Highlights 2014

Director Professor Jonathan Michie looks back over the year 2014

2014 saw many exciting developments here at the Department - particularly in the area of student achievement. Alumna Sara Austin was instrumental in getting human rights legislation passed at UN level; we had a record number of Commonwealth Scholars join our International Human Rights Law Master's programme; and many students won prizes, published books and benefitted from a growing number of scholarships and funding opportunities.

On the staff front, we were pleased to celebrate Tom Buchanan being awarded his Professorship in 2014, and other of our academic staff who won accolades and recognition for their teaching and research. Please join me in an illustrated review of the Department's work and its people over the past twelve months with our 'Highlights of 2014 slideshow'.

This year's slideshow is offered in different formats: the tabs below offer you the viewing experience that's appropriate for the device you're using, be that a computer, a tablet or a mobile phone. There are links to full information on each of the stories further down the page.

Read more about 2014's Highlights

Links to further information on all the highlights in this year's slideshow (see above) are below. 

Student achievement

Alumna is champion of childrens' rights
The rights of children worldwide gained traction as a result of efforts by Sara Austin, alumna of our Master's in International Human Rights Law. Sara was instrumental in creating new United Nations legislation, ratified on 14 January 2014, which gives children the power to appeal directly to the UN when their rights are violated.

Training for Myanmar university officials
In March the Department's Leadership and Public Policy (LaPP) programmes team ran an intensive leadership programme for Pro-Rectors, Department Heads and the Chief Librarian from the University of Yangon (in Myanmar) under the auspices of the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Trust.

Joyce Leech Prize Awarded
Foundation Certificate in English Literature students Susan Knights and Marie Harrison have been awarded the inaugural Joyce Leech Prize.

'Wake-up Call'
English Literature student Sandra Young is featured in Good Housekeeping Magazine as part of a feature called 'The Wake-up Call that Changed Everything.'

Students' books and publishing successess

Michaelmas Creative Writing alumni update
Diploma and Master's students in Creative Writing scored many successes over the spring and summer months. Read about novels published, competitions won and book deals signed.

Alice Jolly wins 2014 V.S.Pritchett Prize
Alice Jolly, a tutor on our Master's in Creative Writing, has won the £1,000 Royal Society of Literature V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize 2014 with her short story 'Ray the Rottweiler'.

Trinity Creative Writing Alumni Successes
Diploma and Master's in Creative Writing students chalked up a number of prizes and publications through the early months of the year.

Author James Benmore speaks at two 'Artful Dodger' literary events in July
Join Creative Writing Master's alumnus James Benmore, author of the highly acclaimed novel 'Dodger' for two events in July, as part of the launch of his new book 'Dodger of the Dials'.

News from the Poets' Workshop 2014
A weekly class, 'The Poets' Workshop' run by tutor Olivia Byard, had a bumper crop of successes to report in 2014.

Oxford Book Launch: 'Land Where I Flee', by Prajwal Parajuly
Join us in celebrating MSt in Creative Writing alumnus Prajwal Parajuly at the Oxford launch of his newest book, 'Land Where I Flee'.

Poetry prize for alumna Maya Popa
The prestigious Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize 2014 was won by Maya Popa, alumna of our Master's in Creative Writing, for her poem 'Hummingbird'.

Scholarships and funding for students

Commonwealth Scholarships bring talented Human Rights Law Master's students from Southeast Asia and Africa
Since 2012, we've seen an increasing number of students from developing Commonwealth countries in South East Asia and Africa.

Scholarships and funding awarded to students studying Urban Sustainability
Scholarships and funding have been awarded to three outstanding candidates to undertake the Department's Master's in Sustainable Urban Development: Ms Irina Mott, Ms Joanne Hall and Ms Divindy Grant.

The Critchley Scholarship
Full UK/EU fees paid for an applicant for the 2015 the MSc in English Local History

Funding award to address critical skills gap in the environmental sciences
The Department has once again been awarded funding by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to deliver and build upon training in the environmental sciences and management, following the success of last year's NERC-funded workshops.


Rare runic stone discovery
A newly uncovered runic stone-carving was brought to light by Jane Harrison (Senior Associate Tutor working in our Archaeology programmes) working as part of a project team for the intriguing 'Languages, Myths and Finds' programme.

University's swift project takes wing
Stand in Wellington Square on a summer's evening and you can see and hear packs of swifts (Apus apus) screaming and flying low.

Tamiflu under scrutiny
Professor Carl Heneghan was part of a team of researchers investigating the effectiveness of Tamiflu to curb influenza outbreaks. The drugs were found to be ineffective for preventing pandemics, and may cause more harm in some patients than good.

Design for War and Peace
The 2014 Annual Design History Society Conference was hosted at Rewley House in September 2014

New online courses

Courses and workshops in the Historic Environment
In 2014-15 the Department is launching a new programme of courses and workshops in the Historic Environment to replace the programme of Professional Training in the Historic Environment.

New part-time DPhil in Sustainable Urban Development
The University of Oxford has launched a new part-time DPhil (PhD) in Sustainable Urban Development, aimed at leaders and decision-makers worldwide tackling the multi-disciplinary challenges of urbanism and sustainable development.

Awards and distinctions

Our newest Professor: Tom Buchanan
The title of 'Professor of Modern British and European History' has been awarded to Tom Buchanan, our Director of Studies in History and Politics, and Co-Director of our Foundation Certificate in History.

British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship awarded to Dr David Griffiths
Dr David Griffiths, Director of Studies in Archaeology, has been awarded a Senior Research Fellowship by the British Academy in conjunction with the Leverhulme Trust.

Gero Thomas Medal recipient
Dr Bob Lambourne, Director of Studies for Physical Sciences, has been awarded the 2014 Gero Thomas Medal by the European Physical Society (EPS), in recognition of his contributions to physics education within the Society.

Department tutor honoured with prestigious industry award
Dr Keith Kirby has been awarded the prestigious Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) Medal 2014 for his 'outstanding, lifelong contribution to the advancement of ecology, forestry and woodland management.'

OUSU Teaching Awards
History received a thumbs-up from students last term, as Jonathan Healey and Janet Dickenson both won Oxford University Student Union Teaching Awards.

OxTALENT: in support of professional development
Dr Sharon Mickan, Director of Studies for our MSc in Evidence-Based Healthcare, and her team have won an OxTALENT award in the category 'Using WebLearn to Support Continuing Professional Development'.

Oxford Teaching Award to develop mapping tool
The Department's 2014 Oxford Teaching Award was awarded to Dr Martin Ruhs, University Lecturer in Political Economy. Dr Ruhs used the award of £5,000 to work with the Department's Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning (TALL) team to develop a new online tool that allows students to use a map interface to share information they have attached to a geographical location, thus collectively creating a shared map resource for their course.

Oxford Teaching Award for Archaeology
The Department's Archaeology team, Dr David Griffiths and Dr Alison MacDonald, have won a teaching award of £5,000 which will be used to modify and re-launch the Undergraduate Certificate in Archaeology in October 2016.

Academics' books

Dr Sandie Byrne published Jane Austen's Possessions and Dispossessions and The Poetry of Ted Hughes: A Readers' Guide to Essential Criticism, both with Palgrave.

Read what Marianne Talbot says about her new book, Critical Reasoning, a Romp Through the Foothills of Logic.

Jonathan Healey's new book is The First Century of Welfare: Poverty and Poor Relief in Lancashire, 1620-1730, published by Boydell and Brewer.

Tutor Rikki Rooksby has published Songs and Solos - a practical guide for songwriters who wish to develop solo passages in their songs.

Open days in 2014

The Department held its third annual open day on 4th November, and welcomed hundreds to Rewley House (in addition a virtual audience, online) to enjoy a day of free lectures, walking tours and workshops. Several of the day's sessions are online for you to watch.

On 14th June the Department hosted Open Day East for the community of East Oxford, and held at The Union just off the Cowley Road. 

The Department

Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education has been teaching adult learners for over 135 years. This year we're offering over 1,000 courses and programmes, some of them as short as a single day, some of them full Oxford Master's and DPhils.

Our students are all ages, all races and they come from all over the world but they do have one thing in common: they are all passionate about learning. Wherever your interests take you in 2015, I hope you will consider making us part of your educational journey.

Professor Jonathan Michie
Director, Oxford University Department for Continuing Education