Profile: Jared Hutchings

Jared Hutchings is Head of Student Information & Financial Support, which is part of the Student Administration Section. Student Administration is made up of five functional teams, of which Student Information & Financial Support is one. Jared’s team has 17 permanent staff members of a total of 65 permanent staff in the Student Administration. For more information, and to read Student Administration’s annual reports, please visit www.admin.ox.ac.uk/ac-div/aboutus/studentadministration.

Jared Hutchings

What does your current role entail?

Strategy, co-ordination, management and oversight of:

  • student immigration: advice, sponsorship of students, monitoring and reporting of international students;
  • undergraduate bursaries and fee waivers;
  • hardship funding;
  • study abroad scholarships and the Erasmus programme;
  • degree ceremonies, transcripts and certificates;
  • co-ordination of annual registration, international student orientation events;
  • the  help desk for Student Self-Service and generic advice for current students;
  • Oxford-wide surveys such as the National Student Survey.

How did you get into this job?

I did my undergraduate degree at Oxford in History and Economics, and after graduating in 1993 I originally thought I wanted to be a development economist. I worked for an economic consultancy and then volunteered in Sri Lanka before doing an MSc in Economics at Warwick. After that, I worked for a year as a strategy consultant and that’s where I learnt a lot of business skills.

However, the job wasn’t particularly rewarding and so I did a PGCE and then taught History (plus some Citizenship and Drama) in a state secondary school for four years. I loved the interaction with young people and working in education, although the workload was incredibly heavy. I left to move to a role that I felt would allow me a better work-life balance, working for a small private education and research consultancy doing research for clients like the Department for Education, Army, and Youth Justice Board. The role used a blend of my business and teaching experience and I developed expertise in areas like discussions groups and surveys that I use a lot in my current role.

Following this, I was keen to look for a job in a large organisation where I could stay for longer and have greater opportunities to move around different roles. I wanted to stay in the education sector and ideally find a role that allowed me to not just do research, but implement what I had proposed. The post of Educational Policy Officer at Oxford ticked all the boxes and in March 2007 I started working for the University. I found myself working on policy relating to the size and shape of the university, embedding graduate studies, educational collaborations with other universities, surveys, and the University’s Strategy Plan.

The policy making in this post was still at quite a high level and I wanted to be closer to the ‘coalface’, and to manage a team. During a reorganisation of what was then Student Administration and Student Finance and Welfare, my current role came up and I have been in this post since July 2009. 

What led you to originally apply to work at Oxford?

My interest in educational policy was the starting point. Working for the research agency, I had advised others on educational policy and as I noted above, I wanted to move into a role where I could develop the policy, implement it – and stick around to see it happen. I wanted to work in a big complex organisation. In previous jobs I had worked in schools and in small firms and I was looking for an interesting change with longer-term career perspectives.

Thinking about your career, what would you like to be doing in the future?

A post with a slightly greater balance of face-to-face contact with students would be great. Policy work is also a siren call.

What do you like about working here?

The outside world moves so fast and it’s exciting to be in a position to help Oxford translate the problems and questions that the outside world poses into the nuts and bolts of how things actually operate in the University. The government’s recent White Paper on undergraduate finance and funding (‘Students at the heart of the system’, June 2011) is a good example. I helped shape the response from Oxford to the White Paper, including our access agreement with the Office of Fair Access (OFFA) and also supported the creation of Oxford’s new – and very generous – bursary and fee waiver scheme.

Outside of work, there are decent local schools and great places to explore outdoors: Wytham Woods, Wittenham Clumps and Harcourt Arboretum are standard weekend activities for my family.

What are the challenges of working here?

Decision making can be very slow because everyone is a stakeholder (colleges, departments, divisions, students, central services), so changing things whilst keeping everyone on-board, informed and happy is challenging.

 

Last updated: December 2011