Academics

If you ever feel as though feedback on your work isn’t that useful, that you’d benefit from some tips on how to work more effectively or that you’re finding academic pressure a bit too intense, your first port of call should usually be your tutors. Of course, you might not get the help you’re looking for from them, or even feel a little bit uncomfortable asking them for it in the first place. If that’s the case, there are several other ways you can get help with your degree.

Face to face help

The next person to ask for help might be your Director of Studies, who will normally be more than welcome to sit down with you and discuss anything degree related you want to. There’s also Merton’s Welfare team, who are always ready to offer you support about academics or anything else.

Another option you have is to go through the JCR’s very own Academic Affairs Representative (jcr.acaf@merton.ox.ac.uk), who can be a confidential but unintimidating way of raising your concern. In addition to always being ready to listen to a concern you raise with them, the AcAf arranges weekly drop in sessions, will chase your late collections, puts out weekly bulletins of job and volunteering opportunities and runs events with the University Careers Service.

The AcAf has also encouraged each of Merton’s subject societies to put out a subject specific guide, written by current students, with tips on how to approach studying at Merton and what to expect. You can find the ones put together for incoming freshers’ last year here.

Anonymous feedback

If you’d rather a fully anonymous way to offer feedback on your tutors, at the end of each term a formal survey is circulated by college. It asks you to rank and review different elements of a tutor’s teaching, and can be an excellent way to flag issues and allow college to pick up on patterns both positive and negative.

Dedicated college staff

The college has a number of full time staff, whose jobs it is to work to ensure students are able to achieve their full potential.

Dr Katy Fifield in the Academic Office works alongside Dr Jane Glover, the Senior Tutor, to look after academic affairs connected with junior members from application to graduation.

Katy is formally the College’s Academic Registrar and Disability Coordinator, and should be the first point of contact for help and advice on;

  • Alternative exam requirements such as extra time, use of computers or dictionaries and making alternative arrangement for exams that clash with religious holidays.
  • Co-ordinating support for students with disabilities or health problems including signalling special needs to Tutors; liaising with College staff on food, accommodation, laundry and linking up with the Disability Advisory Service
  • Discussing potential suspension of studies where there is a legitimate cause

Jane is also always available to see junior members to discuss problems and offer advice.

To contact either Katy or Jane, use the information below.

Email: katy.fifield@merton.ox.ac.uk • Room: Fellows’ 4:6 • Academic Office Phone: 01865 276379

Email: jane.glover@merton.ox.ac.uk • Room: Fellows’ 4:2

Library Information

  • Merton’s OWL and Mob libraries are both open from 7:00am until 2:00am each day. The library staff are in OWL from 9:30am until 5:00pm Monday to Friday each day of term.
  • If you’re unable to leave your room because you’re ill, but need access to books from the library, you can get in touch with the library staff and they will arrange a drop off service for you (mertonlibrary@merton.ox.ac.uk).
  • At the end of each term a library survey goes around, but if you have something you’d like to raise you can always use the board downstairs in OWL to pin a note to Harriet.
  • Each Merton student has a book grant of up to £150 each year, claimable in Trinity Term. Just keep a hold of your receipts and submit them when the notice to do so comes around!
  • Free, unlimited printing through the college system can be accessed here.

Merton’s Upper Mob Library (above, and the oldest continually operating one in the English speaking world) is sadly not open for normal, mortal, undergrad use every day, but opportunities to tour it are available each year!

The Upper Library is found in Mob Quad (above), in turn itself the oldest quadrangle at any university in the world. If you’re an exceptionally lucky third year, you might get a chance to live in Mob, but beware the chapel bells waking you up every morning!