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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


The information and links on this page have been gathered together to provide staff and students with a one-stop-shop for all matters concerned with welfare.

On this page you will find information on how to deal with harassment, sexual misconduct, wellbeing, equality and diversity, dignity at work, how to complain about teaching and examining, and how to obtain help, support and advice.

Preventing harassment and sexual misconduct

The Department of History and Philosophy of Science strongly endorses the University's campaign 'Breaking the Silence – Cambridge speaks out against sexual misconduct' which draws together all aspects of collegiate Cambridge's work on prevention, reporting and supporting in regard to harassment and sexual misconduct affecting both staff and students. The campaign has launched a website drawing together all relevant information into one central resource:

Breaking the Silence

The Department's activities to tackle harassment and sexual misconduct focus on:

  • fostering a zero-tolerance culture free from coercive behaviour, harassment and sexual misconduct;
  • providing support and guidance to members of the Department in relation to harassment and misconduct;
  • handling in an exemplary manner allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct between students and students, and students and employees.

University statement

Code of conduct

Active bystander strategies

University sexual harassment and assault advisor

A new role of Sexual Harassment and Assault Advisor has been created within the University Counselling Service to provide specialist advice and support to anyone who has experienced sexual harassment or assault. This advisor will also be able to provide information about the internal and external support and reporting routes.

Supporting students

When to Refer is a guide for student-facing staff in departments. It contains advice about helping undergraduate and postgraduate students access the right pastoral support at the right time.

When to Refer and other resources for supporting students


The Department is keen to support wellbeing activities, especially those that encourage people to take a break from their desk and come together. There are often official tea breaks organised where refreshments are provided. A free exercise class was offered at lunchtimes for staff and students to join that took place in the Department. There were also additional activities run in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week. There is encouragement in the Department for people to have an open dialogue about how they are feeling, either to colleagues or the Wellbeing Advocates, and printed material is also available around the building for staff and students to reach out and seek extra help and support if they need it.

Wellbeing Advocates

The University has a network of trained voluntary Wellbeing Advocates, who are supported by the HR Division. They are able to provide information on local and University wellbeing activities and be a source of advice and guidance, including about support services, mental health and dignity at work issues. The Wellbeing Advocates in HPS are Anna Alexandrova and Helen Curry.

University Wellbeing pages

Advice for students

Dignity at Work

There is no place for any form of harassment, victimisation or sexual misconduct at Cambridge. Such behaviour is contrary to the values and ideals of our shared community, subverts the University's mission and core values and diminishes the dignity and integrity of all parties.

Dignity at Work policy

A network of Dignity at Work contacts provide confidential advice to those who feel that they are experiencing difficult working relationships, including bullying or harassment. If you would like to talk confidentially to a Dignity at Work contact, you should call (7)65031 which is a confidential voice-mail number where you leave your name and contact details and someone will get back to you. Or you can email with your name and contact details.

The Dignity at Work contacts in HPS are Hasok Chang, Anna Alexandrova and Richard Staley.

Equality and diversity

The Department supports equality and diversity by ensuring that all staff undertake equality and diversity training at least every two years and via the appointment of an Equality Champion whose role it is to demonstrate senior leadership and support for equality and diversity matters and initiatives. The Department's Equality Officers are Anna Alexandrova and Helen Curry. Further information on E&D at Cambridge can be found at the following pages:

Equality & Diversity at Cambridge

Whistleblowing policy

The purpose of the whistleblowing policy is to provide a means by which staff are enabled to raise concerns with the appropriate University authorities if they have reasonable grounds for believing serious malpractice has occurred or is likely to occur. In many cases it will be appropriate for the member of staff to raise any concerns informally with their line manager in the first instance, either in person or in writing. It may be possible to agree a way of resolving the concern quickly and effectively.

However, where the matter is more serious, or the member of staff feels that their line manager has not addressed the concern, or they prefer not to follow that informal step for any reason, they should contact the Academic Secretary (phone: (3)32260; email:

Whistleblowing policy

How to complain about teaching or examining

If you are unhappy about any University teaching, service, department, facilities or staff member, the University has a student complaints procedure for you to use in order to try to resolve the situation. You should first try to resolve the problem at local level by speaking to your Director of Studies/College Tutor/Course Manager or alternatively approach one of the Department's Dignity Officers.

If you do not feel comfortable raising the matter with this person then you should speak or write to the Responsible Officer (in this department, the Senior Examiners act as 'Responsible Officers'). You should raise your complaint as soon as it occurs or at least within 28 days of the matter arising. Many issues can be resolved easily and quickly if you communicate your problem to someone.

Department advice about student complaints

Student complaints website

All complaints are treated seriously and are handled sensitively. We understand that it can be a stressful experience to submit a complaint, particularly when it is about an individual staff member, for example a PhD supervisor. We recommend that you seek support and advice from your College Tutor, Postgraduate Tutor or the Student Advice Service.

University Counselling Service

The University Counselling Service is available free of charge to all students and staff who hold a University contract of employment. The service is staffed by professionally accredited, and widely experienced counsellors. All are used to helping people from many different backgrounds and cultures and with a wide range of personal issues.

Student Advice Service

The Student Advice Service offers free, confidential and independent support to students.

Accessibility and Disability Resources Centre

The Accessibility and Disability Resources Centre (ADRC) is the University's disability service, providing advice, information and support to all disabled students. The ADRC supports individuals with any disability, medical matter or injury, including those with:

  • specific learning difficulties (including dyslexia)
  • physical impairments and injuries (including broken limbs and Work Related Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD))
  • sensory impairments
  • mental health issues
  • eating disorders
  • chronic illnesses
  • Asperger syndrome and autism

The ADRC can provide confidential information and support, study skills tuition and mentoring, assessment for dyslexia, the loan of specialist equipment and assistance with funding applications. The ADRC can also work with you, your college and department to help ensure that you have effective support for your studies and help you apply for reasonable adjustments for examinations. More information about all these issues can be found on the ADRC's website.

Accessibility of the Department's building

Seminar Room 1: This room is reached via two steps. A temporary ramp is available but it is too steep to be suitable for powered wheelchairs.

Seminar Room 2: Step-free access is possible via the museum's back entrance. Access must be planned in advance with the help of museum staff as the route goes through the museum store area.

Whipple Library: Step-free access to the library, via the museum's back entrance, can be arranged. See the library's readers with disabilities page for details.

Board Room, Coffee Room, supervision rooms and most staff offices: These rooms can only be reached via stairs. It may therefore be necessary to arrange an alternative venue.

There is an accessible toilet at the museum's back entrance.

Best practice for supporting students with disabilities

There are an increasing number of students on our courses who have Student Support Documents (SSDs). These documents have been developed by the Accessibility and Disability Resources Centre (ADRC) as a way of advising departments and Colleges of how to support students with declared disabilities. However, there are many common themes and we would like to request that you follow best practice advised by the ADRC for all students as this diminishes the need to circulate confidential information.


  • Arrange regular meetings to assist with remaining on track. These should be at an agreed frequency and, ideally, take place at the same time/place/day to assist with organisation.
  • Give adequate time for students to assimilate information and prepare answers. Some students may find it easier to summarise their work orally rather than in writing and vice versa.
  • Help students define the scope and limit of their assignments. Establish clear goals and monitor progress.
  • Provide discussion materials in advance.
  • Use concise, clear and explicit language.
  • Provide instructions in written form or allow the student the opportunity to record them.
  • Establish deadlines well in advance with clearly defined academic goals and timelines.
  • Provide examples of expected work.
  • Provide feedback that focuses on strong points as well as areas for improvement, while noting any spelling or grammar errors.
  • For lengthy tasks, help students break these down into component parts. Set deadlines for each part.
  • Allow extra time to complete reading and writing tasks and be flexibility over deadlines if it appears necessary. (Check with Jane Clare to see if an SSD has been put in place.)
  • Be prepared to repeat information and instructions.
  • Flag up essential information.
  • Providing a glossary of key terms and phrases may be helpful.


  • Give permission to take notes using a laptop or allow students to record your lectures for their own use.
  • Leave information on the board to allow adequate copying time.
  • Provide copies of PowerPoint presentations, handouts, lecture notes and discussion documents, where available, preferably in advance on Moodle.
  • Number PowerPoint slides and use a pastel coloured background where possible.
  • Flag up essential information.
  • Provide a synopsis at the start of the lecture and effective signposting throughout. Conclude each lecture by reviewing major points.
  • Provide reading lists in advance on Moodle.

Occupational Health

Occupational Health (OH) aims to assist with reducing ill health and promoting health and wellbeing across the University. The service has an advisory role in assisting the University meet its general duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 by working alongside management to ensure that the working environment is safe and that a person's health is not adversely affected by their work activities. The occupational health team comprises of a small team of occupational health specialist doctors and nurses and administrative personnel who offer impartial advice to both the employer and employee.


  • Employment and health assessments for certain staff and student groups
  • Advice and guidance for staff with health problems that could affect their ability to do their job
  • Assessment for fitness to work after an illness or injury
  • Assessment of health related performance concerns
  • Periodic health checks and advice dependent on the nature of your job
  • Work-related immunisation programmes
  • Travel health advice and vaccinations for staff going on fieldtrips
  • Ergonomic assessments and advice regarding workplace adaptions
  • Accident / incident follow ups
  • Training and information on the management of work and health issues
  • Physiotherapy and Clinical Psychology referral where indicated following an OH consultation
  • Telephone enquiries and advice

Referrals to OH may be initiated either by a member of staff (self-referral) or with their consent, the member of staff's manager (management referral). Once a referral form has been received the individual will be contacted within four working days and an appointment usually arranged within 21 working days.