The technical knowledge I gained in my first undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at Clemson, combined with more human-centered history and English literature classes there, has enabled me to take on a wide variety of challenges in managing human and technical systems. Currently this is as senior proctor of the University of Oxford, a post that dates back to the 1100s.
Two colleges elect proctors each year, and a third elects an assessor. We uphold the University’s statutes and regulations, attend key committees, oversee all examinations, attend official university ceremonies and investigate student complaints and discipline. (But we can no longer hang students for misconduct!) The proctors and assessor are visible because we wear subfusc (academic dress) every day, as well a velvet-sleeved gown, ermine stole and hard-shell mortarboard on official occasions such as degree days (graduations, held in Latin) or the Queen’s Garden Party.
After my year as senior proctor, I will return to my “normal” life, where I am an associate professor of operations management at Oxford’s Said Business School, and a fellow and tutor in management studies at Merton College, which is celebrating the 750th anniversary of its founding this year.