Former Caius Fellow appointed first female Dean of Christ Church

  • 17 March 2023

Rev Canon Professor Sarah Foot, a former Fellow of Gonville & Caius College, has been appointed as Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, becoming the first woman to be chosen for the role in the college’s almost 500-year-long history.

Sarah was a Research Fellow, then Fellow and Tutor at Caius from 1989 to 1993, before moving to the University of Sheffield and then, in February 2007, the University of Oxford, where she is the Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Oxford University and a priest serving as a Residentiary Canon at Christ Church.

In addition to her Faculty position, Professor Foot has been serving since 2021 as Censor Theologiae of Christ Church. The holder of this role deputises in the Dean’s absence; since the Deanship became vacant, she has effectively fulfilled the role of Acting Head of House. She will take up her appointment as Dean in July 2023, serving until the conclusion of an independent review of the governance and statutes of Christ Church, which is expected to be a lengthy process.

The Dean designate said: “It is an honour to have been appointed to this role and to work alongside the Governing Body to serve the students, academics, staff, Chapter and congregation of Christ Church. As we approach our 500th anniversary, we can ensure that Christ Church continues to excel in advancing education, learning and religion long into the future.

“Together, we must make a success of the Governance Review process and see through changes that will be necessary when it’s complete. This work is vital. It will give our colleagues the structures that they need to do what matters most to all of us: offering teaching and research, and a Cathedral liturgy, of the highest quality.”

Sarah matriculated as an undergraduate student to read Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Newnham College, Cambridge, in the same cohort as Caius Master Professor Pippa Rogerson. Coincidentally, both became Fellows at Caius in 1989.

Pippa, who became Caius’ first female Master in 2019, says: “On behalf of everyone at Caius, my hearty congratulations go to Sarah on her appointment as Dean of Christ Church.”

For the full story on Sarah’s appointment, visit the Christ Church website: Appointment of first female Dean of Christ Church the Rev Canon Professor Sarah Foot | Christ Church, Oxford University

Two woman in academic dress of red and scarlet

Rev Canon Professor Sarah Foot and Professor Pippa Rogerson, right, in the Master's Lodge at Caius on the occasion of the University of Cambridge's Commemoration of Benefactors in November 2019

Main image credit: Ian Wallman

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