Page 11 - Luce 2015
P. 11

provide tuition in addition to the   anything that JCH could learn from St
                                              University’s own. This means that the   Catherines College/Oxford! Although,
                                              curriculum is more standardised at home,   now come to think of it, the tutors at St
                                              and that, contrastingly, it might have a   Catz were always meticulously prepared
                                              particular flavour or penchant in Oxford   for our tutorials and continuously pushed
                                              depending on the college and its tutors’   our critical thinking to new boundaries.
                                              focus. And, of course, age. The average   Some of the tutes I have had at JCH
                                              Oxford college is around 500 years-old;   (although most definitely a benefit as
                                              JCH’s otherwise-impressive 130 years is   they are extra to those at university) have
                                              somewhat dwarfed by that. But I don’t think  entailed little challenging discussion
                                              that being older is necessarily a good thing   and we haven’t engaged deeply in the
            Alex Eastwood (second from left) at the   in itself: there are many Oxford traditions   subject.
            Oxford Examinations School
                                              that go unquestioned, for instance that
            Leng:  The emphasis on being well   all exams must be sat in full ‘sub fusc’   Jenny:  JCH is great the way it is!
            rounded. All are encouraged to engage   (white tie and gown!). While this makes for
            with scholarly, athletic and cultural   excellent Instagram photos, I can attest to it  What could Oxford learn from JCH?
            pursuits.                         being very uncomfortable and impractical
                                              in the moment!                    Leng:  Give more, take less and you’ll
            Alex:  A commitment to academic                                     be rich.
            excellence stands out for me. Although   Shani:  As previously mentioned the meal
            the foundational impetus of the   structure differs to an extent, as does the   Alex:  Ideals of Community. Many of
            two institutions is almost opposite   tutor-student relationship. The latter may   the Oxford colleges are very large, as
            (ecclesiastical training of men contrasted   partly be due to the significant difference   capacity has increased significantly
            with liberal education of women), both   in the size of each college – St Catz hosted   per college over time to absorb the
            maintain a commitment to academic   approximately 500 students as compared   burgeoned University admission,
            rigour and achievement. Both institutions   to the 96 at JCH. However, I also had the   particularly at a graduate level.
            also have autonomy over their admissions  impression at St Catz that tutors were purely  Conversely, JCH – like many other
            process which very much determines the   selected on their academic prowess with   Melbourne colleges – has consciously
            makeup and culture of the place.  little regard to the mentoring and pastoral   decided to prioritise quality of place
                                              care skills they could bring to the table.  above space as its affiliated University
            Shani:  Both colleges provided the                                  has similarly increased (Melbourne is
            opportunity to participate in sports and   Jenny: Exams are held at the exam schools,  almost twice the size of Oxford!). As a
            both also host regular social events and   and every student is expected to wear ‘sub   result, that same immediacy and warmth
            formal meals, though those at JCH are   fusc’ which consists of an academic gown,   of community is more difficult to achieve
            far more enjoyable compared to those at   carrying a mortar board (but not wearing it   in Oxford. At the end of a day in Oxford,
            St Catz, largely due to them being more   on your head), and a smart white blouse,   I am conscious that I am returning to a
            intimate (particularly with the student-  skirt and ribbon for girls, and suit with white  ‘college’; at JCH, I always felt as though I
            tutor-guest interaction) and not revolving   bowtie for boys. If you don’t turn up in the   was coming ‘home’. I suspect that a field
            around a drinking culture. Communal   right clothes, you may not be permitted to   trip to Parkville – an immersion on the
            eating is a large part of college life at   sit the exam.           Crescent – would be of great benefit to
            JCH whereas at St Catz it can be, but                               the welfare and wellbeing of Oxford’s
            you have to pay extra for it. I believe that   What could JCH learn from Oxford?  own students.
            the situation at JCH is more beneficial
            to students, as although learning how to   Leng:  Being ‘world leading’ is as much   Shani:  That a holistic, warm environment
            cook for oneself is an incredibly valuable   about ethic, attitude and self-belief as it is   facilitates better studies and results in
            life skill, the social interaction that occurs   about having established logos.  happier students far more than one that
            at meal times, I believe, is integral to the                        is purely academically driven. The strong
            mental and emotional health of students.   Alex: Oxford and its colleges invest heavily  focus on fostering a diverse yet tight-knit
                                              in students. In complement to being a nexus  community has created a place that I am
            Jenny:  The Oxford and JCH experience   of knowledge that pulls some of the world’s  proud to call home – the same could not
            are formative experiences for the student.  most agile and inquiring minds, Oxford   be said for St Catz. After recently visiting
            Both provide space for students to learn,   aggressively sends out its students – on   friends who have just graduated from
            have fun and (sometimes) grow up.  field trips, conferences, and exchanges.   Oxford they reinforced this belief – none
                                              Perhaps this is an approach that JCH could   of them listed their collegiate experience
            Is there anything completely different?  further. I also think that few institutions   as the highlight of their degree.
                                              connect with their alumni base more   Furthermore, the majority of them
            Leng:  JCH is in Melbourne, a large,   extensively than Oxford. JCH too has an   pursued a hobby that was conducted
            cosmopolitan city while Oxford is a   inspiring list of former residents – many now  outside of the college simply because
            university town that is dominated by the   champions of equality and justice, and are   their needs or wants were not catered
            institution. This makes it a lot easier to   luminaries in their fields.  How can their   for sufficiently at St Catz. At JCH it feels
            not become too insular or inward looking  wealth of experience and resource be even  as though almost all bases are covered
            while at JCH.                     further engaged to the benefit of the next   in terms of catering to students’ interests
                                              generation?                       outside of the world of study.
            Alex:  Undergraduate instruction is
            actually delivered by the colleges in   Shani: After considering the question for   Jenny:  Colleges don’t always need to be
            Oxford; whereas Melbourne colleges   many days I am still struggling to think of   200 people or more!

                                                                                                  J anet Clarke Hall  11
   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16