Last Tuesday (22nd January) saw Oxford SU welcome a lively and engaged panel to Mansfield College as part of the Oxford SU Access Conference. This panel included the Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students, Chris Millward, as well as the Director of Undergraduate Access at Oxford, Samina Khan and NUS’ Black Students’ Officer Ilyas Nagdee. These panelists were joined by Oxford Students, representing CRAE and LMH’s Foundation Year.
Following a short overview of the HE environment by Chris Millward, the panelists were asked a number of questions by Lucas, Oxford SU’s VP Access and Academic Affairs officer. Students were quick to highlight their own experiences of Oxford’s difficulties with access, and reflected on ways to improve this. The benefits of the LMH Foundation Year were highlighted, along with the importance of a race targets, and the importance of centralizing efforts across the University. Samina Khan was keen to note that there were distinct benefits of the decentralized system, such as allowing more scope for innovation.
Particularly striking was Chris’ message that Universities must think about what they want to look like in 2025, pushing them to be more ambitious and think long term. The panelists faced a number of questions from the audience, including questions from students about the OfS role in graduate access and questions from College Access Officers about the lack of available data for students on free school meals.
If you’re a student and interested in widening participation and access, you can see some of the ways to get involved here: https://www.oxfordsu.org/education/access/