Pastoral Support


All students at Newnham, both undergraduates and graduates, are assigned a tutor who is responsible for their general welfare and is the first port of call for help and advice relating to the College. Each tutor has responsibility for normally no more than 35 students. Undergraduate students are allocated to tutors whose own teaching and research is in a different subject area to their own. All undergraduates are also assigned a Director of Studies, who is responsible for advising them on their studies and for arranging supervisions.

All tutors have access to rooms in College to see their students privately and to discuss matters with them in confidence. The role of the tutor is to provide all-round support and guidance on any aspect of student life, including personal welfare, financial support available, health issues and also to provide links to additional sources of support where appropriate.

You will meet your tutor in Freshers’ Week (undergraduates) or during the first term (graduates). Cambridge, like any institution, can be confusing to navigate, but your tutor will have experience of the system and be on hand to provide advice on any issue, from health or financial concerns, to filling in paperwork. Tutors are an invaluable resource, and it’s important to keep them in the loop if your circumstances change or any difficulties arise.

Tutors are a student’s main point of contact with the College on many issues, and listed below are some of the ways in which they regularly provide help:

  • Introducing and welcoming new students to Cambridge and College life.
  • Meeting students each term.
  • Confidential discussions of health matters and problems
  • Providing information about College counsellors, the University Counselling Service, etc.
  • Provision of advice on financial issues – budgeting, hardship, delayed loan payments, funding opportunities.
  • Examinations – special arrangements for examinations, appeals/complaints.
  • Change of course, intermission.
  • Support in the event of difficulties with courses or supervisors (however, tutors do not provide academic support).

Students can find a list of Tutors here.

College Nurse & Wellbeing Advisor

Our College Nurse, Julie Barker, has regular office hours during term-time. Her office is in the College Health and Wellbeing Centre in the Pfeiffer building, and she can help students with minor illnesses and injuries, referring them on for further support if necessary – we are lucky to have the Newnham Walk GP Surgery very close to the College.

Julie works closely with our College Wellbeing Advisor, Hiruni Cox, who also has a room in the College Health and Wellbeing Centre. Hiruni can help students with mental health and wellbeing through wellbeing sessions, signposting to further services, or some guided self-help support. Further information can be found here.

College counselling provision

Newnham students have access to a range of counselling resources, including our own College Counsellors Sue Arnold and Carol Harmston-Dean. All are free to students, and students can self-refer. Find out more about our mental health provision. The Counsellor’s office is in the College Health Centre in the Pfeiffer building.

There is also the University Counselling Service, supporting students and staff. (Note that the University Counselling Service also has a dedicated BME Counsellor.)

Advisor to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Students

Any student can speak to the Advisor to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Students. She is available to talk to BME and non-BME students with general or specific concerns relating to race and minority ethnic backgrounds. The Advisor is currently Professor Manali Desai.

Chaplain at Newnham

Although Newnham was founded as a non-denominational College (‘for all religions and none’), and we therefore do not have a Chapel, any Newnham member is welcome to attend services at Selwyn Chapel (just over the road), and we also ‘borrow’ their Chaplain, Rev Dr Arabella Milbank Robinson, who can provide pastoral support. You can also find her contact details on the Chapel term card and on the Chaplaincy noticeboard in the Porters’ Lodge, or click here.

Further information

See also the Student Handbook and the College’s Procedures and Guidance for Students, which gives further advice and procedures for academic, welfare and safeguarding matters.