Dean's Message

Dear Alumni and Friends of Oxford:

Freshmen and sophomores are different from juniors and seniors. Those of us who have taught at all levels in the undergraduate curriculum know this from experience. Freshmen and sophomores are most interested in “the big questions. They are good intellectual risk takers. They are open to learning in ways that upperclassmen are less interested in and more inclined to engage faculty and their classmates in challenging ways.

Developmental psychologists explain this as an expected result of the transition from adolescence to adulthood, beginning when students leave home for college. The curriculum for the first two years supports exploration and the development of broad understandings and fundamental intellectual skills. At the end of the sophomore year students take adult-like responsibility for their futures when they declare a major, and from that point onward they are more narrowly focused as they prepare for a specific career.

All of Oxford’s students are in this developmental transition phase—the point at which a liberal education has its greatest impact and its most transformative effect. This is why Oxford is about great teaching; it is key to delivering the essence of a liberal arts education.

Oxford supports effective teaching in numerous ways. Most of the improvements to Oxford’s buildings and grounds over the past several years have been made to enhance the teaching and learning environment. We are very excited about the latest in that line: the new Oxford science building, which is optimally designed for the collaborative learning style of freshmen and sophomores.

Please join me in celebrating our new science building and all the ways that Oxford offers an extraordinary experience in teaching and learning. And thank you for your support of Oxford College.

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