Study and Personal Support
The College (and University) have a wide range of services available to assist with any problems. Your College's services and activities will complement those provided by your department.
St Hilda’s College has a Tutor for Graduates to look after graduate interests, including academic problems, accommodation, and grants for research expenses. The College Dean and Junior Deans are also available to help with welfare issues.
As a graduate student at St Hilda's, you will have a College Adviser who can help with any problems, particularly those which you might not normally take to someone in your Department. College Advisers offer pastoral support and will be able to direct you to appropriate persons for assistance, for example on personal or coping issues. They can also discuss difficulties you may be experiencing in your Department or Faculty and/or with your supervisor; generally keep an eye on your progress (although not acting as a second supervisor); and perhaps offer general advice on applications for research funding, conferences and seminar attendance, publication and career plans.
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. 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, Dr Lorna Smith is the Disability Fellow. Mrs Suzie Hancock, 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 arrangement are in place. Any student who is likely to require special provision for examinations (e.g. because of dyslexia) should contact the Academic Office.
Facilities in College for Students with Disabilities
St Hilda's College has two specially adapted study-bedrooms in the Christina Barratt Building which are suitable for students with limited mobility, including wheelchair users. There is wheelchair access to the Dining Hall, the Junior Common Room, the Chapel, and the Library. There are disabled toilet facilities in the main college buildings. The College also has disabled parking.
The Middle Common Room has seven steps up to main door, and two steps down into the primary room.
The College does not have a hearing loop installed but we have made use of the loan facility offered by the Estates Department when a hearing loop has been required.
The College Nurse is available in College each day during term for general consultation as well as providing help on specific medical matters. There is a drop-in surgery in College from Monday to Friday. Times of the drop-in surgeries are given in Part D - Advice and Help section of the Student Handbook, together with information about other medical services.
Students seeking general help or advice may always consult their Personal Tutor. 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 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 skill 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. Please also see the University’s transgender policy.
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. College Advisers on Harassment include the Principal, Vice-Principal, Senior Tutor, Tutor for Graduates, the Dean, Personal Tutors, graduate College Advisers, the Chaplain and Junior Deans, Domestic Bursar, and College Nurse. Additionally, the following people have been specially appointed to give advice in this connection and to answer questions (whether or not amounting to a complaint):
a) St Hilda's College Harassment Advisory Panel.
b) Departmental or faculty 'Confidential Advisers', appointed by heads of department or the equivalent.
c) Members of the 'Advisory Panel', serving the whole University. The Advisory Panel consists of Senior Members appointed by the Proctors with special expertise or interest in relevant aspects of staff and student welfare. Members of the panel may be approached on a number specially designated for this purpose.
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, Part H, Appendices, II.8-9.