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The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two 'ancient universities' are frequently jointly called 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

The university is made up of 38 constituent colleges, and a range of academic departments, which are organised into four divisions. All the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities. It does not have a main campus, and its buildings and facilities are scattered throughout the city centre. Undergraduate teaching at Oxford is organised around weekly tutorials at the colleges and halls, supported by classes, lectures, seminars, and laboratory work provided by university faculties and departments; some postgraduate teaching includes tutorials organised by faculties and departments. It operates the world's oldest university museum, as well as the largest university press in the world and the largest academic library system nationwide. In the fiscal year ending 31 July 2018, the university had a total income of £2.237 billion, of which £579.1 million was from research grants and contracts. The University is quoted as among the best higher learning institutions by most international and major national league tables.

Oxford has educated many notable alumni, including 27 prime ministers of the United Kingdom and many heads of state and government around the world. As of 2019, 69 Nobel Prize winners, 3 Fields Medalists, and 6 Turing Award winners have studied, worked, or held visiting fellowships at the University of Oxford, while its alumni have won 160 Olympic medals. Oxford is the home of numerous scholarships, including the Rhodes Scholarship, which is one of the oldest international graduate scholarship programmes.

Selected article

University offices in Wellington Square

The Registrar of the University of Oxford is one of the university's senior officials, acting (in the words of the university's statutes) as the "head of the central administrative services", with responsibility for "the management and professional development of their staff and for the development of other administrative support". The workload of the role, which has a 550-year history, has increased over time. In the 16th century, it was regarded as a lucrative position and one registrar reacted violently when the university voted to remove him from office for failing to carry out his duties for a year, leading to his temporary imprisonment. A commission headed by former Prime Minister H. H. Asquith recommended in 1922 that Oxford should improve its administration and that the registrar should become a more significant figure. As the historian Brian Harrison put it, Oxford's administration was "edging... slowly from decentralized amateurism towards centralized professionalism." The growth in Oxford's administration led to a move in 1968 to purpose-built accommodation in Wellington Square (pictured): until that time, the administration had been housed in the Clarendon Building in the centre of Oxford. About 4,000 of the university's staff of approximately 8,000 are under the Registrar's control. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Robert Madgwick

Robert Madgwick (1905–1979) was an Australian educationist. Born in North Sydney, New South Wales, Madgwick trained as a schoolteacher before attaining degrees in economics and economic history from the University of Sydney and Balliol College, Oxford. Madgwick gained experience in adult education while working as a lecturer in Sydney's extension program, and he served during World War II as Director of the Australian Army Education Service, which provided adult education services to the Army's 250,000 members. After the war, he guided the New England University College to independence as the University of New England in 1954, becoming its first Vice-Chancellor and presiding over the school's expansion of its curriculum and facilities while promoting closer ties with the local community. Madgwick was an influential proponent of adult learning and extension studies in tertiary education. In recognition of his contributions to education, Madgwick was appointed to the Order of British Empire in 1962 and knighted in 1966. After his retirement, Madgwick served from 1967 to 1973 as Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. (Full article...)

Selected college or hall

Lincoln College coat of arms

Lincoln College was founded in 1427 by Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, as a "little college of true students of theology". After some early financial problems, another Bishop of Lincoln, Thomas Rotherham, effectively refounded the college in 1478. It is situated in the centre of the city on Turl Street and adjoins Brasenose College (with which it has a long-standing rivalry) at the rear. The college buildings include the 18th-century All Saints Church which has been converted into a library. The architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner said that Lincoln preserves "more of the character of a 15th century college than any other in Oxford". Unlike many other colleges, there are no modern buildings on the main site. There are about 580 students (undergraduates and postgraduates). The Rector of the college is the English literature academic Henry Woudhuysen, appointed in 2012. The Methodist leader John Wesley was a Fellow of Lincoln in the 18th century. Former students of the college include the novelist John le Carré, the actress Emily Mortimer, the cartoonist "Dr Seuss" and the Australian politician Peter Durack. (Full article...)

Selected image

Oscar Wilde was a scholar at Magdalen College from 1874 to 1878, obtaining a first-class honours degree in Literae Humaniores (classics).
Credit: Napoleon Sarony
Oscar Wilde was a scholar at Magdalen College from 1874 to 1878, obtaining a first-class honours degree in Literae Humaniores (classics).

Did you know...

Articles from Wikipedia's "Did You Know" archives about the university and people associated with it:

University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford

Selected quotation

Selected panorama

The Old Building Quadrangle of Hertford College incorporates the lodge, library, chapel, hall, bursary and other administrative buildings. It is the only Hertford quadrangle to have a lawn in the centre, in the traditional college style.
Credit: Kunal Mehta
The Old Building Quadrangle of Hertford College incorporates the lodge, library, chapel, hall, bursary and other administrative buildings. It is the only Hertford quadrangle to have a lawn in the centre, in the traditional college style.

On this day...

Events for 27 June relating to the university, its colleges, academics and alumni. College affiliations are marked in brackets.

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