A Master (more generically called a Head of House or Head of College) is the head or senior member of a college within a collegiate university. The actual title of the head of a college varies widely between institutions, but Master is the most common.
The role of Master varies significantly between colleges of the same university, and even more so between different universities. However, the Master will usually have responsibility for leading the governing body of the college, often acting as a chair of various college committees; for executing the decisions of the governing body through the college's organisational structure, acting as a chief executive; and for representing the college externally, both within the government of the university and further afield often in aid of fund-raising for the college.
Although the head of a college is most commonly called the Master, alternative titles include:
- Dean, at Christ Church College, Oxford, London Business School etc.
- Director, at London School of Economics etc.
- Mistress, at Girton College, Cambridge.
- President, at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, etc.
- Principal, at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, Homerton College, Cambridge, St Chad's College, Durham, King's College, London etc.
- Provost, at Oriel College, Oxford, King's College, Cambridge, University College London etc.
- Rector, at Lincoln College, Oxford, etc.
- Warden, at New College, Oxford, Robinson College, Cambridge etc.
Despite these differences, the actual title used by a head of a college holds little practical significance.
- "Oxford Glossary". University of Oxford. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- "Glossary". University Governance. University of Cambridge. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- Anthony Archer (February 2015). "Oxford Heads of Houses: roles and trends in recent appointments". Bridgewater Leadership Advisory. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
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