Sources of Support & Advice
The College has designated Officers to advise on specific issues: Directors of Studies for your academic work, for example, or the Financial Tutor on financial matters. But sometimes the specific issues are interconnected, or related to problems or strains in your personal life. Broader support of a 'pastoral' kind is available from Tutors, the Dean,and the College Nurse.
All students have a Tutor. Tutors have both a formal role and an informal role. Their formal role is as the main designated intermediary between you and the University, or the College, or in some cases outside authorities. University regulations require that every student must have a Tutor, and any dealings between yourself and the University will normally be through your Tutor. For example, if you need to take your examinations under special conditions, or if ill health forces you to take a year out from your studies, you make the relevant applications through your Tutor. If you find yourself in conflict with a Department of the College, or with a Fellow (such as your Director of Studies), or if you are the subject of disciplinary action, your Tutor is there to advise you and, if necessary, to represent you. If you are taken to hospital, or detained by the Police, your Tutor would expect to be informed and to assist if necessary. The Tutors operate a night-time rota, so that a Duty Tutor is always on call in an emergency, except during the long vacation.
More informally, your Tutor is available to advise and support you if you come up against personal difficulties of any kind. Worries about work, health, personal and sexual relationships, family strains or financial problems are a common part of student experience. You can discuss such matters with your Tutor. The Senior Tutor and Tutors hold regular weekly meetings, together with the College Nurse and the Dean, and from time to time the Dean of Students, to discuss welfare issues. Although the roles of these College officers are different and distinct, sometimes they may consult one another about individual cases. All discussion of individuals is kept strictly confidential to the circle of Tutors in College (ie not communicated to Directors of Studies, parents etc without your specific consent). It will normally be assumed that you are happy for your Tutor to consult the other Tutors if they judge it to be in your interests, unless you request otherwise, in which case the matter will be entirely confidential to your Tutor and yourself. UCS representatives are invited to the Tutors' meetings once a Term to discuss welfare items of general interest (but not individual cases). Your Tutor will also keep an eye on your academic progress, and will see your termly supervision reports.
If you feel you would rather discuss a personal problem with a Tutor other than your own personal Tutor (for example, if a woman student particularly wishes to discuss something with a woman Tutor), then you are free to do so.
When should you see your Tutor? All undergraduates must see their Tutors at the start of the academic year (times for first-years are arranged by the Tutorial Office). At the beginning of Lent and Easter terms you are strongly encouraged to see your Tutor, although you are not obliged to do so. In addition, all Tutors have regular 'Tutorial Hours' during Full Term. In an emergency you may of course approach your Tutor at any time. Don't feel you must have problems before you go to your Tutor. On the contrary: the more regular your 'normal' contact with your Tutor, the more helpful he or she is likely to be if problems arise. Your Tutor may also e-mail you in the middle of each Term to see whether there is anything you would like to discuss. You are encouraged to reply, even if only to say that you are fine!
Besides overseeing the Chapel life of the College, the Dean - the Rev Dr Jamie Hawkey - is also an approachable source of sympathetic advice for all members of the College, whatever their faith or convictions. You can talk to him independently and confidentially, although he will liaise closely with the Tutors where appropriate.
The College Nurse, Mrs Helen James, has considerable experience in helping with personal as well as medical aspects of student welfare. Along with the Tutors and the Dean, she is available to discuss personal, emotional or sexual problems. She can also provide information about the many other sources of welfare support outside the College. Like the Dean, she participates in the weekly Tutors' meeting on welfare issues.