Personal Support and Welfare
St Hilda’s is an open and friendly College. We hope that all students will feel free to ask for help or advice at any time.
There are a number of ways in which advice can be sought within College, and from related services within the University. For more information, please see the Student Handbook.
Personal Tutors and College Advisers
Each undergraduate is allocated a Personal Tutor, and each graduate student is allocated a College Adviser who is available for general consultation on any problems, academic or personal.
Students seeking general help or advice may always consult the Principal, their Personal Tutor/College Adviser or any member of the Senior Common Room, especially the Vice-Principal, the Senior Tutor, the Dean, the Chaplain, or the Academic Registrar. Either telephone, email, or leave a note in the staff pigeon-holes at the Lodge; the member of staff will then suggest a time to meet.
Students may disclose a mental or physical disability at any stage of their time at Oxford, but we urge you to do so as soon as possible so that we can help you to get the support you need. The University of Oxford has a Common Framework Statement which sets out the guiding principles that underpin the procedures for supporting disabled students. The usual procedure is for students to disclose their disability to the University Disability Advisory Service (DAS). This Office then arranges any necessary assessments, and informs and advises the student's college. Each college also has a Disability Lead Contact, and it is helpful if you make contact with this person as well. At St Hilda's this is Professor Lorna Smith, the Disability Fellow. Rebekah Unwin, the Academic Registrar, is the Disability Coordinator at the College. If you have a long-term disability, the College can write to the Proctors in order to request any adjustments that you may need for your examinations. The permission given will then apply to all other examinations that you may take while you are at Oxford. If your requirements change, then please give the College plenty of notice so that we can be sure that arrangements are in place. Any student who is likely to require special provision for examinations (e.g. because of dyslexia) should contact the Academic Office.
Disability support is a collaborative approach including the DAS, the College and the department; for graduates the lead responsibility for maintaining oversight of disability arrangements is the department/faculty while for undergraduates it is the College.
The College Nurse, Caroline Smith, is available for anyone who has a medical need as well as to listen in confidence to other concerns that may arise. The nurse has a drop-in surgery in Wolfson Building Room G04 weeks 0-9 inclusive in each term. You can also make an appointment to see one of the College doctors. Times of the drop-in surgeries are given in the Student Handbook, together with information about other medical services.
Students seeking general help or advice may always consult their Personal Tutor or College Adviser. Note that there is also a separate Welfare Panel within the College and details on the membership of this Panel for the current academic year are to be found displayed on the Decanal Notice Board in South Foyer.
Students may consult any member of the Welfare Panel regarding welfare issues. This is best done either by email or by leaving a note in the staff pigeonholes at the lodge; the member of staff will then suggest a time to meet.
The College Dean is a member of the Welfare Panel and holds regular consultation hours (details are displayed on the Decanal Notice Board in South Foyer). The Dean may also be contacted by email. The Dean is also the Estranged Student contact person in St Hilda's: she is happy to provide support and advice to students who are studying without the support or approval of a family network. Further support for estranged students is available through the University.
The Junior Deans may be consulted on welfare issues. Details of how best to contact them displayed on the Decanal Notice Board in South Foyer. In the evenings and at weekends during term it is always possible to ask at the Lodge for the assistance of a Junior Dean.
Students seeking to consult a professionally trained counsellor will find information relating to the University Counselling Service on the University website. This site also offers useful time-management and study skills advice and includes an annotated list of suggested self-help materials (N.B. the College library holds a range of these publications).
Assistance from College staff and College first aiders is best sought by making contact with the Porters' Lodge (01865 276884) in the first instance. Please let the Porters' Lodge know as soon as possible if there is any emergency of any sort on college property. It is essential that you inform the Lodge if you have independently alerted the emergency services (e.g. ambulance, fire services) to an incident at any of our college properties.
Transgender and Gender Identity
St Hilda’s has a long history of championing gender equality and inclusivity. The College has an annual Gender Equality Festival and many of the College’s facilities are suited to transgender students, such as a number of gender neutral toilets and bathrooms in most buildings. St Hilda’s is committed to supporting the College’s transgender students through all aspects of their time at Oxford – academic, social, medical - and the College has adopted the University’s Transgender Guidance and Policy.
If you would like support regarding transgender issues, please get in touch with the Senior Tutor in the first instance whether you are a current student or hold a place to study at the College. The Dean, Academic Registrar, and Junior Deans can also provide support and information. Should you want assistance with trans-related administrative, mental health or medical issues, the Senior Tutor will arrange a meeting with you to discuss your needs and the process and timescales for meeting them. This will typically cover all the points identified on the University’s checklist on supporting students who are trans/transitioning. With your permission, the Senior Tutor will make sure that those who need to know within College and the University are informed about any changes. We appreciate that each individual case is different, and it is equally acceptable for changes to be made in stages as it is for them to be made all at once. We understand that each transgender student has a unique set of circumstances, and we encourage you to raise any relevant concerns with us – e.g. worries about privacy with family, your chosen name and pronouns, or about visas if you are an international student. If you need time away from your studies for medical reasons, please discuss this with us so that we can explore options for deferring or suspending your studies. All discussions will be treated in confidence and will be handled sensitively and respectfully.
There are a number of individuals in College whom you can approach for welfare support, including the Dean, Junior Deans, Welfare Panel, JCR and MCR Welfare and LGBTQ Officers, and Peer Supporters. St Hilda’s students have access to counsellors at the University’s Counselling Service who are trained in trans-related issues (including training from Gendered Intelligence) and provide a respectful, attentive, empathic, neutral and confidential service. The College doctors have experience working with those who are trans/transitioning. Further information about the University’s transgender policy and welfare provisions can be found on the University website.
Further information about university-wide policy and welfare provision for students who want to transition is also available from the University’s LGBTQ Society. The LGBTQ Society has a Trans Officer, who can be approached by anyone in the University and who can provide a source of outside-college support by trans students for trans students.
Harassment is an unacceptable form of behaviour and the College is committed to protecting students, staff and any other person for whom the College has a special responsibility from any form of harassment, which might inhibit them from pursuing their work or studies, or from making proper use of university facilities. Complaints of harassment will be taken seriously. Advice may be sought or complaints pursued through any appropriate channel. The College has five harassment advisors:
- Nicky Charles (Accommodation Officer)
- Dev Gangjee (Law Fellow)
- Claire Harvey (Communications Manager)
- Kerstin Hoge (Linguistics Fellow and Tutor for Graduates)
- Sarah Norman (Senior Tutor)
The role of the adviser is strictly a counselling and advisory one; they have no disciplinary function. Any of these may be approached in the first instance. Those approached will direct inquirers elsewhere, if that seems most likely to meet the inquirer's needs.
For further information about making a report of harassment and the College's Code of Practice Relating to Harassment, see the Student Handbook.
Dean: Dr Lorraine Wild
Disability Lead: Professor Lorna Smith
Disability Coordinator: Rebekah Unwin
Transgender Lead: The Senior Tutor, Dr Sarah Norman
Junior Deans: Rachel Dlugatch, Anna-Maria Ramezanzadeh, Christopher Bennett