Our Purpose

Our Purpose

An Explanation

We realised early in the process of our 2025 Conversation, from which this Purpose was developed, that being part of the University of Oxford is integral to the identity and purpose of St Anne’s and that our
aspirations and ambitions have to be set in the
context of the University’s vision.


This is our highest-level purpose, the ‘why’ we
exist and why our people do what they do. I
have seen how dedicated so many members of
College are to their work and, in particular, the
pressure our Fellows put themselves under to
conduct their world leading research, tutor their
students and support the College in a myriad
of ways. I was inspired to hear their answers
when they discussed the fundamental ‘why’
that motivates them. The strong consensus
that it is to understand the world and change
it for the better has been unwavering since it
was first shared. This aspiration surely captures
what education and research is for at an
individual as well as institutional level


This is a statement that captures the ‘what’: what we are and what we do. It
contains ambitions that can at some level be monitored and measured, so we can be clear if progress is being made. Although it appears as one sentence, it contains 5 separate ambitions for planning purposes:

  1. to be a diverse community
  2. to be an inclusive community
  3. to contribute to the University’s vision to lead the world in education
  4. to contribute to the University’s vision to lead the world in research, and
  5. to secure the College’s legacy and future



These capture what St Anne’s is or wants to be and do at its best. They form two sections with the lower 3 beliefs specifically representing the commitments of trustees, i.e. members of Governing Body.



Our values determine how we do what we do and have been paired. In some cases the two concepts clearly complement (forward looking & outward facing, diverse & multidisciplinary) in others they contrast, perhaps reflecting a
tension but not a contradiction (ambitious & down-to-earth, independent & collaborative, rigorous & supportive).


This is deliberately a very short memorable phrase that can be applied by any member of the St Anne’s community to what they do: as applicable to a porter or chef in the kitchens, as it is to a new student, tutor, graduate, or the Principal. It is based on the St Anne’s College motto Consulto et Audacter, translated as Purposefully and Boldly. Individually and collectively, members of St Anne’s carefully consider their purpose and then are prepared to pursue it boldly.


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Our Aspiration

To understand the world and change it for the better

Our Beliefs 

1. As a community, we
a) want to be the home of choice for the brightest and most ambitious students, including those from under-represented groups
b) take pride in supporting, enabling and promoting our academics’ research
c) inspire and challenge our students to fulfil their academic potential and prepare for future careers
d) respect, promote and celebrate difference; diversity of people, their ideas, and accomplishments are a rich source of learning for us all
e) support and guide all in our community to be well and do well, building their resilience and readiness for the future
f) build on the richness of our history, and the achievements of our predecessors and alumnae in our ambition to make a distinct and enduring contribution to the University’s future
g) need the funding, facilities and resources of a world class College environment for learning, teaching and research in order to attract the brightest minds and to support their aspirations.
2. As trustees, we
a) have a duty of care to our staff, students and academics
b) must leave the College stronger and better than we found it, fit for the long term
c) inspire every student with the joys of intellectual pursuit as we advance world class research.

Our Ambition 

To be a diverse and inclusive community contributing to the University’s vision to
lead the world in education and research, and securing the College’s legacy and future

Our Approach

Purposefully and Boldly

Our Values

Forward looking & Outward facing
Diverse & Multidisciplinary
Ambitious & Down-to-earth
Independent & Collaborative
Rigorous & Supportive