Changes within a venerable institution

Facilitating a discussion with Claire before dinner at the University Women’s Club

Just before lockdown I facilitated a discussion with the Provost (Head) of my old Oxford college, Queen’s, at a dinner at the University Women’s Club in Mayfair, organised by the Queen’s Women’s Network as part of our 40 years of co-education celebrations: youtube.com/watch?v=oIh9lFWX9uE

The first female Provost of Queen’s, Dr Claire Craig CBE, combines her academic, civil service and commercial background into a heterogeneous perspective, one which Oxbridge colleges, as fusions of Fellows and students with diverse interests, are ideally positioned to foster. In an era when science and the humanities need to combine to tackle the fundamental issues of the future of our planet and society, it is great to see her addressing them, from recently writing a letter of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement to the Guardian alongside other Heads of Oxford colleges, to investigating how Queen’s can be more environmentally friendly.

Claire also talked about Queen’s outreach in state schools in North West England, activities close to my heart having gone to Oxford from a state grammar school in Lancashire, which had no Oxbridge ‘pipeline’ in those days and with parents who had not been to university. Additionally, imposter syndrome was raised, a theme I hear in coaching too, but there is no quick fix. The realisation that most people feel it at times, male and female, may help.