Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

New website about Newman's Idea of a University

Peter Nockles has forwarded to me this message from Paul Shrimpton, whom I also know, and who is based in Oxford:

Many of you may know that in November 2014 my volume on John Henry Newman’s pastoral idea of a university appeared, under the title The ‘Making of Men’: the Idea and Reality of Newman’s University in Oxford and Dublin.

What you probably don’t know is that I have used the book to construct a website which goes by the name ‘Ideaofauniversity’ and that the website was ‘launched’ last week. The ‘launch’ was a very simple affair: four former pupils and one current pupil – the webmaster – came around to Grandpont for Mass (said by former pupil Fr Paul Moss*) followed by lunch, then the launch.

(In case you don’t know what a website launch consists in, we gathered around a computer while I navigated around a few pages.)

The website has around 120 webpages and can be found at: www.ideaofauniversity.website

Please take a look at it and encourage others to do so, too, by passing on the link via Twitter, Facebook, and so on. It is intended for aspiring students, current students, parents of students, academics – indeed all those with an interest in higher education.

Currently the only pages posted are those based on material from my book, but soon I hope that the website will feature other articles about higher education and university life and in that way function as a blog too.

My book continues to receive (positive) reviews – three last month and inclusion in one book-blogger’s top books in 2015 – but at around 560 pages it is too long for most people to read, even for academics, hence the idea of a website.

My conviction is that Newman’s ideas on higher education are as relevant now as they were in his own lifetime (1801-90), so do take a look.

* Deacon of the Gospel at the funeral Mass for Pope John Paul II in 2005.

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