Working at Oxford Anthropology

Welcome and support for staff

We recognise that Oxford can be a complicated and confusing environment particularly for new arrivals. We want to make newcomers feel comfortable as quickly as possible.

  • New employees will receive a copy of our Staff Handbook as part of your induction. Together with the information on this site and meetings with your line manager we aim to make your induction as effective as possible.
  • Where appropriate we offer new staff a mentor. Your mentor can help with your research planning. New Postdoctoral Researchers must identify a School mentor as part of their application process (see Postdoctoral Research for full details).

Our culture: respect, support and inclusion

The School expects all members of our community, as well as visitors and contractors to treat each other with respect, courtesy and consideration. We are committed to fostering an inclusive culture which promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all members of the School are respected. Every two years we conduct a staff survey to monitor progress. No-one should have to tolerate being harassed or observe others being harassed.

If you feel the we are not meeting expectation, please act!

  • Discourage any form of harassment you experience or witness by making it clear that such behaviour is unacceptable.
  • Contact the Harassment Advisory Service, or your local harassment advisor, for support. Details of the School Harassment Advisers can be found on SharePoint or on the posters placed around the School.
  • Ask your line manager or a neutral colleague to raise the matter on your behalf.
  • Make a formal complaint under the appropriate procedure.

The School Harassment Advisers are Mark Gunther, Susana Carvalho and Michelle Chew. Please feel free to contact either should you wish to discuss anything related to this policy.

Athena SWAN bronze logo

Bronze level Athena Swan Award  
Valid July 2023 – July 2028 

The renewal of our Bronze Award signals our ongoing commitment to tackling gender inequalities and barriers in the life of the School. Our new action plan will ensure we are able to better support all those who wish to further their careers whilst maintaining a balance with their home and family lives. 

School Priorities for 2023-2028

  • Empower the new EDI committee to serve as the hub of gender equality action across the School.
  • Improve career progression, particularly for colleagues on fixed term contracts.
  • Continue to address gender bias in admissions, attainment and recruitment.
  • Work to strengthen School culture to foster inclusivity and a sense of belonging.
  • Sustain work against bullying and harassment.

For more information or to provide feedback please contact:


SAME has established an Anti-Racism and Equality Working Group as a forum to address inequalities within the School through discussion. Themes include how to define and promote a modern interpretation of Anthropology and how do we deal with the historic imagery around the department and how we want the School to present visually.

The School is also involved with University initiatives on anti-racism;  particularly relevant is the issue of race equality in the context of fieldwork and we seek to develop training for staff and students on these issues.

Work - Life balance

  • We will do our best to accommodate requests for flexible or part-time working and adjustments for particular family needs – either short term or long term.
  • There is funding available to support staff to return after caring leave.
  • There is a commitment to, wherever possible, hold School events in core hours.
  • The School does not expect staff to answer work emails and phone calls in the evenings or at weekends.
  • The School encourages all staff to make use of their annual leave entitlement.


The School is mindful of the fact that staff and students may have wider caring responsibilities and that such responsibilities may affect work and study. Staff and students are encouraged to discuss their specific needs with their supervisors, line managers and/or Head of School. Where possible, the School is committed to trying to make arrangements that help staff work effectively and students to make good progress with their studies. For example, if needed, the School will do its best to make available a private space for nursing babies. A small box of books and toys is available in the common room at 43 to entertain young children for a short period of time, for example while a parent uses the printer.  

For further details on University provision please see the pages relating to staff family leave and childcare. Student parents please see information on University support.


The School has made a commitment to improve communication, both electronic and face-to-face. The Head of School attends termly unit meetings and the School Forum to hear about issues of concern to staff and to answer queries.

  • Formal communication is through the School’s committee structure. Wherever possible agendas/papers will be made available a week before each meeting. Redacted (where necessary) minutes  will be made available to all staff. Students are included in most committees. See SharePoint.
  • There is a weekly email Newsletter providing information on funding opportunities, events, policy updates etc.
  • Information is also available on this website.

Effective career development support

  • Women are encouraged to apply for positions in the knowledge that the recruitment panel will include a significant proportion of women. The chair of the panel will be trained in inclusive recruitment and all panel members will have been offered unconscious bias training.

  • We commit to offering every member of staff an annual a Career Development Review (CDR) including the opportunity for workload review, career planning, research planning, identification of training needs and development opportunities. There will be support to deliver the agreed plan.

  • All staff have access to training.

  • The School is implementing a process for monitoring workloads which, together with effective CDR discussions, is intended to allow staff time to develop their careers.

  • The School adheres to the Code of practice for researchers.

  • Mentors and managers are offered guidance and training.

The main outcomes of the CDR process are that each staff member receives timely, meaningful help with their professional development and has the opportunity to address areas of concern. It is an opportunity to review workload, discuss plans for career development, research and training needs. The CDR is an opportunity to agree a personal development plan including, if appropriate, progression through administration and committee roles and School management positions. The plan should balance opportunities for experience with career aspirations, research, workload and college responsibilities.

Environmental sustainability

  • Our Green Impact Team champion improving sustainable practices in the School.

School governance

There are numerous opportunities to become involved with the administration of the School and the size of the tasks vary. We are gathering descriptions of each role on SharePoint would encourage staff to consider how one of these roles may contribute to their career developoment. Vacancies are circulated via email. As part of the School’s commitment to Athena Swan we particularly encourage female colleagues to apply.

Examples of academic administrative posts in the School:

  • Head of School
  • Director of Unit
  • Director of Graduate Studies
  • Chair of Graduate Admissions
  • Chair of Human Sciences Admissions
  • Chair of Arch & Anth Admissions
  • Chair of Examiners
  • Doctoral Admissions and Research Convenor
  • REF Coordinator
  • Coordinator of Methods Modules
  • Chair of School Committee (Research, Working Life, School Forum, IT, Library)
  • Harassment Advisor
  • Members of CUREC Committee
  • Student Awards Committee member
  • Course Directors and Examiners

Grant application quality

The School has a process designed to ensure that research proposals it submits are of a consistently high standard. Early implementation of quality assurance review provides an opportunity to identify weaknesses in the case for support and to thereby improve the probability that it will receive funding approval. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with relevant research facilitators in their unit, the School or the Division at an early stage in the preparation of their proposals. Some funders impose restrictions on applications based on your type of contract of employment. Check that you are eligible to apply.

Full details of the Research Application Review Process are available on SharePoint.