Bridget Taylor: University of Oxford

Interview with Bridget Taylor, University of Oxford

Focus of project – Graduate Training Opportunities Information

Most satisfying aspect of the project?

The key output and the key objective was to bring together all of the graduate training information right across the University in one place, online for the first time.  One of the by-products was to provide a forum for academics from right across the University, from the four academic divisions to discuss graduate training issues in a way that hadn’t really been done before so that was a sort of unanticipated bonus of this project.

What has been the biggest benefit of running the project for your institution?

Bringing together all of the graduate training information in one place because there’s a great deal of training provided by the academic departments, the academic divisions and lots of other parts of the University like Careers, the Language Centre, the IT Learning Programme, and to make it accessible for students and their supervisors and also for prospective students.  And that is a really key objective of the UK Research Councils who fund graduate students, particularly through the doctoral training centres and they’re very keen that students are given the best possible opportunities to take training particularly across disciplines.  So this helps students find training and, in particular, facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration.

What’s been the biggest challenge with the project?

Well, it’s been quite challenging actually to… well there’s been a lot of buy-in in principle, it’s been quite challenging to actually get the information but that has worked well.  I think really the biggest challenge will be to embed and sustain it beyond the end of the Project. 

What would you like to see happening in your institution post March 2013?

We’re making proposals about policy and processes which we hope will be adopted by the institution and that will sustain the project… sustain the initiative beyond the end of the project.  We’re kind of waiting for the University to have a kind of comprehensive course information system which it doesn’t have at the moment and we need to try and make this kind of bridge the gap until that’s in place. 

What’s been the most interesting innovation in the project?

Well I think… I’m not from a technical background, but I think there have been some interesting technical innovations which my colleagues, who know more about it, could talk about it.  There’s something called Oxford Open Data which is a quite innovative way of presenting information internally and externally. 

But I think on the non-technical side it’s really been the collaboration across different parts of the University in a very devolved organisation .