Letter: Under-donned?

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The Independent Online
Sir: So Oxford dons must 'develop a wider and more active interest in . . . the teaching and learning of students' ('Oxford rebuked for complacency', 17 March) ie, presumably, do more undergraduate teaching.

When, admittedly some decades ago, I was on a tour of leading American universities, the first question I used to ask the faculty members I met was: 'Who teaches the undergraduates?' This used to cause puzzlement. 'Teach the undergraduates? We don't, of course. I wonder who does? The graduate students perhaps?'

My own impression is that Oxford undergraduates get more individual attention from faculty members than the students of any other universities known to me. But then I am probably prejudiced; I have been in or around Oxford for the past 36 years. I wonder how long the authors of the report you quote spent here?

Yours faithfully,



17 March