The Vice-Chancellor's Colloquium

The Vice-Chancellor’s Colloquium

The Vice-Chancellor's Colloquium has now closed for registrations for Hilary term 2024.

Hilary 2024 term theme: Climate change

The Vice-Chancellor's Colloquium – as described in her 2023 Oration – is a unique, interdisciplinary, extra-curricular offering for all degree and award-bearing undergraduates at the University of Oxford.

With the need for broad, creative thinking to respond to the challenges of our time, students have an exciting opportunity to work outside of their subject of study to gain additional knowledge and skills.

This new programme brings together leading Oxford academics and interdisciplinary student teams to respond to big questions about the causes, impacts and solutions to the global climate crisis through lectures, group discussions and interdisciplinary projects.

Key areas of skills development

  1. Numeracy and data analysis: In our age of information, how can we make sense of the world and effectively use the insights of data analysis to guide policy, our own understanding, and our ability to engage in critical reflection?  
  2. Critical thinking, curiosity and imagination: Thinking deeply about social and cultural systems, how do we ask questions about the harms and benefits of individual and collective actions, and develop the capacity to offer solutions?  
  3. Communicating to different audiences: When faced with complex and potentially divisive issues, how can we communicate effectively to key stakeholders from the classroom to the boardroom?  

What is included?

  • Keynote lectures and talks: The cornerstone of the Colloquium will be the delivery of keynote lectures by senior Oxford academics from across the academic divisions. Each session will bring together two professors from different disciplines to respond to a big question related to the annual theme and explore how their academic disciplines and research methodologies provide insights.  
  • Skill-building opportunities: Students will be provided with supplementary digital content and guidelines for small group discussions and activities. This content will weave together the concepts from the keynotes to expand knowledge and skills along the theme
  • Interdisciplinary group discussions/activities: A number of Oxford Colleges will host small group discussions and activities in the alternating weeks from the keynotes. These sessions will be guided by a cohort of doctoral teaching assistants who have been trained by the organisers and respond to the lectures and skill-building content.  
  • Interdisciplinary projects: Participants will be encouraged to create small interdisciplinary groups to compete for prizes in three tracks: pitch, poster and creative work. These projects will synthesise the key themes of the lectures and skill-building content, harnessing interdisciplinary perspectives to result in new insights for local and global engagement.   
  • Panel and celebration: A final event intended as a celebratory conclusion to the Colloquium will bring together the keynotes into a dynamic panel. There will be prizes for the interdisciplinary student teams and, where possible, the event will be opened to the wider Oxford community and held in partnership with relevant entities.  
  • Summer internships: A summer internship programme will be offered through which selected participants will have the opportunity to continue the work outlined in their pitches/posters, especially in terms of supporting the University’s goals for local and global engagement.