Wolfson College operates a democratic model of governance that owes much to the inspiration and leadership of our first President, Sir Isaiah Berlin. The current President of Wolfson College is Sir Tim Hitchens.

The direction and management of College affairs is the responsibility of our Governing Body, of which the President is the Chair. The Governing Body, made up of Fellows, makes executive decisions in line with our Statutes and Regulations on the basis of input from Wolfson’s General Meeting and Committees dealing with specific areas of College life.

Wolfson’s day-to-day operations are managed by the Officers of the College and their staff.

A photo of the Levett Room, set up in boardroom style with a long committee table in the centre

Find out More

The President is Wolfson College’s elected Head of House with overall responsibility for all College affairs. The current President is Sir Tim Hitchens.

The Office of the President supports the work of the President by managing and coordinating key aspects of his or her role. The office also serves as the first point of contact for those seeking to speak with the President.

Past Presidents of the College

  • Sir Isaiah Berlin OM CBE MA FBA (1966-75)
  • The Hon. Sir Henry Fisher MA (1975-85)
  • Sir Raymond Hoffenberg KBE MA MD PhD FRCP (1985-93)
  • Sir David Smith MA DPhil FRS FRSE (1994-2000)
  • Professor Sir Gareth Roberts FRS FREng (2000-2007)
  • Professor Dame Hermione Lee FBA FRSL CBE GBE (2008-2019)

Members of Governing Body act as fiduciaries to ensure that the College’s academic and administrative leadership are guided by sound policies and provided with adequate resources to further Wolfson’s mission. The members are attentive to balancing the needs of today’s Fellows, students, alumni, and staff with those of future generations. The Governing Body meets at least twice during each term in Weeks 3 and 8.

See the Governing Body meeting schedule, agendas and minutes here.

The Governing Body consists of the President of the College, who acts as Chair, the Ordinary Fellows, the Professorial Fellows, the Senior Research Fellows and the Extraordinary Fellows, together with six elected members drawn from our Supernumerary Fellows, Research Fellows, Junior Research Fellows and Graduate Students. Elections for these positions take place in Hilary term.

Governing Body Fellows are the legal trustees of the College; elected members do not share this status but do have a voice equal to that of GB Fellows in Governing Body meetings. The Bursar, Senior Tutor and Development Director are ex officio Governing Body Fellows.

At the University of Oxford, the term ‘Fellow’ can refer to senior academic and administrative members of a College. Wolfson has around 300 Fellows, both senior and junior, with most falling into the following categories:

  • Governing Body Fellows (‘GBFs’), also Charity Trustees, meet twice or more each term to take the key executive decisions about how the College is run;
  • Emeritus Fellows (‘EFs’) are former Governing Body Fellows of the College who served for at least ten years.
  • Supernumerary Fellows (‘SFs’) have several categories and are described by the College’s Statutes as “any person whose association with the College would, in the opinion of the Governing Body, be useful in promoting the objects of the College”;
  • Research Fellows (‘RFs’) are researchers based at the College who are becoming established scholars in their respective fields;
  • Junior Research Fellows (‘JRFs’) are postdoctoral researchers (early career academics) based at the College;
  • Honorary Fellows (‘HFs’) hold an association with the College owing to distinction in their fields, whether academic and non-academic;

All key business is managed by the College’s committees, which report to the Governing Body via the General Purposes Committee, and in some cases the General Meeting.

See more on the College Committees and their schedules

General Meeting occurs twice each term, usually in the Upper Common Room at 17.30 on Wednesdays in weeks 2 and 7 of each term. The General Meeting offers an opportunity for all College and Common Room members to discuss matters relating to the College and Common Room.

Minutes and agendas for General Meeting are available on SharePoint

Members of College may vote on matters pertaining to the College, and members of Common Room may vote on matters pertaining to the Common Room. Members of both bodies may vote on matters pertaining to either.

Students talking in the Upper Common Room

The General Meeting is the principal venue for students to voice their opinions on College matters. If you have something that you would like to be discussed in a forthcoming meeting, please contact the Chair of the General Meeting or the Common Room Administrator. The General Meeting may also delegate business to the Social and Cultural Committee.

Chair of the General Meeting

Members of College and Members of Common Room are entitled to vote for their Common Room Officers, including the Chair of the General Meeting. The Chair of General Meeting is elected annually, at the second General Meeting of Hilary Term, from among the members of the Governing Body. This is an important role which provides continuity in the management of Common Room affairs. The Chair of the General meeting sends out a weekly newsletter to all College members to announce events and services.

Wolfson College is constituted and regulated in accordance with the College’s Statutes and Regulations agreed by the Governing Body.

Download the Wolfson College Statutes

Download the Wolfson College Regulations

Please not that these copies of the Regulations were accurate at the time they were published on the website. However, the Regulations are subject to occasional changes by the Governing Body and, in accordance with our Publication Scheme under the Freedom of Information Act, an up-to-date copy may be obtained from the College Secretary.

Wolfson College has policies and procedures in place to guide the day-to-day running of the College for members, staff and students.

Click here for a comprehensive list of our policies and procedures.