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New vice-chancellor of Oxford University aims to improve education and teaching

The new vice-chancellor of The University of Oxford outlined education and teaching as one of the four key areas for her tenure. 

This will focus on the transformative power of education, the need to think creatively about making teaching posts tenable, and to innovate new ways of disseminating knowledge.

Professor Irene Tracey CBE, FMedSci. has set out her vision for Oxford’s future as she was formally admitted as the university’s 273rd vice-chancellor.

The vice-chancellor is Oxford University’s senior officer, responsible for the strategic direction and leadership.

Chancellor of the university, Lord Patten of Barnes, welcomed Professor Tracey at her admission ceremony and told the audience in Sheldonian Theatre about her career.

The new vice-chancellor spoke of her local roots and her ‘inspirational’ school education. 

Professor Tracey said: “I will be an advocate for Oxford like no other, because I know – in detail – what great things we offer and have yet to offer this city, this country and the world, whether that’s via knowledge generation, through discovery research, or knowledge transfer, through our world-class teaching.”

The professor spoke about her background as a world-leading neuroscientist, before telling the audience about her plans to focus on education and teaching.

Irene Tracey Cyrus Mower, © University of Oxford
Professor Irene TraceyImage by Cyrus Mower © University of Oxford

She said: “Our goal is to teach students from any background so that they have knowledge in their chosen subject area, but just as importantly lifelong skills in how to learn, how to engage constructively with differing opinions, how to be unyielding in their search for truth, how to navigate a world of ‘fake news’ and disinformation, and how to remain curious. 

“Their goal is to find their passion and hopefully shape a sustainable, more equal and truly inclusive society.’

Professor Tracey also spoke about the other three key areas for her tenure: discovery and translational research; local global engagement; and people.

She is the second woman to hold the post of vice-chancellor for the University of Oxford, after her immediate predecessor Dame Louise Richardson.

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