiam eius diligentiamque sed etiam hominem ipsum praedicant: semper enim ridet; si consulitur, semper vacare videtur; si novicius difficili nodo impeditur, auxilium libenter parat. Quapropter adfirmare ausim neminem in ulla huius universitatis parte melius meruisse ut rude iam donetur otioque diuturno posthac fruatur.

Praesento fabrum peritissimum, adminiculum facultatis suae firmissimum, chimicorum innumerabilium magistrum et adiutorem, Carolum Iohannem Vaisey Jones, in Facultate Chimiae diu ministrum, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Magistri in Artibus.

Admission by the Vice-Chancellor

Vetus amice, cuius artem industriam humanitatem admirantur omnes, ego auctoritate mea et totius Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Magistri in Artibus honoris causa.

Paraphrase

Virgil, who in the Aeneid seems to rank loyalty above all the other virtues, would be able to praise the man now standing beside me with a voice more eloquent than mine. How may I offer sufficient thanks to one who has for nigh on fifty years taught students and aided professors in the Department of Chemistry with a faithfulness as outstanding as his skill? In the Georgics the same poet compares the labour of bees to that of the Cyclopes; the present honorand, like the latter, compels materials to obey his will and like the former builds delicate constructions with amazing dexterity. So excellent has his work for Oxford people been that researchers in Spain, Germany and France too have asked him to make machinery of the same kind for them. His colleagues praise not only his expertise and application but also his character: he is always smiling; if someone consults him, he always seems to have time for them; if a beginner is entangled in some knotty problem, he helps them with a good will. For these reasons I venture to claim that there is no one in any part of this university who has better deserved to collect his long-service medal and to enjoy a long retirement to come.

I present a most skilful craftsman, a stalwart support of his department, the teacher and helper of countless chemists, Charles John Vaisey Jones, long-serving technician in the Department of Chemistry, to be admitted to the honorary degree of Master of Arts.

Admission by the Vice-Chancellor

Old friend, whose skill, hard work and humanity are admired by all, I on my own authority and that of the whole University admit you to the honorary degree of Master of Arts.

Alison Miles

Former secretary to two Masters of Balliol; former Vice-Chancellor’s secretary; Chancellor's Executive Assistant, 2004–15

Miles bonus semper vigilat, iussa ducis sui prompte exsequitur, simul intelligit quando sua sponte agere debeat; quarum virtutum exemplum femina nunc a me producta admirabiliter praestat. Multos abhinc annos Magistri Collegii Balliolensis minister facta est, quem, cum Vice-Cancellarius creatus esset, ad tabularia universitatis est secuta. Mox in locum Vice-Cancellarii successerunt alii; ea mansit. Quot arcana imperii necesse est eam scire: noscit ubi corpora, ut dicitur, sint sepulta, quibusque in armariis larvas reperire possis. At si ex ea commissa quaeres, tacebit; nam miles fidelis, etiamsi supplicia atrocissima minantur, silentium servat. At licet magna pars ex eius opera a nobis non videatur, hoc saltem certum est: constat per omnes cuncta eam negotia sibi data diligentia et sagacitate curavisse. Porro a principibus nostris praecipue laudatur quia contiones caerimonias Encaenia oculatissime praeparaverit, ita ut per eam magna parte stet ut in conspectu et populi et benefactorum dignitatem praebeamus. Quapropter nunc grato pectore et triumphali sono eam salutemus.

Feminam praesento quae insignissimos nostrae litterarum reipublicae magistratus summa fide adiuvit, Alisonem Miles, Cancellarii et Vice-Cancellarii per multos annos ministram, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Magistri in Artibus.

Admission by the Vice-Chancellor

Rituum nostrorum antistes prudentissima, quae caerimonias maxima sedulitate curavisti, ego auctoritate mea et totius Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Magistri in Artibus honoris causa.

Paraphrase

The good soldier is always on the alert, quick to carry out his commander’s bidding, but equally aware of when he should use his own initiative – virtues all admirably displayed by the lady whom I now present. Many years back she became assistant to the Master of Balliol, and when he was appointed Vice-Chancellor, she followed him to the University Offices. Since then Vice-Chancellors have come and gone, but she has remained. How many state secrets she is bound to know! – she knows where the bodies are buried, as they say, and in which cupboards the skeletons are to be found. But if you ask her about such confidential matters, she will say not a word, for the loyal soldier keeps silence, however dire the consequences with which he is threatened. But although a great part of her work may be hidden from us, this at least is sure: everyone agrees that she has dealt with all the business entrusted to her with attention and efficiency. Our top brass praise her especially for the eye for detail which she has brought to Encaenia and our other public meetings and ceremonies, so that the fine show we have made in presenting ourselves to the public and to our benefactors owes much to her. For which reasons let us hail her now with thankful spirits and triumphal sound.

I present a lady who has supported the highest officers in this our republic of letters with the utmost reliability, Alison Miles, for many years executive assistant to the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, to be admitted to the honorary degree of Master of Arts.

Admission by the Vice-Chancellor

Sagacious mistress of our rituals, who have overseen our ceremonies with the keenest attention, I on my own authority and that of the whole University admit you to the honorary degree of Master of Arts.

Congregation8 June

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Council of the University

Register of Congregation

Mr Vice-Chancellor reports that the following names have been added to the Register of Congregation:

Brusius, M S, Trinity

Coop, C M, IT Services

Costa, M, Wolfson

Distelhorst, G M, Green Templeton

Fleming-Brown, D S, Faculty of Clinical Medicine

Gibbs, E C, Radcliffe Science Library

Manning, C A, University College

Noble, P H, IT Services

Nunan, D, Faculty of Clinical Medicine

Snape, D T, Blavatnik School of Government

Stephen, A T, Worcester

Williams, B J, Pembroke