University news

A round-up of news from Oxford Brookes in 2018.

Campuses continue to be transformed

Those visiting Oxford Brookes’ campuses in recent years will have no doubt been impressed by the new buildings and spaces. The improvements to the University’s estate will continue over the coming years, and in August 2018 planning permission was granted for a new building on the Headington Hill site.

The new development will see the creation of a ‘making hub’ for the University’s Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment. The £25m build will provide purpose-built space for a variety of practical teaching, research and knowledge exchange activities. It will bring together engineering, computing and a number of disciplines from the creative industries.

This is just the latest phase in the University’s plan through which Oxford Brookes is investing £220m in the estate over ten years. Work on the new building is anticipated to start in autumn 2018 with completion expected in summer 2020. In the last academic year, the University has opened the award-winning redeveloped Clerici and Sinclair buildings, as well as the Sir Kenneth Wheare Hall.

Compare the redeveloped Clerici building with photos from the last 50 years

Oxford Brookes Rowing has another oar-some year

The continuing dominance of Oxford Brookes Rowing was perfectly demonstrated at the Henley Regatta in July when, in unprecedented circumstances, the men’s first eight crew found themselves competing in the Sunday final alongside the Brookes second men’s eight.

The first 8 won and equalled the course record in front of an estimated 50,000 spectators, who also witnessed Oxford Brookes Rowing winning the Ladies’ Challenge Plate for the second year.

These successes came after victory for the women’s squad at the Henley Women’s Regatta in June. After racing close rivals Newcastle University in the finals of the Academic Eights event, the Brookes women’s eights crew were crowned champions for the first time in the club’s history.

“On both the men’s and women’s sides the squads have stepped on tremendously and we look forward to building on this success.”

Richard Spratley, Director of Rowing at Oxford Brookes

Brookes reunites midwives and mothers as part of NHS70 celebrations

Oxford Brookes-educated midwives were reunited with the babies they delivered and their parents at a special event in July 2018. In the month that the NHS marked its 70th anniversary, the celebratory tea was held to recognise the impact of midwives on the lives of people in Oxford and beyond.

Staff and students from across Oxford Brookes took part in a range of NHS celebrations in July. On the actual birthday of the NHS (5 July), the University celebrated with tea and cake at three NHS Big 7Tea events across campuses.

The day before, Senior Lecturer Dr Lisa Ayers represented Oxford Brookes and healthcare scientists at an event held at 10 Downing Street. The celebrations also saw the Oxford Brookes Nursing & Midwifery Choir and the Radcliffe Camerata performing at a special concert at All Saints’ Church in Oxford.

Oxford Brookes has many connections with the NHS, through educating future healthcare professionals and undertaking pioneering research in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences and beyond.

Find out more about the Oxford School of Nursing and Midwifery

Honorary graduates for 2018

This year’s inspirational honorary graduates of Oxford Brookes are:

  • Akala, hip-hop artist, writer and social entrepreneur – read our cover story
  • Toby Jones, actor
  • Sarah Willingham ’96, entrepreneur, former Dragon’s Den panellist and alumna
  • Agnes Grunwald-Spier ’66 MBE, author, historian and alumna
  • Professor Bee Wee, National Clinical Director for End of Life Care at NHS England
  • Marcus Colchester, Senior Policy Advisor at the Forest Peoples Programme
  • Patricia Feeney, humanitarian
  • Debbie Dance OBE, Director of Oxford Preservation Trust and alumna
  • Dr Alison Cronin MBE, Director of Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre

Erratum – in the print edition of Observe the details for Agnes Grunwald-Spier and Professor Bee Wee were incorrect or missing. Many apologies to both. There errors have been corrected above.

Oxford Brookes signs Armed Forces Covenant in support of reservists

Ahead of Reserves Day (27 June 2018), Oxford Brookes signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant to support reservist staff and the armed forces community. By signing up, the University recognises the value of serving personnel, veterans and military families in contributing to the University, wider community and country.

The covenant is a national initiative involving government, businesses, local authorities, charities and the public. Vice-Chancellor Professor Alistair Fitt was joined by reservist staff and members of the armed forces, including alumnus Brigadier Hugh J Robertson, at the signing of the covenant.

It has a simple intention of ensuring that those who serve in the armed forces – whether regular or reserve, those who have served in the past, and their families – should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens.

New partnership launched with Wiltshire College

An exciting new collaboration between Oxford Brookes and Wiltshire College kicked off in September 2018. The college’s courses in Business and Management, Motorsport Engineering, Early Years and Computing are now validated by Oxford Brookes.

The partnership means those wishing to pursue these routes of study can do so in Wiltshire, but still gain an Oxford Brookes qualification. The University is unique in its development of Associate College Partnerships and now works with seven further education colleges. Studying an Oxford Brookes course at a partnership college enables people to study locally and alongside their career and family commitments.

Information about courses at Wiltshire College, which has now been granted University Centre status, can be found at

Professor receives Royal Geographical Society award in recognition for “extraordinary achievement”

Professor Helen Walkington was presented with a Royal Geographical Society award in June 2018 for “outstanding contributions to geography”. The Taylor and Francis Award was given to Helen in recognition of her sustained contributions to teaching and learning in higher education.

“It’s a tremendous honour to receive this prestigious award from the Royal Geographical Society and a great opportunity to acknowledge the support of colleagues across Oxford Brookes and collaborators at other institutions in the UK and internationally.”

Professor Helen Walkington

A #helloBrookes welcome

Alongside our Clearing activity over the summer, the award-winning #helloBrookes social media campaign took place again on A-level results day. The campaign welcomed incoming students by sending them personalised video messages. 452 videos were created over three days – an increase on the 287 videos created last year.

You can watch some of this year’s videos on the Oxford Brookes Facebook account.