We are delighted to share the news that we appointed a new Senior Tutor for Churchill College, who formally started in the role this Michaelmas Term.
Dr Rita Monson, who grew up in New Brunswick, Canada, did her undergraduate degree in Maths at MIT before coming to Cambridge to study for her PhD in Biochemistry in 2004, before joining the College as a Teaching By-Fellow in 2007. She had already been teaching at Churchill since January of 2005 when she saw an advertisement circulate about the need for some supervisors. Although she was a student at Caius at the time, she thought the role “sounded interesting”, and she has been with us ever since. In her time, Rita has supervised 224 undergraduates, mentored 17 graduate students, and been a Director of Studies for 128 students.
When the news came out that our previous Senior Tutor, Richard Partington, was leaving, Rita tells us that initially it came as a surprise; “He had been such a strong part of my time in Churchill.” However, with such news came an opportunity, and one that Rita intended to take. What made her decide to apply for the role? “Over time as a Director of Studies, the Dean and a Tutor, I had started to develop my own ideas about how I thought that things could be run in a different fashion and where I had concrete ideas for change. Several of these were things I had already begun to change within my own subject and some of the ideas were more surrounding our outreach activities and how we could do more to work locally and with subjects where there is no history of study prior to arrival at University.”
It has been a complicated two years for us all, so when we asked Rita what the biggest challenge of the role is right now, the impact of the pandemic is clear. “Admissions at the moment is really difficult. We have over 1000 applicants and making sure they are all judged holistically and fairly given the challenges many students have faced during the pandemic will be difficult.”
But it’s clear that Rita is excited by what the role has in store for her and how she sees the future of Churchill College, with plans already in place for the next twelve months. “We have several exciting initiatives I have been spearheading. One is with the Development Office where we are fundraising for Summer Opportunities bursaries for students who wish to undertake a super curricular project over the summer. This is a project I feel passionately about as it would allow students from all subjects to be fairly compensated at the living wage for work done over the summer.”
Rita would be delighted to hear from any College Members, whether they are previous students of hers or other members of our alumni community. She is also happy to welcome anyone back to College. You can get in touch with her via the button below.