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Oxford Brookes University (formerly known as Oxford Polytechnic) is a public research university in Oxford, England. It is a new university, having received university status through the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. It can trace its origins to 1865, when it was founded as the Oxford School of Art. The university was named after its first principal, John Henry Brookes, who played a major role in the development of the institution.
Oxford Brookes University is spread across four campuses, with three primary sites based in and around Oxford and the fourth campus located in Swindon. In 2020 Oxford Brookes University won its appeal against the local council to demolish its Wheatley campus and build houses on the site. Brookes has approximately 18,000 students, 2,800 staff and over 130,000 alumni in over 189 countries. The university is divided into four faculties: Oxford Brookes Business School, Health and Life Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Technology, Design and Environment. Oxford Brookes University's partnership with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) allows ACCA students to earn a BSc (Hons) in applied accounting with the submission of a research and analysis project work while taking their ACCA examinations. The university also has schools of architecture and law. Brookes is a member of the University Alliance mission group.
Oxford Brookes University started in 1865 as the Oxford School of Art, located in a single room on the ground floor of the Taylor Institution at St Giles', Oxford. In 1870 the School of Science was added and in 1891, under the administration of the City Council's Technical Instruction Committee, it was renamed the Oxford City Technical School, incorporating the School of Art, which remained distinct. Plans were made to relocate to the former Blue Coat School for Boys on St. Ebbes.
In 1934 the School of Art and the Technical School were merged and John Henry Brookes, head of the School of Art and vice-principal of the Technical School, was appointed the first principal of the merged institution. By 1950 the college had 4,000 students. A new campus was built on a site offered by the local Morrell brewing family. Renamed "Oxford College of Technology", it opened on the new site in 1956. Its first residence hall was established in 1960 and the college relocated to Headington in 1963.
In 1970, it became Oxford Polytechnic. In 1976, it took over the former Lady Spencer-Churchill College, which had been founded in Wheatley in August 1965. In 1992 it incorporated the Dorset House School of Occupational Therapy, the first school of occupational therapy in the UK. Later in 1992, following enactment of the Further and Higher Education Act, it became Oxford Brookes University, the only one of the new universities to be named after its founder. In 2000, it took over the site of Westminster College, Oxford, basing its education and theological activities on the site, although theology was withdrawn in 2015.
In October 2003, Oxford Brookes University became the first university in the world to be awarded Fairtrade status.
Baroness Kennedy served as the university's chancellor from 1994 to 2001. In 2007, Graham Upton retired as vice-chancellor and his successor, Janet Beer, was inaugurated in September. In July 2008, Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, replaced Jon Snow as chancellor.
In March 2015, Alistair Fitt was inaugurated as vice-chancellor, replacing Janet Beer. Dame Katherine Grainger, a former British Olympic rower, replaced Shami Chakrabarti as chancellor. Grainger is Britain's most decorated female Olympic athlete and the first British woman to win medals at five successive games (Rio 2016, London 2012, Beijing in 2008, Athens in 2004 and Sydney in 2000). She was made a dame for her services to rowing and charity in the 2017 New Years Honours.
In 2015, Oxford Brookes University celebrated its 150th anniversary. A range of events and activities took place, including celebrations recognising John Henry Brookes, the university's modern founder. The first founder's day was held in May 2016.
Oxford Brookes University was ranked among the world's top institutions in 16 subjects and four subject areas in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017. In 2016, Brookes was listed as one of the world's top universities for its international outlook in the Times Higher Education's (THE) Top 200 international universities. Brookes has retained its top ten world ranking in the QS Distance Online MBA Ranking 2017 for its MBA programme. The university has 10 National Teaching Fellowships from the Higher Education Authority and was among the top 25 in the UK for teaching quality in the Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016. Brookes is ranked in the top 51-100 for Architecture and Business & Management Studies in the world by QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019. It is also ranked in the top 10 for Hospitality & Leisure Management in the world by QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019. In both 2018 and 2019, QS World University Rankings named it the only UK university on its list of Top 50 universities under 50 years old in the world. It is among the top 400 universities in the world, ranked 363rd by the QS World University Rankings 2020.
- In 2011, Oxford Brookes University was the sixth largest employer in Oxfordshire.
- Hotcourses UK ranked Oxford Brookes University in the top 15 of the most culturally diverse institutions in the UK in July 2016.
- In July 2016, Headington and Harcourt Hill campuses received a Green Flag Award for the quality of their green spaces for the fifth year in a row.
- In 2016, Oxford Brookes University achieved an overall satisfaction rate of 87% in the National Student Survey (NSS) higher than the national average of 86%. The university also had 18 subject areas which received 90% or higher overall satisfaction.