Oxford University could soon be in serious conflict with the
colleges over its future. University authorities are planning
radical changes to ensure that Oxford’s status as a
world-class institution is secure. Part of the plan is to make the University run more like an
efficient business. Several policies suggest that Oxford is keen
to keep up with its rivals, particularly the leading American
universities, by centralising the administration system. In
practical terms, authority will move away from colleges to the
central University offices. The change is likely to cause friction between the University
and the colleges, which all have a proud tradition of
independence and are expected to fight attempts at change. Pro-Vice-Chancellor Bill Macmillan’s plans for the next
16 years include a policy to expand the number of graduates by
1.9% each year. Admitting more graduates to the university is
often a lucrative means of fund raising, especially if the
University’s reputation continues to secure the attention of
overseas students. It remains to be seen if the it will consult all its students
before adopting such a radical approach, and, if the changes are
controversial, what action the student body will take. The University and various colleges declined to comment.ARCHIVE: 2nd week TT 2004