The Alan Tayler Lecture 2014

St Catz together with The Smiths Institute, are delighted to welcome Professor Alan Newell from the University of Arizona, to give this year's Alan Tayler Lecture. Entitled, 'Phyllotaxis, Pushed Pattern Fronts, and Optimal Packing' we are sure that this will prove to be a stimulating and informative lecture.

Equal Opportunities - Equality Legislation

General principles of equality law
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination in employment or in the provision of training and education on the grounds of any of the following protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

Staff and students are protected in all aspects of the employment, education and/or training relationship, which includes: recruitment and selection, employment terms and conditions, promotion, transfers, access to benefits, appraisal/annual review, assessment of performance, dismissal and post-termination (such as providing references).

Discrimination can occur in several different ways, as follows:

Direct discrimination
This is where one individual is treated less favourably than another, and the less favourable treatment is because of a protected characteristic they have, or are thought to have (see perception discrimination), or because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic.

Indirect discrimination
This is where a provision, criterion or practice applies equally to everyone but has, or would have, a disproportionate impact on those people who share a protected characteristic (e.g. it is more difficult for someone to comply with a requirement because of their religion or belief).

Discrimination by association
This is direct discrimination against an individual because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic.

Perception discrimination
This is direct discrimination against an individual where the person is treated less favourably than another, and the less favourable treatment is because others think they possess a protected characteristic. It applies even if the person does not actually possess that characteristic.

This is defined as unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic which has the purpose or effect of either: (a) violating another person's dignity; or (b) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that other person.

This occurs where an individual is subjected to less favourable treatment by reason of the fact that s/he has done a ’protected act‘ under the discrimination legislation – e.g. someone has made a complaint about discrimination on grounds of their age or sex, or helped somebody else to do so, and they are now being treated less favourably by their manager.

Positive Action
The College may take positive action in respect of access to facilities and training for specific groups who are under-represented. It would be reasonable to take action to increase applications for posts or study from a particular group of people, or provide work experience, outreach days or training programmes only for those people. These actions increase the numbers of eligible people by developing relevant skills and increasing applications from under-represented groups.

However, positive action is not the same as positive discrimination (which is prohibited), and the selection for admission to study or appointment to posts must therefore be made solely on the basis of merit.

Genuine Occupational Requirements
There are limited exemptions from liability in all the discrimination legislation. Thus where the sex, race, age, sexual orientation or religion or belief of an employee is required for the specific job he or she is required to do, that characteristic may amount to a genuine occupational requirement (GOR).

There must be a clear connection between the duties of the post in question and the characteristics required. An example might be the need to recruit a person from a particular racial group to act in a role written for a character from that racial group.

However, GORs are usually difficult to establish and anyone wishing to establish a GOR should discuss this with the Personnel Advisor before advertising the post.

Public Sector Equality Duty
As part of the Equality Act St Catherine's College has a public sector equality duty which came into force in April 2011. The equality duty covers all the protected characteristics identified in the Equality Act with the exception of marriage and civil partnership. Under the duty the College must have due regard to the need to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act;
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not; and
  • foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

Having ‘due regard’ means consciously considering the three aims listed above as part of our decision-making processes and when we are reviewing or developing policies.

Due regard for ‘advancing equality’ involves removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics; taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people; and encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.

‘Fostering good relations’ involves tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between people from different groups.

The legislation allows for the more favourable of treatment of some people, but only where the more favourable treatment can be objectively justified as a proportionate means of fulfilling the public sector equality duty.

College Response
St Catherine's College is committed to fulfilling the public sector equality duty. As part of this commitment we will:

  • annually review the information we publish in relation to our compliance with the equality duty;
  • set equality objectives every four years which are then annually reviewed in the equality report

The College’s Equality Report can be accessed through this link.

Equal Opportunities Policy

The College's Aims

As part of the wider University, St Catherine's College works to remove any barriers which might deter people of the highest ability from applying to Oxford, either as staff or students. The College aims to provide an inclusive environment which values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its staff and students are respected to assist them in reaching their full potential.

The College's Commitment

No prospective or actual student or member of staff will be treated less favourably than any other, whether before, during or after their study or employment at St Catherine's College on one or more of the following grounds, except when such treatment is within the law and determined by lawful requirements:

  1. age;
  2. colour;
  3. disability;
  4. ethnic origin;
  5. marital status;
  6. nationality;
  7. national origin;
  8. parental status;
  9. race;
  10. religion or belief;
  11. gender;
  12. sexual orientation;
  13. or length or type of contract (e.g. part-time or fixed-term).

With regard to staff, the policy and practice of the College require that all staff are afforded equal opportunities within employment, and that entry into (and progression within) employment will be determined only by personal merit and the application of criteria which are related to the duties of the post. In all cases, ability to perform the job is the primary consideration. This policy applies to (but is not limited to) advertising of jobs, recruitment and selection, to training and development, to opportunities for promotion, to conditions of service, benefits, facilities and pay, to health and safety, to conduct at work, to grievance and disciplinary procedures, and to termination of employment.

With regard to students, the College aims to provide education of excellent quality at undergraduate and postgraduate level for able students, whatever their background. In pursuit of this aim, the College is committed to using its best endeavours to ensure that all of its activities and governed by principles of equality of opportunity, and that all students are helped to achieve their full academic potential. This policy applies to (but is not limited to) admissions, to teaching, learning and research provision, to scholarships, grants and other awards under the College's control, to student support, to College accommodation and other facilities, to health and safety, to personal conduct and to student complaints and disciplinary procedures.

In order to realise its commitment, the College will:

  • promote the aims of this policy;
  • be proactive in eliminating discrimination, including harassment and bullying, through training and the production and dissemination of codes of practice and guidance;
  • have regard to its obligations under relevant legislation, including the requirement to meet the public sector equality duty, and for its policies, codes of practice and guidance to be changed to meet the demands of new legislation;
  • whilst acknowledging that they are not legally binding, have regard to any Codes of Practice issued or adopted by the Commission for Equality and Human Rights;
  • make this policy, as well as all codes of practice and guidance available to all staff and students; and
  • regularly review the terms of this policy and all associated codes of practice and guidance.


Equality Committee

The Equality Committee will oversee the development of Equal Opportunities policy frameworks and their application in the College, working as appropriate with those colleagues and bodies, including those committees with responsibility for student matters, that have specific mandates.

All staff and students

This policy applies to all members of St Catherine's College, both students and staff, whether permanent, temporary, casual, part-time or on fixed-term contracts, to job applicants, to student applicants, current and former students, to associate members and to visitors to St Catherine's. These members of the College have a duty to act in accordance with this policy, and therefore to treat colleagues with dignity at all times and not to discriminate against or harass other students or members of staff, whether junior or senior to them.

St Catherine's expects all its staff and students to take personal responsibility for familiarising themselves with this policy and to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner at all times to respect equality of opportunity for all staff, students, applicants and visitors.

The College regards any breach of this policy by any employee(s) or student(s) as a serious matter to be dealt with through its agreed procedures and which may result in disciplinary action.


St Catherine's College takes seriously any breach of this policy. Disregard of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. The College encourages any prospective or current student or member of staff who has a complaint concerning a breach of this policy to bring such a complaint to the attention of the Academic Registrar (in the case of prospective or current students) or the Home Bursar (in the case of staff).

Monitoring and Review

The College's Equal Opportunities policy is a "living" document which will change in the light of experience and/ or new legislation. The College therefore undertakes, through its Equality Committee, to continuously monitor and (if appropriate) review the content or operation of this policy.

The College also welcomes suggestions and/ or comments relating to its Equal Opportunities policy, and these should be sent to the Home Bursar (

Equal Opportunities

St Catherine's College is committed to implementing a comprehensive policy of equal opportunities for staff and students, in order to provide a learning, working and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its members are respected. Our intention is that individuals should be selected and treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities, and should be given equal opportunities within the College.

The College's policy on equality of opportunity can be accessed in full below, and more information relating to specific strands of the College's equal opportunities policy can be accessed using the links below.

Policy on equal opportunities

Overview of equality legislation

Childcare provisions


Code of practice on staff recruitment and selection

Code of practice on equality of opportunity for students

Equality Report

Gender Pay Gap Data 2017

Support, advice and further information


The services we offer

The College's primary purpose is as a place of education and research.  We offer support to researchers in their fields and admission to the most able students, graduate and undergraduate, whatever their background or financial circumstances.

Information on our admission policies, including widening access, can be found on our Prospective Student web pages. You will also find there details of undergraduate courses of study.

For information regarding services for current students, including accommodation and welfare please see both our Prospective and Current Students pages.
For information on IT and intranet provision see the Computing page on the website.

In conjunction with the University, St Catherine’s College provides scholarships, awards and hardship funding to assist students who might not otherwise be able to afford an Oxford education.  The Scholarships and Finance pages on our website provide further information.

Information on the College Library can be found on the Library webpage.

Services for alumni, parents and friends are organised by the Development Office.  The College publishes a bi-annual newsletter entitled CatzEye and an annual report entitled The Year. For more information please see the Alumni and Development pages of our website.

The College's facilities are available for public hire through our subsidiary company St Catherine’s College Management Limited.  Details are available on the Conference webpages.

Sport provision

The College has a Gym and Squash courts. It shares a sports field with Trinity College and Lady Margaret Hall. Members of the College who wish to do so, also have access to University facilities.


Why Catz?

  • St Catherine’s has one of the larger college Music departments, with an intake of around 4 new students per year. College teaching is given by the Music tutor, Professor Laura Tunbridge, who is usually supported by two college lecturers. Class teaching linked to some subjects is offered by the Music Faculty; in other areas, tutors come in as required to help with other more specialized topics.

Our policies and procedures

The College's policies and procedures are set out in a number of documents and web pages:

College governance and codes of practice

Equality Policies

See also University of Oxford policy statements


Information and Regulations for Students

Residential agreement

Code of practice relating to the operation of the Junior and Middle Common Room

Student event booking form and guidelines

See undergraduate and graduate admissions policies and procedures at the Prospective Students area of the website.


Staff Handbook

Bribery Act Policy

Whistleblowing Policy

Conflict of Interest Policy

Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults


Public liability insurance

Code of practice on Freedom of Speech

Documents and policies pertaining to information and information technology

Rules governing computer use: see Oxford University Computer Usage Rules and Etiquette

Information Security Policy

GDPR Policy

Fire Safety

Prevent Duty

Emergency Fire Action Plan

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan

Visitor's PEEP Questionnaire

Fire Safety Video (N.B. this is c.900MB flle in MP4 format and may take several minutes to download).


What our priorities are and how we are doing

The mission of St Catherine’s College is to advance learning, education and research in the arts and the sciences.

The College's Annual Accounts show how the College is performing financially.

In addition to the University’s Strategic Plan the University of Oxford also publishes an Annual Review

How we make decisions

The Governing Body of St Catherine’s College is made up of the Master and Fellows. It is the Governing Body which has responsibility for the direction and management of the affairs of the College.

The College functions under Statutes, By-Laws and Regulations made under the authority granted by the Charter to the College. The Governing Body is responsible for “the government of the College as a place of learning, education and research” (Statute I.3). It under the provisions of By-Law VII.

The Master is the Head of the College, exercising “a general supervision over the affairs and management of the College and over the discipline and well-being of its student members” (Statute IV.1)

The other Officers of the College, who are Fellows, are: the Vice Master,  the Dean (discipline and well-being of students), the Senior Tutor and Academic Registrar (academic standards and administration), the Finance and Home Bursars (finances & investments and domestic arrangements & management of non-academic staff), the Tutor for Admissions, the Librarian, the Tutor for Graduates, the Dean of Degrees (presentation of candidates for matriculation and degrees, the Secretary of Governing Body and the Secretary for Alumni (Statute VII).

The Standing Committees that report to Governing Body under the provisions of By-Law VIII are:

The Finance Committee, the membership and terms of reference of which are described in Statute VIII, Statute IX and By-Law VIII. The other Standing Committees have membership and term of reference arrangements described in  By-Law VIII are; the Nominating Committee, the Academic Policy Committee, the Fellowships Committee, the Visiting Fellowships Committee, the Domestic Committee (functions discharged by the Student Liaison Committee), the Dispensations Committee, the Strategy Committee, the Computing Committee (see By-Law XI.22), the Alumni Committee, the Safety Committee, the Kobe Institute Committee, the Student Liaison Committee and the Development Committee.

The other committees which have membership and terms of reference arrangements described in By-Law VIII are:

The Development Council, the Garden Committee, the Library Committee, the Wine Committee, the Statutes Committee and the Archive Committee.

The membership and terms of reference of the Accommodation and Senior Common Room Committees are described in By-Law X.

Governing Body has approved the establishment of a committee to consider matters relating to equality and diversity, the Equality Committee. Details of the work of this Committee can be found on the equality and diversity pages of the College website.

Decisions are made in the context of intercollegiate policy decisions agreed amongst the Conference of Colleges and of the overall structure of the University of Oxford

The College's Annual Accounts record financial and strategic decisions.

What we spend and how we spend it

The College’s audited annual accounts  provide information on the College’s sources of funding and income, such as tuition fees, endowment, rents and investment income. The accounts also include the College’s annual report on finances and the report of external auditors.

Details of the pay and conditions of service of teaching staff can be found at:

Details of conditions of service of support staff can be found at the Employment Handbook for Support Staff

Details of fees and charges can be found on the Finance section of the website

The cost study for postgraduate students is described at:


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