One of the pleasures of working for Oxford University is the access it gives those that work for it to intellectual stimulation. I've not been a student for some years, but I can still get a boost of learning whenever the mood takes me. There are always talks and lectures going on, and since the notices come through my office to display, I can take my pick.
Yesterday I found myself in the English faculty listening to a distinguished American lecturer discuss the theme of property in Richard II. i have to admit I felt a little out of place, amongst the various Oxford students, all armed with notepads and looks of serious intent, but once that had worn off, I settled back into the practise of listening and learning. Besides - if the conversations I overheard beforehand were anything to go by, Oxford students definitely don't spend all their time pontificating on their various subjects. there was a particularly intense conversation going on behind me about the timeline of origin of the words 'Aubergine' and 'Eggplant'.
Another thing I love about this job is the access it gives me to the tutors. Once a term there is an MCR/SCR symposium, where a graduate and a fellow of the college talk about their work and interests. Now, this can be hit and miss. An interesting subject does not necessarily translate into an interesting talk, should the minutiae become all encompassing. This is rare, however, and the evenings are generally eye opening.
Blogging has also started to make an appearance, and Somerville has recently seen two new enthusiastic bloggers creep out of the woodwork. The new Principal - Dr Alice Prochaska - has started commenting on the new role she has been thrust in to, with all its various duties, whilst History tutor, Dr Natalia Nowakowska, has created a blog that not only looks at her research work, but which also talks about Oxford life from the view of an academic.
I've created a little Oxford haven on the left side of my blog, where I will be putting the various blogs and places of interest that I come across. At this time of great upheaval in the higher education sector, I think it's important to show people every aspect of the world they may want to enter. It's not all about beautiful architecture and overwhelming work. There's a very human aspect too.