Student Wins Prize for Academic Work in Oxford

Senior Jarrod Ingles and his wife, Susanna
Senior Jarrod Ingles and his wife, Susanna

Asbury University senior Jarrod Ingles returned to the United States from a semester of study in England with research experience, a fondness for bicycles and a prestigious award from Scholarship & Christianity in Oxford.

Ingles was awarded the de Jager prize, named for philanthropists Geoffrey and Caroline de Jager, for exceptional academic performance in his British Studies program. He spent 4.5 months studying in Oxford through the Council for Christian Colleges and University’s Scholar Semester.

During his time there, Ingles lived in an old Victorian home with other students and studied two topics: English Literature (1740-1832) and C.S. Lewis in Context. Each subject was taught in the traditional Oxford fashion, which consists of weekly meetings with a professor and guided research.

The Radcliffe Camera was built in the 18th century and currently serves as a library.
The Radcliffe Camera was built in the 18th century and currently serves as a library.

“I met with my tutor, Dr. Emma Plaskitt, once a week, and she would ask me a very specific question for me to research,” he said. “I would then spend the next week writing a 10-page paper for our hour-long tutorial, where my tutor and I would debate, discuss and argue about my paper and the reading she had assigned.

“For my secondary tutorial, which met every other week, I studied C.S. Lewis in Context. This course enabled me to read and explore the works of some authors who greatly influence Lewis’ own thought and writing.”

Much of Ingles’ time in England was spent in libraries — he wrote more than a dozen 10-page papers and a 20-page research paper during his time there — but when the library of choice is the Radcliffe Camera (built from 1737-1749), sight-seeing and education become the same thing.

“I truly enjoyed the research-centered atmosphere,” Ingles said. “Dr. Plaskitt pushed me to pursue my own ideas to such a degree that I am now a far more confident writer and scholar.“

The British University System

Magdalene College at the University of Oxford
Magdalene College at the University of Oxford

British higher education differs from the American collegiate system in some significant ways. Here’s a quick guide:

  • The academic year consists of three terms: Michaelmas (October to December); Hilary (January to March) and Trinity (April to June). Undergraduate teaching takes place for eight weeks during each term, but academic work is expected during holidays.
  • The university is a federation of self-governing colleges and halls. Academic departments are not affiliated with any particular college. Each college arranges for the tutorial instruction of its undergraduates. Permanent Private halls are similar to colleges but are governed (at least in part) by a Christian denomination.
  • England’s two main universities, Oxford and Cambridge, do not have a main campus; rather, different colleges, departments and facilities are spread throughout the cities.
  • The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

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