New Head of Oxford University’s Social Sciences announced

Professor Roger Goodman is to become the next Head of the Social Sciences Division at Oxford University. The new appointment comes into effect from 1 April 2008.

Professor Goodman has been the Director of Oxford University’s Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, and Head of the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies since 2004. In his new position he will lead the largest grouping of social sciences at any university in the UK. Professor Goodman took up the post of University Lecturer in the social anthropology of Japan in Oxford in 1993 and was elected to the Nissan Chair of Modern Japanese Studies in 2003. He was University Assessor in 1997-98 and Acting Warden of St Antony’s College for 2006-7.

Oxford University Social Sciences Division is consistently judged to be one of the best in the world and was placed top of the world rankings in 2006 by the Times Higher Education Supplement. All the disciplines are committed to research that develops a greater understanding of all aspects of our complex society, from the impact of political, legal and economic systems on social and economic welfare, to human rights and security. Researchers from the Division are leading the international debate on pressing issues of the 21st century, such as demographic ageing, climate change, global poverty and global economic governance. The most recent research groups to set up within the Division include: the Oxford-Man Institute of Quantitative Finance, which was launched in September 2007; and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, which is led by Sir David King, the former Government Chief Scientific Adviser.  

Professor Goodman said: ‘Social sciences in Oxford span the full range of theoretical and methodological approaches and are increasingly interdisciplinary in nature, but at their heart lies the common resolve to produce the best quality research and provide the highest quality teaching possible. The fact that Oxford social sciences is consistently ranked as amongst the world's best is testament to the Division’s ability to do just that - as well as to the commitment of its academics, support staff and students. I am obviously very excited about the prospect of helping the Division move forward over the next few years.’

Dr John Hood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: ‘The research by academics within Oxford University’s Social Sciences Division has one of the best reputations internationally. The work carried out by this Division has far-reaching impact, influencing policy and debate worldwide on the pressing issues and challenges of the 21st century. I am delighted that Professor Goodman has accepted this position and I look forward to working with him in his new role.’

Professor Goodman is a Professorial Fellow of St Antony’s College, where he has been Dean as well as Acting Warden from 2006-07. He was also National Chairman of the Japan Foundation Endowment Committee (1999-2006), which was set up to promote Japanese studies in higher education throughout the UK.

The current Head of Oxford’s Social Sciences Division, Dr Michael Spence, is leaving the position at the end of March to become the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney. Dr Spence has led the Division since 2005.

For more information or for a photograph of Professor Goodman, please contact the Oxford University Press Office on 01865 280534 or email 

Notes for Editors:

*Roger Goodman took an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Durham and received his doctorate in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford in 1987. He held a Lectureship in Japanese and Japanese Studies at the University of London and a Readership in the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex before taking up a University Lectureship in the Social Anthropology of Japan at the University of Oxford

* Professor Goodman’s research concentrates mainly in the areas of Japanese education and social policy. His many publications include Japan’s International Youth (Oxford University Press, 1990) and Children of the Japanese State (Oxford University Press, 2000) and he is currently completing a monograph on the reforms taking place in Japanese higher education.

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