The next 25 years

Kellogg is probably Oxford’s most diverse college by almost any measure – nationality, age, profession, and certainly the spread of full-time and part-time students. To have achieved all this in just 25 years is remarkable – to do so within the University of Oxford is little short of revolutionary.

Along with diversity is academic excellence. Many of the University’s Centres for Doctoral Training are led by Kellogg Fellows, making the College a tremendous hub for interdisciplinary research. The fact that we deliver an outstanding Oxford experience for our students is attested by the annual student barometer survey, which regularly reports high levels of student satisfaction across all aspects of College life.

The founding of Kellogg College in 1990 and its subsequent success and growth has proven to be a hugely positive historical event. Many thousands of students have graduated through the College, most of whom would not have had the opportunity to study at Oxford had it not been for the University’s decision that brought Kellogg into being, namely that postgraduate students would be permitted to study for certain degrees on a part-time basis. This meant that to go to Oxford no longer meant having to give up one’s job and career to become a residential student full-time in Oxford. Instead, students could continue with their careers, their caring responsibilities, or with whatever other commitments might rule out moving to Oxford on a residential basis.

But at Oxford, you cannot be a degree student unless a college accepts you. And which of the colleges would accept and support part-time students, who might be living and working in Mexico, Malawi or Malaysia? The answer for most part-time students since 1990 has been Kellogg.

The success of these part-time degrees, such as Software Engineering, Evidence-Based Health Care, or Sustainable Urban Development, has led to the growth of Kellogg in terms of student numbers. The 2014-15 student body will grow during the course of the academic year as students are permitted to join modules on some of these programmes at a time that suits them, rather than having to wait until October each year. But at the time of writing, the number is 867. St Catherine’s College probably has a few more than this, but of Oxford’s 38 colleges, it certainly makes us the second largest in terms of students. And of course by far the largest graduate college, with more than twice the number of graduates than most other Oxford colleges.

This means that part-time degree study is now firmly embedded and accepted at the University of Oxford. Most of the other colleges now admit part-time students, with some taking increasing numbers. This greatly enriches the University’s student body. The University can now say genuinely that it seeks to recruit the best students from across the world – no longer limiting our intake to those able and willing to move to Oxford to become full-time residential students. We now fish in a bigger pool.

But while Kellogg’s positive impact on the University in promoting part-time study has been impressive, the College has also always admitted and supported full-time students. This is an important point of principle for us, as we believe that full-time and part-time students should be treated equally and supported fully, and where possible and appropriate should be integrated as a student body within the University and at colleges.

These achievements provide the best possible basis on which to build, to ensure that we continue to provide an outstanding Oxford experience to all our students. One way in which we can ensure that the next 25 years prove even more successful than our first 25 is if we can integrate our alumni more effectively with the current student body, so our current and former students can learn from each other within the global Kellogg community. We will make this a major priority for the future, along with continuing to improve the support for our existing students, including through improved accommodation, scholarship provision and the whole range of cultural, academic, sporting and social activities that make Oxford so special and Kellogg particularly so.

Professor Jonathan Michie