Elections by Congregation: Council (Humanities and Social Sciences constituency) - Trinity Term 2022


On Thursday, 9 June 2022, the following was duly elected to Council to hold office from MT 2022 to serve until the start of MT 2026:

Nandini Gooptu, BA Calcutta, PhD Camb, St Antony’s, Department of International Development

[The votes recorded were: for Nandini Gooptu, 607; for Professor Margetts, 525; and for Professor Marnette, 574.]


One member of Congregation elected by Congregation from members of the faculties in the Divisions of Humanities and of Social Sciences, to serve until the start of MT 2026 [vice Professor Aditi Lahiri]


General Notes

Electronic elections

The elections on 9 June will be conducted electronically.


Hard copies of nomination forms will not be processed. Completed nomination forms should be sent as an email attachment to the Elections Office by 4pm on 12 May. Please ensure that the nominators listed in section D are also copied into the email when the nomination form is submitted, as this will act as verification of the nomination in lieu of supplying original signatures.

General requirements and eligibility

All candidates are asked to note the general requirements which apply to all committee members, as set out in Council Regulations 14 of 2002 (General Regulations of Council for Committees).  Current members seeking re-election are also asked to check for specific restrictions on consecutive service. For further information, please see the eligibility and amendments to nominations sections within the Information about University elections pages of the Elections website

Candidate’s statement

Candidates are invited to include with their nomination forms a written statement of no more than 250 words, setting out their reasons for standing and qualifications for the office being sought. In the event of a contested election, these statements will be published both on-line and in the Gazette.

Contested elections

In the event of a contested election, the successful candidates will be determined by an electronic ballot. An email with further instructions will be sent to eligible voters on Wednesday 25 May, using the email addresses provided in the electronic register of Congregation (NB with few exceptions, notably clinical staff, this will be the work address ending ‘ox.ac.uk’). Candidates’ statements will be published in the Gazette dated 26 May. Voters may wish to read these statements before completing their electronic vote. The voting period will close at 4pm on 9 June.

Uncontested elections

If the number of nominations received by the closing date is no more than sufficient to fill the vacancies, the candidates nominated shall be deemed to be duly elected as of the close of the nomination period on Thursday, 12 May. When required, places will be allocated according to academic standing, as defined in Council Regulations 22 of 2002, Part 2: Academic Precedence and Standing. If the number of nominations received by the closing date is less than sufficient to fill the vacancies, those candidates nominated will be deemed elected unopposed, and the remaining vacancies will lapse, in which case, in accordance with the regulations, the places must remain vacant until appointments are made jointly by the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors.

Period of office

All vacancies are from the beginning of MT 2022 unless otherwise stated. In accordance with Congregation Regulations 2 of 2002, in any election where vacancies are to be filled for periods of different length, the elected candidates shall hold office so that the tenure of those who receive more votes shall be longer than that of those who receive fewer votes; but if the election is uncontested or if two candidates receive the same number of votes, the candidate senior in academic standing shall hold office for the longer period.

Further information

For further information, please contact the Elections Office

General Information about this constituency

This constituency is comprised of four members of Congregation elected by Congregation from members of the faculties in the Divisions of Humanities and of Social Sciences.

Elections to this constituency restrict candidates to members of the faculties in the Divisions of Humanities and of Social Sciences. This means that all members of Congregation are eligible to nominate a candidate or to vote, but prospective candidates who want to stand for election must be a member of one the faculties in the Divisions of Humanities and of Social Sciences. (A list of these can be found in Statute VII).

The full term of office is four years (or less, when a by-election is held to fill the residue of the term of office for an elected member who is standing down early).

The terms of reference and membership of Council are set out in Statute IV.

Council is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor and meets on Mondays of weeks 4 and 9 of each term (week 8 in Michaelmas Term) and in July and September. Meetings begin at 2pm and usually last for 2-3 hours.

Members of Council are the University's charity trustees and have a responsibility for ensuring that Council conducts itself in accordance with accepted standards of behaviour in public life, embracing selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. They must also play an appropriate part in ensuring that the business of Council is carried out effectively, efficiently, and in a manner appropriate for the proper conduct of public business. Key skills include the ability to see issues from all angles, to discuss and question without being adversarial, to accept collective responsibility for decisions and to exercise common sense across a broad range of matters.

Elected members of Council will ordinarily be expected to serve on a small number of other committees (typically between one and three, usually including at least one of the main committees of Council i.e. PRAC, GPC, Education Committee, Personnel Committee, Research Committee).

For further information, please contact the Head of the Governance Secretariat.


Nominations for elections to this constituency are published weekly in the Gazette and on this website as they are received and processed. The details of any nominations received can be seen by clicking on the candidate's surname in any adjacent tabs.

Nandini Gooptu, BA Calcutta, PhD Camb, St Antony’s, Department of International Development

Nominated by:

Professor David Gellner, All Souls, Anthropology and Museum Ethnography

Professor Christopher Gerry, St Antony’s, Global and Area Studies

Dr Nayanika Mathur, Wolfson, Global and Area Studies

Professor Ankhi Mukherjee, Wadham, English Language and Literature

Professor Timothy Power, St Antony’s, Global and Area Studies

Professor Diego Sanchez-Ancochea, St Antony’s, International Development

Professor Julia Smith, All Souls, History

Professor Nikita Sud, Wolfson, International Development

Professor Helen Margetts, BSc Brist, MSc PhD LSE, Mansfield, Oxford Internet Institute

Nominated by:

Professor Helen Mountfield, Principal of Mansfield, Law

Professor Roger Goodman, Master of St Anthony’s, Anthropology

Professor Ros Ballaster, Mansfield, English

Professor Rebecca Eynon, Education/Internet Institute

Professor Louise Fawcett, St Catherine’s, Politics and International Relations

Professor Desmond King, Nuffield, Politics and International Relations

Professor Melinda Mills, Nuffield, Sociology

Dr Vicki Nash, Internet Institute

Professor Tim Power, St Anthony’s, Social Sciences

Professor Jared Tanner, Exeter, Mathematics


Professor Sophie Marnette, Lic UL Brussels, MA Oxf, PhD Berkeley, Balliol, Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages

Nominated by:

Professor Kate Blackmon, Merton, Saïd Business School

Professor Mishtooni Bose, Christ Church, English Language and Literature

Professor Danny Dorling, St Peter’s, Geography and the Environment

Professor Cécile Fabre, All Souls, Philosophy

Gillian Hamnett, Brasenose, University Administration

Dr David Johnson, St Antony’s, Education

Professor Martin Maiden, Hertford, Zoology

Professor Helen Swift, St Hilda’s, Medieval & Modern Languages

Professor William Whyte St John’s, History

Dr Sam Wolfe, St Catherine’s, Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics

Candidate statements

In the event of a contested election, candidate statements will be published in the Gazette and on this website. The details of any candidate's statements received can be seen by clicking on the candidate's surname in any adjacent tabs.

Oxford faces a number of challenges that will require a rethinking of many of our strategies, structures and practices. In this critical period, I will advocate in Council an approach that emphasises the impact of change on our working lives and our students. In nearly three decades at Oxford, I have gained an understanding of the experience of work in various contexts and at different career stages, which I shall bring to bear on Council deliberations.

Significant financial pressures will affect our academic resources and the working conditions of both permanent and fixed-term staff. The climate crisis necessitates a change in our work practices and the adoption of new technology for overseas research and collaborations, and much else. EDI matters have assumed an urgency for both staff and students.

These are but a few of the issues that will affect us all and require strategies alive to the needs of students and staff, that I am well placed to represent. I teach graduates and undergraduates across several departments and faculties (International Development, Area Studies, Politics, History). I work both as a sole researcher and in a team with external funding. I have been Head of Department, and have had a variety of student and staff-facing roles and academic administration responsibilities, ranging from Director of Graduate Studies and Senior Tutor to membership of the University’s Personnel Committee, Research Staff Working Group, Equality and Diversity Unit, Visitatorial Board, Grievance Committee and the Conference of Colleges Steering Committee and Appeals Tribunal.

I am Professor of Society and the Internet (from 2004) and Professorial Fellow at Mansfield College. From 2011 to 2018 I was Director of the Oxford Internet Institute, a multi-disciplinary department in the Social Sciences Division. Before I came to Oxford I was UCL’s first political scientist and the Director of the School of Public Policy. As a social scientist with a background in computer science and mathematics, I have a keen interest in methodological innovation and research that crosses disciplinary boundaries. From 2018 I have directed the Public policy programme of research at the Alan Turing Institute for data science and AI, where we work with policymakers to maximise the potential of data-driven technologies for public good.

Having spent more than 15 years as Head of Department or Programme Director, I have wide experience of academic leadership and hiring, supporting, mentoring and managing researchers at all career stages. I would like now to take my experience to the wider stage of the University Council, for example bringing awareness of the needs of people working on the ground to tackle longstanding issues of career progression and contract stability. My fields of research are demographically narrow - I care passionately about issues of equality, diversity and inclusion, and am excited by the prospect of tackling them across the University. As well as my longstanding and wide-ranging track record of social science research, I would bring to Council my experience of multidisciplinary research spanning all Divisions of the University.

From being the president of student representatives at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, to my graduate years in Berkeley, and then being a member of college and faculty committees in Cambridge and Oxford, I have always been involved in the governance of universities and dedicated to their fair and democratic working. I have never been afraid to ask tough questions, especially when I was on Council as Junior Proctor. In my departing oration, just before lockdown, I remarked: “[…] alongside this narrative of success, there is also a narrative of challenge, and lessons to be learnt… The main challenge here is: does our University have the means of its ambitions while also being able to address its core needs? And therefore what should our core priorities really be? Indeed, in building possible future narratives, we should have the courage, flexibility and humility to change course if things do not go according to plan.” This is truer than ever as we prepare to transition to a new VC, a new strategic plan, and some old and new challenges (e.g. investment in research and teaching, welfare, pensions, affordability to live, work and study in Oxford). Decisions need to be made and communicated in a transparent way in order for people to engage with them and support needs to be expressed not only in words but also in actions in order for all people to feel empowered in our vibrant and increasingly diverse University community.

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