Announcement from the Vice-Chancellor regarding the Head of the Social Sciences Division

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to make you aware of the fact that Professor Dame Sarah Whatmore will step down as Head of the Social Sciences Division at the end of July. We have begun the search for a worthy successor and anticipate holding interviews in Trinity term. It is unlikely, however, that we will have someone in place by the beginning of August, so I am happy to report that Professor Margaret Stevens has agreed to step in on an interim basis. Professor Stevens’ previous leadership roles, both in the division and as Head of the Department of Economics, ensure that she will be well prepared to help guide the division during this time. I am deeply grateful to her for agreeing to do so.

During Sarah’s tenure three departments in the division – Anthropology, Archaeology and Geography – ranked no. 1 in the QS World University Rankings. She worked tirelessly to secure new premises for three departments through the University’s planning process: the Oxford Internet Institute moved into the Ethics in AI wing of the Schwarzman building; the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography moved into the refurbished Le Gros Clark building; and the Oxford Department of International Development found a new home on the Winchester Road site. In addition, she oversaw a significant increase in the value and number of postgraduate scholarships arising from focused philanthropic fundraising by the divisional team. Finally, she enabled a significant increase in social science research grant income supported by the divisional research team, including the competitive award of several new ‘major programmes’ in the School of Geography and the Environment; the School of Archaeology; the Department of Sociology; and the Oxford Department of International Development.

Throughout her time as Head of Division, and earlier as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Sarah was a committed and collaborative member of the senior team. We will miss our regular interactions with her.

Louise Richardson Vice-Chancellor