Scholar Exchange Enriches Two Oxfords

Portrait

Oxford College’s David Gowler (at left) and Oxford University’s Christopher Rowland link teaching on both campuses.

Pierce Visiting Scholar

The 2011–2012 Pierce Visiting Scholar is Alison Foster, senior curator at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. She is the author of The Medicinal Plant Collection at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden, which examines the medical application of plants in the Oxford Botanic Garden’s medicinal-plant collection, with chapters including oncology, neurology, and infectious diseases. Foster’s counterpart at Oxford College is Eloise Carter, professor of biology.

The Pierce Visiting Scholar Program is an innovative academic exchange that connects Oxford College with Oxford University, and enriches both campuses.

The exchange with Oxford University is the brainchild of David Gowler, Pierce Professor of Religion at Oxford College. He is director of the Pierce Institute for Leadership and Community Engagement, which funds the exchange. While in graduate school, Gowler studied at Cambridge with biblical scholar Christopher Rowland, who later moved to the University of Oxford as the Dean Ireland’s Professor at Queen’s College. The two stayed in touch over the years. Gowler invited the don to come to Oxford College to lecture, and afterward it occurred to Gowler that an exchange of scholars from “the two Oxfords” could be a permanent program sponsored by the Pierce Institute. In 2005 an official agreement establishing the Pierce Visiting Scholar Program was signed by Provost Earl Lewis of Emory and Vice Chancellor John Hood of the University of Oxford.

Teaching in the field

Alison Foster (third from right) lectures to Emory students in the University of Oxford Botanic Garden.

Each year the Pierce Institute designates one faculty member from Oxford University and one from Oxford College as Pierce Visiting Scholars. The Oxford University scholar comes to Oxford College during the academic year for at least one week, giving public lectures, usually on both the Oxford and Atlanta campuses, teaching classes, and meeting with groups of students and faculty. His or her Oxford College counterpart serves as on-campus host during the stay and in turn travels to Oxford University for lectures and teaching, hosted by the Oxford University designee.

Says Gowler, “The Pierce Visiting Scholar Program has been such a success that we have renewed the agreement for the program. We are delighted that Oxford College students get to interact

in depth with internationally known Oxford University scholars. This is an innovative partnership that has benefitted both faculties.”

Email the editor