As an association for the Oxford Colleges, the Conference is made up of different committees that convene meetings attended by representatives from each College.
The Conference has two main functions. It enables the Colleges, as self-governing and financially independent institutions, to act collectively on issues that matter to them. This may range from sharing information and good practice to acting together to procure expert advice or services.
The Conference also acts as a voice for college interests within the University community. It enables Colleges to debate and act upon the key issues of the day. Shared views and policies are developed, and decisions are made. This enables a collective college perspective to be communicated widely and to influence University decision-making.
Mr Miles Young
Warden, New College
Oxford’s great strength is that it is a collegiate university. Our 39 colleges and 6 private permanent halls are vibrant academic centres situated in a world-leading university but which provide something very unique: an intimate and caring sense of community.
Each college and hall has its own individual character and personality: some colleges trace their history as far back as the 11th Century, while others draw from much more modern foundations. They all have in common a belief in the importance of welcoming students to Oxford who have genuine academic ability, irrespective of background or country of origin, and then to help them realise their fullest possible potential. In particular, we are committed to broadening the base of our recruitment so that it reaches out to groups which hitherto have been under-represented.
For our colleges and halls, being part of the lively and vital City of Oxford is a major asset. Our staff, as well as our students, benefit from the many aspects of city life.
The Conference of Colleges is an association, without any legal status in itself, which allows our different college communities to share our experience and expertise. As independently governed institutions, the Colleges and Halls all face similar challenges as we engage with students, with each other and the University, with our city, and with our wider community. Through regular meetings of college officers, we have the facility to debate key issues that affect us collectively. We are able to formulate useful policies for the benefit of all; work in partnership with the wider University; and develop and share our views effectively.
I hope very much that colleagues, students, prospective students and members of the public will find us a useful resource – a gateway both into the colleges and the wider university of Oxford. Please explore the Conference’s resources on these web pages.
At a personal level, both I, and my colleagues, are available should you have any issue, concern or suggestion you would like to make to us.
Warden of New College, Chair of Conference of Colleges
The work of the Conference takes place through the instrument of its different committees, which comprise members from each college. Learn about the committees and their different functions.
Learn about some of the key issues considered by Conference and its committees during the academic year 2018-19.
Conference and its main committees include representatives from each college. Committees normally have smaller ‘standing committees’ and are empowered to set up their own or joint ad hoc or standing working groups.
Conference is the senior decision-making body of the Conference of Colleges, attended by all Heads of House. It has a binding vote mechanism. It is empowered to take some decisions on behalf of colleges collectively; to gather the views of colleges and represents them in dealing with the University; to formulate a majority view among colleges; and to facilitate informed and transparent debate over collegiate issues.
Steering Committee deals with key strategic issues and takes a proactive approach, reacting swiftly to university and external initiatives and raising issues with the University on behalf of Colleges. It has eleven members, which include the Chairs of the main committees of Conference, together with representative Heads of House and college fellows.
Through the Admissions Executive, the Admissions Committee co-ordinates the efforts and initiatives of all sectors of the University concerned with admissions and access.
The Domestic Bursars' Committee considers and advises colleges on matters relating to internal management of non-academic business and affairs of the Colleges, including commercial business. Among its functions, the committee oversees the management of Conference Oxford and considers shared initiatives for the procurement of domestic goods and services.
The Estates Bursars' Committee focuses on financial and management issues affecting colleges, including college fees, tax and pensions issues, and more broadly the financial aspects of any academic or internal matters affecting colleges.
The Graduate Committee represents and discusses the interests of colleges and their students in relation to graduate studies.
The Senior Tutors’ Committee has a remit across the diversity of academic matters in colleges relating to undergraduate teaching. This includes work on encouraging good practice and evenness in academic provision, and monitoring and contributing to the development of academic policy at University and Divisional level.
The Legal Panel identifies legal issues affecting the colleges and liaises with the University on legal matters of mutual University and college concern.
The Board advises Conference on the operation of the Collegiate Funding Formula (CFF), which allocates resource between the colleges.
The Development Panel advises Conference on development matters, considers reports from College Development Directors, and liaises with the University as the first point of contact for strategic and policy issues affecting the Colleges.
The ICTSC advises Conference on developments, opportunities, and risks in order to help colleges deliver cost effective and efficient ICT services and systems. The Committee also receives reports from the Colleges’ IT Managers Committee (CITMC).
A full alphabetical list of each of the committees, working groups, and fora of Conference is available in the Members' Area of this site and by clicking the button below.