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© John Cairns


We are currently seeking expressions of interest for this newly configured, senior academic leadership role in MPLS Division, for three years, with oversight of the delivery and expansion of our taught degree programmes across the mathematical, physical and life sciences.

As one of seven Associate Heads of Division in our senior academic leadership team, you will have a prominent role in decision-making at the most senior levels within the University. You will support and represent the MPLS Head of Division on matters relating to taught degrees, and represent the Division on appropriate University committees and working groups. You will also be an ex-officio member of the MPLS Divisional Board and General Purposes Committee, and attend the weekly meeting of MPLS Associate Heads with the Head of Division, discussing a range of matters, such as business cases for academic posts, proposals for administrative restructures, and cross-cutting strategic or policy matters.

Supported by our Head of Education Planning & Policy, Assistant Registrar (Education) and the wider Taught Degrees team in MPLS, and working closely with our Associate Head (Research Degrees & Culture), you will support and advise the Head of Division on all matters relating to taught degrees, and represent the Division on key central University and Divisional committees relating to education (e.g., University Education Committee, Taught Degrees Panel, Joint Student Number Planning Sub-Committee). You will chair our Education Committee, Teaching Audit Committee, Undergraduate Access and Admissions Panel, Postgraduate Course Directors meetings, Teaching Awards Panel, and the Teaching and Learning Panel element of MPLS departmental reviews.

You will also advise the Divisional Board and GPC on matters relating to taught degree students and play a key role in developing and implementing overarching strategy for education across MPLS and influencing University, national and international educational policy and activities by working with stakeholders across the collegiate University, the Russell Group more broadly, and beyond. 

Please refer to the full role description (Word doc) before applying. If you have any difficulties accessing the Word document, please contact the MPLS Communications Team.

About MPLS Division

The Mathematical, Physical, and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division is one of the University’s four academic divisions, home to our world-renowned non-medical sciences, with nine academic departments spanning the full spectrum of the mathematical, computational, physical, engineering and life sciences. This community brings together 660 faculty (with approximately 70 Chairs and 350 full Professors), 1,200 postdoctoral researchers and lecturing staff, and around 1,000 professional services staff. We are proud to be the home of some of the most creative and innovative scientific thinkers and leaders working in academia, attracting the very best students, scientists and support staff to study and work at Oxford. We strive to promote and embed the values of equality, diversity and inclusion in all our work. 

leadership opportunity

Within MPLS Division, our Associate Heads of Division play a prominent and critical role in helping to shape the Division’s strategic vision within their individual portfolio, supporting the Head of Division, and supporting MPLS departments to deliver their core academic mission. Each Associate Head provides academic leadership for their relevant sphere of divisional activity and represents and advocates for the MPLS position in interactions with University leaders, in relevant governance structures, and with external stakeholders, as required by the Head of Division.

Our strategic priorities for shaping 21st-century science education at Oxford include: continually developing our teaching offering and promoting innovation via discussions at the MPLS Education Futures Forum; continuing to address student access and financial support for learning in STEM disciplines; continuing to ensure that our student body is diverse and inclusive (e.g., by participating in the Black Academic Futures and Oxford-Cambridge ‘Close the Gap’ programmes); supporting equal opportunities by continuing to expand our undergraduate ‘MPLS Bridging Programme’ for our offer-holders from disadvantaged backgrounds; and exploring the development of new PGT/CPD programmes to broaden our academic offer. MPLS currently has a portfolio of nine, one-year, theory-based PGT degree programmes, spanning Maths, Statistics, Computer Science, Engineering, and Chemistry, and work is underway to expand this offering and underpin each of our strategic interdisciplinary research themes with clear PGT educational pathways.

Additional priorities include ensuring strong bids to relevant CDT calls; and supporting research excellence through further development of our Graduate School and by ensuring equitable access to postgraduate technical skills training. 

How to apply

To apply, please submit a brief Expression of Interest (maximum 500 words) with your CV, by email in confidence, to Tracy Gale (Divisional Registrar) at no later than 12-noon on Wednesday 14 June 2023.

For an informal discussion about the role, please feel free to contact a member of our senior academic leadership team or Bob Mahoney, interim head of the MPLS Education Planning & Policy team at (our new Head of Education Planning & Policy, Sarah McHugh, joins us on 1 August 2023 and will be the senior Divisional Officer supporting this Associate Head role).

EOIs will be reviewed in Trinity Term Week 9 by both our Head of Division (Professor Sam Howison) and incoming Head of Division (Professor Jim Naismith) and shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview by Friday 23 June.

Interviews will take place during wc 26 June (Trinity Term Week 10), on Wednesday 28 June (afternoon) or Friday 30 June (morning). Appointments will be announced in July.

Further details

This appointment is for three years initially, commencing in time for the new academic year 2023/24, with the option to request a renewal at the end of the three-year term. 

Please note that the responsibilities of this role must be carried out around a candidate’s substantive role, within their existing contractual hours (FTE) and term of employment. Individual arrangements to facilitate this will be discussed between the successful candidate, their department, and the Divisional Office. 

An allowance of £8,615 per annum is offered in recognition of the additional responsibilities an Associate Head takes on during their term in office. 

Candidates must be able to dedicate the equivalent of one day a week throughout each 10-week extended term time period to fulfilling the responsibilities of this role.