This initiative is led by Professor Tarun Khaitan in his role as Vice-Dean (Recruitment and Teaching). He says:
"From the outside, Oxford is sometimes perceived as elitist and exclusionary. Our distinctive federal structure, in which academics have two employers (the college and the university), adds a further layer of mystique. So does our unique mode of teaching through tutorials that normally include only two or three students at a time.
I don’t want to pretend that Oxford is immune to the egregious inequalities—based on class, gender, race, religion, disability and other characteristics—that afflict our societies. Setting aside the considerable moral stakes involved, these inequalities seriously hurt our academic mission too. The only thing we care to be exclusive about is academic excellence: if insightful scholars remove themselves from being considered for a position at Oxford because they (wrongly) believe that we don’t want ‘people like them', or because they are not Oxbridge ‘insiders’, we lose out on hiring the best and the brightest minds of our times.
The Law Faculty at Oxford currently provides an intellectual home to world-leading academics from around 30 countries. This outreach is an effort to continue to ensure that our overriding mission as a university department—to discover and to disseminate knowledge—is not undercut because we failed to access the widest possible talent pool."
The Dean of the Faculty, Professor Mindy Chen-Wishart, wholeheartedly endorses this initiative saying:
As someone born in Taiwan and an immigrant to New Zealand, it would never have occurred to me to apply for anything at Oxford but for severe provocation by a mentor. I am an accidental Oxford academic and regard it as one of the best things that happened to me. Oxford has its quirks and is jolly hard work, but it offers some unparalleled opportunities i) to thrive and engage on the world stage of research, and ii) to partake in the most satisfying teaching experience anywhere in the world. I applaud Professor Khaitan’s initiative to reach out to those who may have second thoughts about applying to us.
The Faculty invites academics working in any area of law to attend this information session. It particularly welcomes participation from women and members of black and Asian minority ethnic groups, who are underrepresented at Oxford.