Updated again Saturday
Bill Bowder has a report in today’s Church Times Oxford Halls report queries Wycliffe’s liberal principles.
…Wycliffe students are not getting “an Oxford experience in its essentials”, it says. Some young people come from Christian families who are looking for an Oxford education in a Christian context. But they are mixing mainly with older ordinands, and the educational environment is not suitable for there “full intellectual development”.
Although some of those at Wycliffe Hall told the panel that the Evangelical tradition was not exclusive, and that a range of opinions exists there, the report suggests that Wycliffe Hall needs to “make a determined effort to clarify these matters to the rest of the University if it is to achieve manifest harmony with the University’s principles of education”.
In its list of 34 recommendations, the review says that the University should have greater legal control over the Halls. The University’s “licence”, under which the Halls operate, should not be seen as givinhttp://thinkinganglicans.org.uk/mt/app?__mode=view&_type=entry&id=2561&blog_id=6
Wycliffe Hall: Oxford report comments | Entries | Thinking Anglicans | Movable Type Publishing Platformg them the right to move outside “the values to which the University holds, namely the values of liberal education conducted in a spirit of free and critical enquiry and debate”. If any Hall departs from such values, its licence should be “re-examined”.
The Halls should not be allowed to override the University’s policies on equal opportunities, harassment, and the protection of freedom of opinion and speech, the report says.
“The review panel believes that there should be a considerably greater say in the running of their institutions for the stipendiary academic staff, as in other parts of the collegiate University. In addition, it is not confident that all the Halls have the appropriate structures for the consideration of matters of academic discipline or the resolution of complaints.”
At present, many of those training for Christian ministry in the Halls do not receive Oxford qualifications, but the report recommends that Halls should award only Oxford qualifications, in order to avoid damaging the University’s reputation. It also suggests that some of the current students are not not equipped academically to take such qualifications. At Wycliffe, there has been a proposal that part of a Bachelor of Ministry (BM) degree would be taught at St Paul’s Theological Centre at Holy Trinity, Brompton.
The Principal of St Stephen’s House, Canon Dr Robin Ward, said on Tuesday that he was concerned how the ordination training and the requirements of Oxford University to give only Oxford qualifications would fit together, given that the average age of Anglican ordinands was 41, and therefore they were unlikely to do more than a two-year course. Even an Oxford certificate in theology could be too demanding for some, he said…
Update Friday afternoon
The University Press Office informs me that the full report will be published online in the Oxford University Gazette but no earlier than 20 September.
Update Saturday morning
The Guardian also has a report on this by Stephen Bates Oxford gives warning to theological college.