Foreword by the Vice-Chancellor

Photograph credit: OUImages/John Cairns

This Annual Report illustrates several of the ways OUP continues to transform lives through education even in these uncertain times.

 Image of Louise Signiture

Louise Richardson,
Vice-Chancellor,
University of Oxford

The Delegates of Oxford University Press meet fortnightly during term in the wood-panelled room named for them in the Clarendon Building in Oxford. By tradition, Delegates wear academic robes to these meetings. In recent weeks, however, the meetings have taken place by Zoom, with no robes and no wood panelling, just brief glimpses into private spaces. What has not changed is the quality of the debate about ideas, and the commitment to the mission of the Press and the University, to push at the frontiers of knowledge and to disseminate that knowledge for societal benefit.

 

With schools closed across the globe and universities sending students home, the education and research markets have been transformed by the impact of coronavirus. The University, through the work of its academics, is at the forefront of the global battle against the virus by developing a vaccine, testing therapeutics, designing ventilators and tracing apps, and advising governments. Internally we have transformed the way we operate by moving all teaching and assessment online for Trinity term and adapting the way we work to the new socially distanced environment we expect in Michaelmas term.

Like other organizations, OUP has been seriously affected by the impact of this coronavirus and has taken steps to support both its employees and its communities. These steps include providing free access to resources on the virus to researchers and medical professionals, offering free access to online training programmes on remote instruction to support University staff, as well as providing extensive home learning guidance and support for teachers, parents, and pupils.

 

Digital transformation has been a central tenet of OUP’s strategy for many years as we seek to make the most of opportunities provided by technological change to meet changing customer needs, increase accessibility to our products and services, and improve educational and research outcomes. OUP’s online services continue to support many millions of people all over the world. In China, for example, OUP recently signed a deal with Ximalaya, the leading audio content sharing platform, to digitally license the Oxford Reading Tree. Meanwhile, the Press continues its work with major technology partners, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft, providing several language datasets.

One of the University’s priorities is to ensure that we attract the most talented academically motivated students whatever their backgrounds. OUP has played a significant role in helping us to do so. The Press funds the Clarendon Scholarships which offer financial support to the brightest graduate students in any field. Since the scholarships were created in 2001, the Press has supported more than 2,000 students. This year’s recipients of the scholarships come from 38 countries. At the undergraduate level, the Press supported the UNIQ summer school by providing books to the 1,350 pupils from deprived backgrounds who come to Oxford each summer.

 

OUP’s generosity is not limited to Oxford. In 2019, the Press contributed to Book Aid’s Support Refugees project to help those displaced or living in fragile states. The donation helped to ship more than 5,000 new books to refugee camps across Greece to support small libraries and language lessons as refugees begin to rebuild their lives.

 

This Annual Report illustrates several of the ways OUP continues to transform lives through education even in these uncertain times.