Oxford may not be what we consider “cutting edge” in terms of pedagogy (although, some would argue the tried and true methods are still most effective) but programs like the Harris Manchester Institute are innovative and create an environment of collegial collaboration. During my time at Oxford I was a visiting scholar in the Harris Manchester College Summer Research Institute. One of Oxford’s newest (which is ridiculous) colleges, Harris Manchester was re-founded in 1786. Here is the description of the Summer Research Institute gathered directly from their website:
We welcome Universities and Colleges from around the world to join the Summer Research Institute of Harris Manchester College, in the University of Oxford. The Institute meets for one week in the Summer of every year; usually the first week of July. We welcome academics from all over the world to come to Oxford to use our unique University libraries, stay in the College, have wonderful meals and meet new academics. The week is an oasis for academics to research, write, and think in the peaceful academic setting of the College and with the extraordinary facilities, archives, and libraries that Oxford can offer.
Harris Manchester College [Photo credit- Oxford University; HMI]
That description perfectly sums up the institute-especially the last sentence. In a piece for Bellarmine, I told our communication team that Oxford is “designed for maximum focus” and that “I enjoyed the opportunity to unplug and be contemplative.” We forget, at least I do, the gift of focused time. I have three kids four and under, I have a time-demanding day job and I also run a side consulting/training business. My time is valuable because I have so little, so do you. Do not underestimate the ability to pause and reflect. Do not underestimate the ability to contemplate and think deeply. You (we) don’t need to go to Oxford to find maximum focus we just need to unplug from the distractions around us and pause.
This is the HMI Summer 2018 participant group.