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Foreword by the Vice-Chancellor

Oxford University Images/John Cairns

Foreword by the Vice-Chancellor

Through its global presence OUP, a department of the University, helps to frame popular perceptions of Oxford around the world. OUP publishes in more than 100 languages, sells products in more than 200 countries, and supports millions of students of all ages, abilities, and cultures.

Louise Richardson,
Vice-Chancellor,
University of Oxford

 

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the role of Vice-Chancellor is that one also serves as Chair of Delegates for OUP. Every fortnight during term, colleagues from across the University and across the disciplines come together to engage in discussion about books under consideration for publication by OUP. It is one of the reminders of the many privileges of being at Oxford. Thoughtful, erudite, and articulate delegates generously give their time to consider ideas, to defend the publication of arguments with which they disagree, and to generate enthusiasm among the delegates for the publications under consideration. It is Oxford and OUP at its best, seeking out the most creative ideas and finding ways to spread them beyond the University.

 

The core mission of the University, as stated in our Strategic Plan, is: The advancement of learning by teaching and research and its dissemination by every means. OUP is critical to that mission.

 

The devolved nature of the University is well known but we are One Oxford and as One Oxford we are the leading University in the world. Through its global presence OUP, a department of the University, helps to frame popular perceptions of Oxford around the world. OUP publishes in more than 100 languages, sells products in more than 200 countries, and supports millions of students of all ages, abilities, and cultures.

In an age in which the value of expertise is questioned, it is more important than ever that OUP advances the University’s commitment to excellence in research and teaching. OUP is committed to ensuring that its products can be trusted to deliver high-quality content and to have a positive impact on those who use them. Not content with simply asserting its impact, through Oxford Impact OUP is evaluating the impact of our educational products and services on teaching and learning. This year, OUP conducted 20 impact studies involving 1,200 participants in 30 countries. An impact case study in a primary school in Bahrain revealed that lessons flipped from 80 per cent teacher talk and 20 per cent student interaction, to 20 per cent teacher talk and 80 per cent student interaction—and received a grade of ‘outstanding’ for the student-centric approach in a school inspection.

 

Another University priority is ensuring fair access to an Oxford education. OUP funds the Clarendon scholarships which have enabled 2,000 scholars to date to study at Oxford. OUP offers free English language teaching material via Facebook’s Free Basics platform in East Africa, which reaches more than 40 million users. OUP also works with governments to help increase access to education. In Panama this year, OUP donated Discover Science resources to a government programme designed to expand educational opportunities and to support teaching in English, while in Kenya OUP is helping to shape the curriculum by sharing original Kiswahili research with the government.

 

Like all great institutions, Oxford University and OUP must evolve in order to maintain our global position at the forefront of innovation in research and teaching. Digital transformation is at the heart of OUP’s change efforts as it seeks to meet customer needs through innovation, exploring new technologies, and developing exciting new partnerships. OUP has partnerships with pioneering tech companies to enhance its content using virtual and augmented reality. OUP data is used by Big Tech companies such as Google, Apple, and Facebook. OUP makes creative use of digital tools to help reach more people by, for example, using Facebook Live to host sessions for teachers on key educational issues, which received almost 30,000 views this year.

 

As the pages that follow demonstrate, OUP, like the rest of the University, is moving ahead on all fronts.

 

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation and that of all my fellow delegates to Sir John Vickers who is stepping down as Chair of the Finance Committee. John was Economics Delegate from October 2006 to September 2016 and then a delegate ex officio from October 2016 to September 2018. He chaired the Finance Committee with wisdom, commitment, and sangfroid from October 2008 to September 2018. We are all in his debt.