The 2021/22 Reuben Student Handbook is issued in late September 2021. It contains key information every Reuben needs to know. However, as the College welcomes its first students, our guidelines grow, and practical arrangements evolve, it does not represent a comprehensive and final account of all things useful. Please then use this in conjunction with the Reuben and University webpages flagged throughout: College pages will be updated at least monthly, with urgent or significant announcements also emailed to the Reuben student mail group, and invitations to events sent through the College’s Inkpath platform. The handbook will also be updated and changes highlighted with the versioning table updated below.
Reuben has only a small staff team at present: we welcome questions and suggestions, but please bear in mind that we will need to prioritize any concerns that arise, although always with students’ needs at the front of our minds, and our apologies in advance if we cannot answer every question immediately. We look forward to developing a handbook that will in October 2022 be twice as useful and, in the meantime, hope that you can enjoy what will be the celebratory and occasionally chaotic first year of Reuben graduate life.
The purpose of this handbook is to provide basic information on how the College operates, particularly for new members. To ensure that it is as useful and comprehensive as possible, we welcome suggestions for its improvement.
Firstly, welcome to Reuben! We hope that your stay in Oxford will be fruitful and that your membership of the College will help you to gain maximum benefit from all that Oxford has to offer. Reuben College is an entirely post-graduate institution and deliberately seeks to enrol a diverse student body. Fellows, students and staff are members of a single Common Room and the pattern of post-graduate work means that most students are in residence for most of the year.
Academic life at Reuben College is organized around four research clusters, whose themes have been chosen for their wide reach across the four divisions of the University, their strongly interdisciplinary nature, and Oxford's existing and potential strengths in these areas. The four clusters focus on the topics of: (i) Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; (ii) Environmental Change (including climate change); (iii) Cellular Life; and (iv) Ethics and Values; each of them broadly defined. We will aim to ensure that the vast majority of the first intake of Reuben College students are graduates whose studies will be on topics related to these four themes. The focus on these four themes will promote interaction between students with shared interests, both within the programme of academic events and in the shared Common Room. In addition, there are three Innovation & Entrepreneurship Fellows to promote and nurture these activities in Reuben College, two Fellows leading Public Engagement in Research, and another leading on liaison with the University gardens, libraries and museums. The college also plans to elect post-doctoral Research Fellows and, from October 2022, a series of Visiting Fellows.
All academic members of the College Fellowship will lead or support events throughout the year. Subject to personal circumstances, students will be encouraged to take part in at least one College academic event a fortnight during term; this will enable all students to engage fully with the academic life of the College. Events will continue to take place, albeit at a lower frequency, during the summer and the College will provide bespoke support for student-initiated events, both logistically and with a small amount of funding (through either the GCR or through theme-leads). Some of the College’s events will be organised in partnership with University departments or centres, and student societies; for example, co-hosting seminar series with the Oxford Climate Research Network, the Oxford Martin School, the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, the Gardens, Libraries and Museums, and the Oxford AI Society (student society).
As well as the four research themes, academic and social life at Reuben College is underpinned by three strategic themes:
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Innovation and entrepreneurship are qualities of a mindset that we nurture at Reuben to encourage students to embrace a spirit of enquiry, make the most of opportunities, and approach new challenges with resilience. We back this up by offering a vibrant programme of learning opportunities, networking events, and practical experiences that will help students develop the skills, attitudes and insights to succeed whatever their careers.
Public Engagement in Research
It is our ambition that all students, whether in taught or research-based courses, will have the opportunity to receive training in public engagement, and run or participate in their own initiatives if they wish so. Students will be particularly encouraged to engage in a interdisciplinary, collaborative and ethical flavour of public engagement with their research It is our hope that when students eventually leave us, they are equipped with the skills and experience that will allow them to become engaged professionals, whether in academia or in the broad range of other careers paths available to our graduates.
Gardens, Libraries and Museums
The College’s unique relationship with the Gardens Libraries and Museums, including the presence of a University Collections Teaching and Research Centre, provides students with opportunities to exploit the collections and curatorial expertise in research, teaching and public engagement.