Friday, January 22, 2010

Language Corner

University of Oxford


University of Oxford
oxford (informally Oxford University, or simply Oxford), located in the English city of Oxford, is the oldest surviving university in the English-speaking world and is regarded as one of the world's leading academic institutions. Although the exact date of foundation remains unclear, there is evidence of teaching there as far back as the 11th century.The University grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.In post-nominals the University of Oxford is typically abbreviated as Oxon. (from the Latin Oxoniensis), although Oxf is sometimes used in official publications.
After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge, where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two "ancient universities" have many common features and are often jointly referred to as Oxbridge. In addition to cultural and practical associations as a historic part of British society, the two universities have a long history of rivalry with each other.
Most undergraduate teaching at Oxford is organised around weekly essay-based tutorials at self-governing colleges and halls, supported by lectures and laboratory classes organised by University faculties and departments. League tables consistently list Oxford as one of the UK's best universities, and Oxford consistently ranks in the world's top 10. The University is a member of the Russell Group of research-led British universities, the Coimbra Group, the League of European Research Universities, International Alliance of Research Universities and is also a core member of the Europaeum. For more than a century, it has served as the home of the Rhodes Scholarship, which brings students from a number of countries to study at Oxford as postgraduates.
History
The coat of arms of the University of Oxford.
The University of Oxford does not have a clear date of foundation. Teaching at Oxford existed in some form in 1096.
The expulsion of foreigners from the University of Paris in 1167 caused many English scholars to return from France and settle in Oxford. The historian Gerald of Wales lectured to the scholars in 1188, and the first known foreign scholar, Emo of Friesland, arrived in 1190. The head of the University was named a chancellor from 1201, and the masters were recognised as a universitas or corporation in 1231. The students associated together, on the basis of geographical origins, into two “nations”, representing the North (including the Scots) and the South (including the Irish and the Welsh). In later centuries, geographical origins continued to influence many students' affiliations when membership of a college or hall became customary in Oxford. Members of many religious orders, including Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, and Augustinians, settled in Oxford in the mid-13th century, gained influence, and maintained houses for students. At about the same time, private benefactors established colleges to serve as self-contained scholarly communities. Among the earliest were William of Durham, who in 1249 endowed University College, and John I de Balliol, father of the future King of Scots: Balliol College bears his name. Another founder, Walter de Merton, a chancellor of England and afterwards Bishop of Rochester, devised a series of regulations for college life; Merton College thereby became the model for such establishments at Oxford as well as at the University of Cambridge. Thereafter, an increasing number of students forsook living in halls and religious houses in favour of living at colleges.
The new learning of the Renaissance greatly influenced Oxford from the late 15th century onward. Among University scholars of the period were William Grocyn, who contributed to the revival of the Greek language, and John Colet, the noted biblical scholar. With the Reformation and the breaking of ties with the Roman Catholic Church, the method of teaching at the university was transformed from the medieval Scholastic method to Renaissance education, although institutions associated with the university suffered loss of land and revenues. In 1636, Chancellor William Laud, archbishop of Canterbury, codified the university statutes; these to a large extent remained the university's governing regulations until the mid-19th century. Laud was also responsible for the granting of a charter securing privileges for the university press, and he made significant contributions to the Bodleian Library, the main library of the university.