From your first visit as an applicant to the day when you graduate, the Academic Office will play a key role in your time at Somerville. Led by the Senior Tutor, our friendly and supportive team will oversee every aspect of your academic life.
The Academic Office team is here to help with the small stuff, such as making sure you’ve got all the materials you need in order to work. But they’re also here for the really important stuff, like awarding scholarships, overseeing your wellbeing and arranging tutorials, teaching and exams. The Academic Office also includes our wonderful Access and Outreach team, the Scholarships and Funding Officer and the Welfare Officer. Academic Office staff are based across several physical offices in House building and can be contacted via email.
The Academic Office
Lucy YoungAcademic Registrar
Lucy is Somerville’s Academic Registrar.
She runs the day to day operations of the Academic Office, including the coordination of undergraduate admissions.
You can find her in the Academic Office in House between 8am and 4PM, Monday-Friday.
Steve RaynerSenior Tutor, Tutor for Graduates and Tutor for Admissions
Steve Rayner oversees the College’s academic activities, including admissions and outreach, and supports Fellows and Students in their teaching and learning.
He is responsible for overseeing the work of the College Access and Outreach Team, including Somerville’s regional work as part of the Oxford South-East consortium of colleges (see Oxford for South East | University of Oxford) and is a trustee of Universify Education. As a native of Stoke-on-Trent and a season ticket holder at Stoke City Football club for over twenty years, until that particular mix of joy and suffering was rudely interrupted by the pandemic, he is also particularly interested in access and outreach in Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire. As a result, Somerville is a member of the Uni Connect partnership Higher Horizons+ (see Higher Horizons+ – Part of the Uni Connect Programme).
As Senior Tutor, Steve is responsible for the work of the Academic Office, which supports graduate and undergraduate students, along with tutors and Fellows, in their academic activities. This includes supporting Somerville applicants and selectors through the undergraduate admissions process here at Oxford.
Steve’s background is in Physics, specifically Very High Energy Gamma Ray Astronomy research, but his work at Somerville encompasses all subjects studied by Somervillians.
Jo OckwellWelfare Support and Policy Officer
I’m Jo Ockwell and I’m Somerville’s Welfare Officer and Disability Co-ordinator.
I lead the College’s welfare team who are here to help with life’s ups and downs. We’re all trained to support you in a non-judgemental way and will do our best to help. I’ve worked at Somerville for over ten years so have helped students with all sorts of problems. While I’m not an expert on every possible welfare concern you might have, I will definitely know someone who is!
Adjusting to university life at Oxford is exciting and fun, but it can be difficult too. Here at Somerville we are a supportive and caring community: we believe that seeking help is always the start of sorting out an issue, and never a sign of weakness. The whole welfare team, which includes me as well as our Junior Deans, college counsellor, and nurse, are here to support you to find the resources or methods that you need to manage any welfare concerns you have and for you to be in control of your own wellbeing.
Part of my role is to support our disabled students. If you have a disability, seen or unseen, please let me know so that we can put in place support to help you through your academic studies. I also co-ordinate examination adjustments, so if you have a disability or health condition that means you need adjustments for examinations, please let me know. There is more information about how we support disabled students here.
Some students understandably worry about confidentiality. I want to assure you now that all members of the Welfare Team at Somerville work within the same guidelines on when they should share any information that a student has told them in confidence. You can find out the detailed guidance on our website, but here it is in a nutshell; we don’t disclose anything that you have told us in confidence unless we are seriously concerned that you might harm yourself or someone else. That basic principle underlines how we work.
I am always pleased to chat to anyone who knocks on my office door (House 4, on the ground floor of House Building) who needs a confidential chat or advice/guidance on all manner of welfare or disability concerns.
My training includes:
|Level 3 in Counselling Studies||CPCAB|
|Mental Health First Aid||Mental Health First Aid England|
|Sexual Violence Awareness Training||Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre|
|Student Welfare Overview||DAC Beachcroft|
|Dealing with student complaints of sexual assault||Penningtons Manches|
|Relational and Restorative Processes||SynRJ|
|Generalist Safeguarding||Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board|
|Drug and Alcohol Awareness and the Treatment Journey||Turning Point, Oxford|
|ADHD Awareness||The ADHD Foundation|
|Suicide Awareness||Zero Suicide Alliance|
A note for parents: We would sometimes like to be able to speak to parents about our students if we are concerned about them. However, we are unable to do so without the student’s explicit consent unless there is an emergency situation and the parent is listed as the student’s emergency contact on their Oxford University student record.
Saphire RichardsGraduate and Tutorial Officer
Saphire oversees the provision of service and support to the College’s academic staff and graduate students.
She manages teaching support (college exams, TMS system, Tutor payments etc), provides support to the Senior Tutor in the recruitment of academic staff, and works closely with the Undergraduate Officer and others in the Academic Office on student administration.
Saphire is also responsible for all areas of the graduate admissions process and support for current graduates.
Adina HensonAcademic Office Administrator
Alison DaviesAcademic Office Assistant
Eileen GartsideAcademic Office Assistant
Eren SlateAccess and Outreach Support Officer
Eren studied both his undergraduate degree and PhD in Chemistry at The University of Sheffield. He started in Oxford University Outreach in 2021 and joined Hannah Pack and Órla Lavery to make up one third of the Somerville Access Team in 2022.
Hannah PackAccess & Outreach Officer
Helen JohnsonExecutive Assistant to the Senior Tutor; Fellows' Secretary
Órla LaveryAccess and Inreach Support Officer
Órla is Somerville’s Access and Inreach Support Officer.
Órla read English Language and Literature at Somerville from 2019-22 before returning to Somerville in September as part of the access team. As Inreach Support Officer she is responsible for ensuring that our students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, feel supported throughout their time here at Somerville.
You can find Órla in the Access office upstairs in House, Mon-Fri, 9-5.
Shamsideen YusufJunior Dean
My name is Shamsideen, but everyone calls me Shams. I am currently a DPhil student researching how iron deficiency affects immunological memory. I have a mixed background, having lived all over the world: Uzbekistan (Asia), Ghana (Africa), Russia and Ashville, North Carolina (America).
I generally stay physically active (strength training) and enjoy long distance running – one of my goals is to run the original marathon in Athens (Greece). As well as learning about the human body and mind through psychological, neuroscientific and now immunological studies, I’m fascinated by the ‘weird, mysterious and unexplained’ in the world around us, including subjects outside of conventional science. As a result, in my free time I enjoy reading about lost civilizations, ancient history and the most mysterious organ in our body- the brain. I also like painting/drawing and take great interest in art from the 14th to 18th centuries.
I am a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community and a trained Samaritan. Come talk to me anytime! I am very excited to join the Somerville Community and contribute to this historic college.
I have undertaken the following training for my role as Junior Dean:
- First Aid Training offer by St John’s Ambulance
- Junior Deans Training offered by the University Counselling Service
- Health and Safety Training – Somerville Lodge Porters
- Fire Evacuation Training – Somerville Lodge Porters
- Data Protection and Security Awareness Training – Information Services
- Welfare Policy and Procedures – Welfare Support and Policy Officer
- College Rules and Procedures – Decanal Officer
Victoria WilsonScholarships and Funding Officer
Victoria manages the processes for awarding scholarships and funding to students.
This includes administering grants for travel, personal development, sport and music, as well as academic prizes and scholarships. She co-ordinates the selection process for graduate and undergraduate scholarships, including the Thatcher Scholarships and Oxford India Centre Scholarships. Victoria is also Secretary to the MTST Committee, the OICSD Management Committee and the Travel and Special Project Grants Committee.
Lucy Young – Academic Registrar (Mon-Fri)
Adina Henson – Academic Office Assistant (Mon-Tue)
Eileen Gartside – Academic Office Assistant (Mon-Tue)
Alison Davies – Academic Office Assistant (Weds-Fri)
Jo Ockwell – Welfare Support and Policy Officer (Mon, Weds-Thurs) (NB – not Tues during vac)
Saphire Richards– Graduate and Tutorial Officer
Senior Tutor’s Office
Steve Rayner – Senior Tutor
Helen Johnson – Executive Assistant to the Senior Tutor and Fellows
Hannah Pack – Access Officer
Victoria Wilson – Scholarships and Funding Officer