The Senior Common Room represents the interests of all College fellows, officers, academic staff and tutors in College. It exists to further the academic aims of the College by encouraging research activities throughout the year and by encouraging cross-disciplinary engagement across all three common rooms. It is also home to a larger and wonderfully diverse group of colleagues from all walks of life who share in the life and aims of the College.
In addition to its regular meetings and scheduled events, the SCR gathers together twice a week to dine –– a time not just to share food, but chiefly to share ideas and to welcome guests to the College.
The SCR has its own physical common room (pictured); and, like the other common rooms, its members help to govern and manage the College by sitting on various College committees. SCR members sponsor lectures, have access to guest and function rooms, and are encouraged to contribute to College life beyond the life of the SCR itself.
Each year the SCR also allocates a modest amount of money from its funds to support undergraduate and postgraduate members of St Chad’s College through Personal Development Awards and Conference Presentation and Attendance Grants. These awards are worth up to £250. St Chad’s students should contact the SCR Treasurer, Mark Roberts, for more information and application forms. Applications are accepted throughout the year and assessed on a case by case basis.
You can read more about St Chad’s SCR in the SCR Booklet, or by watching the video below:
Council of Fellows
In addition to the SCR, the Council of Fellows (which is to say all Fellows, Professorial Fellows, Senior Research Fellows, Research Fellows, Junior Research Fellows) meets to advise the Governing Body on academic and academic-related matters, chiefly to do with strategy, policies and quality-control. It recommends Fellows for appointment by the Governing Body. The Principal chairs the Council. The life of the Council and the SCR obviously overlap to a great degree.
A feature of the Chad’s SCR is the regular ‘colloquy’ or conversation. Several times a term before Formal Hall, two or three members of the SCR (and/or guests) have a two-way or three-way conversation in public, usually in their area of academic expertise. This allows members to be kept abreast of each other’s work without requiring one another to give formal lectures. After the colloquy, everyone joins in the fray — and it can become a real fray when controversial issues are addressed and when passions are really engaged. At those moments, no one is in any doubt that ideas matter.
The SCR also sponsors more formal lectures, poetry readings, round-tables, literary and musical events throughout the year, bridging the worlds of the academy, business, government, religion and culture. The various artists, poets and writers in residence, as well as Visiting Fellows are all encouraged to share in the life of the SCR and indeed to introduce members to their work.
In addition to regular business meetings each term, the SCR sponsor a small number of purely social events throughout the year. These range from guest nights and wine-tastings to dances and film-nights.
The College dines formally twice a week (meeting at 7.00pm for pre-dinner drinks (‘preprands’) in the SCR and for dinner at 7.30). Due to high demand for places, SCR members may dine at high table a maximum of three times per term (or more frequently when invited by the Principal or Vice-Principal). Bookings for normal sittings of high table should be made by lunchtime of the day in question online.
The Rector or Principal presides (when present) at High Table; otherwise a Vice-Principal or the SCR President will preside in their stead. (If none of these is present, then another College Officer or Fellow will preside, either by common agreement or by order of seniority.) Presiding is not onerous, though the one presiding needs to interact with whoever is presiding over JCR and MCR tables and with the kitchen staff to ensure the smooth running of the evening. Presiding should not interfere with the laid-back ‘informal-formality’ of the evening.
Undress gowns are worn by Senior Common Room members unless meals are immediately preceded by a College congregation (when dress gowns will often be worn). Gowns are generally not worn by guests (although graduate members of other colleges or the University are not discouraged from wearing them).
At least once a term, the College dispenses with High Table for formal hall. This encourages a mixing of the common rooms, giving everyone a chance to get to know one another. There are no pre-dinner drinks in the SCR, and the regular post-dinner cheese and port is held in the Quad instead of the SCR. Attending these combination events is especially important for those members of the SCR not otherwise connected with the University.
- The SCR is first and foremost an academic body and all members are expected to make an ongoing academic contribution to the academic and research-led life of the College.
- The Rector is the Titular Head of the Senior Common Room and of the College.
- The College Principal, College Officers, Fellows, Research Associates, tutors and academic-related graduate staff are all ex officio members of the SCR.
- Academic and academic-related staff of the university without a college affiliation are invited to apply for College membership by communicating with the SCR Secretary or directly with the Principal.
- The Chair of the Governing Body and other Governing Body members and Honorary Fellows are automatically honorary members of the SCR; other honorary members are appointed from time to time.
- Nominations for membership should be communicated to the SCR secretary prior to the termly meeting of the common room in order to be considered by the membership committee. Nominees will normally be connected to the College in some substantial way and will be expected to make an academic contribution to College life.
- Academic members of the University may be appointed directly by the Principal at any time.
College Principal: Dr Margaret Masson
SCR President: Colin Ferguson
Treasurer: Mark R I Roberts
Secretary: Jenny Parker