Monthly Archives: March 2015

President Post – A Jewel in the Crown

Kellogg_College_25th_Anniversary_Dinner_by_John_Cairns_14.3.15-40

From left to right: David Griffiths, Jonathan Michie, and Lord & Lady Patten of Barnes.

At our 25th Foundation Dinner on March 14th 2015, the University’s Chancellor Lord Patten described Kellogg College as one of the “jewels in the crown” of the University of Oxford.  This, he said, was in part because of the access we provide – to those who for a variety of reasons might not be in a position to become full-time residential students, for people of all age groups, and for an incredibly international student body.

Kellogg is certainly Oxford’s most international college by any measure – the number of international students, the number of countries from which our students come, and the degree programs that most of our students undertake – such as International Human Rights Law, Sustainable Urban Development, or Evidence-Based Health Care.

Of course, it’s departments rather than colleges that determine the content of Oxford’s degree programs.  But most Kellogg students are continuing with their jobs and careers while they undertake their Master’s and Doctoral programs part-time, and for whatever reason, these part-time degree programs have tended to be more international in content than are Oxford’s full-time degrees.  This may in part be self-fulfilling, because the flexible nature of these degree programs means that people can carry on living and working in Boston, Bombay or Brisbane while they study, visiting Oxford for only short residencies of intensive study.  This facilitates a global spread of students on the degree programs, which in turn perhaps pushes the curricula to be more global – and certainly that international spread will be reflected in the class discussion (whether during the face-to-face residencies or online in between these residencies).

One positive aspect of Oxford’s part-time degrees is to avoid the ‘brain drain’ of developing countries losing their skilled workers overseas, when their students fail to return to their home country after graduating.  Part-time study enables them to continue to live and work in their home country as they earn their degrees – and they are thus much more likely to continue to live, work and contribute to their home countries after graduation.

But apart from making the world a better place, the advantage to the College of our international intake is the amazing diversity of cultural events and activities – including the themed lunches!

President Post – Delivering the Oxford Experience

There have been several reports recently about mature and part-time students having lost out with the new arrangements for student funding – see for example Peter Scott’s ‘Adult education the loser in a game only young, full-time students win’.

It’s therefore particularly appropriate that the one college in Oxford that was founded with the particular mission and purpose of supporting part-time and mature students should be celebrating its first, fantastically successful, 25 years.  Founded in 1990, this year will see a range of events to mark both our achievements and our ambition, including a June 27th Garden Party to which all College friends are welcome to attend.

The continued success of Kellogg College is due in large part to the quality of the part-time degree programmes that most of our students are taking.  The proven excellence of these degree programmes has led to increased demand for places.  In some cases it has been possible to respond to this by expanding the programmes.  These achievements have also sent a strong signal across the University of Oxford – part-time degrees really can deliver the same high level of quality and excellence which Oxford requires and depends upon.  This in turn has led to more departments wishing to pursue this option.

Thus, while Kellogg does have 240 full-time students, our part-time numbers have continued to grow, currently to 627, making 867 students in total – by far the largest graduate college in Oxford in terms of student numbers, and twice the number of graduates that most colleges have.

But it is true that this continued success has been in the face of many obstacles.  As a graduate only college, we have suffered along with others at the complete failure of the Browne Review – which led to the £9,000 fees for undergraduates – to even consider post-graduate students, despite that having been included in their remit.

Now, eventually, a loan arrangement is to be introduced for postgraduate students.  But it is going to discriminate quite explicitly on grounds of age.  Anyone over 30 can forget it – you have been ruled out already.  You will not be allowed access to the loan arrangement.  Even in Oxford, I’m sorry to say that some other colleges explicitly rule out part-time students from their scholarships.

The conclusion is clear.  We must use our 25th Anniversary to redouble our fundraising efforts, to provide scholarship and other support to our students, including enhancing our library and other facilities.  We have launched a ‘1990 Club’ to mark our Foundation Year, for those able and willing to commit £1990 to the future success of our students and College.  I’m delighted to be able to report that we have already had friends of the College signing up.  This will ensure that our students – including those having to study part-time – will continue to enjoy financial support from the College, along with the sort of college facilities that makes the Oxford experience so special.

Jonathan Michie, March 2015

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