Architects’ impression of the Dr Lee Shau Kee Building

  Architects’ impression of the Dr Lee Shau Kee Building

Becoming a beacon for fair access

When Wadham College established its Access to Excellence programme in 2012, it did so with a clear vision in mind: to identify and remove the barriers that impede potential applicants, students and researchers in their quest for excellence. In the years that have followed, this commitment, which builds on a long history of outreach work at the college, has seen Wadham become a national leader in the debate over fair access in higher education.


Undergraduate access – the initial focus of the college’s work – has undergone a step change in this time. Thanks to a dramatic expansion of its outreach programme, funded in large part through donations from alumni, Wadham is now home to one of the most diverse student bodies in Oxford, with just under 70% of its UK undergraduate intake coming from state schools.

From 2020, two new buildings will enable the college to expand and develop this work even further: Oxford’s first purpose-built access centre, the Dr Lee Shau Kee Building, will become a hub for Wadham’s extensive outreach work, while the William Doo Undergraduate Centre will provide students with inspirational facilities for social and academic interaction.

Architects’ impression of the William Doo Undergraduate Centre
  Architects’ impression of the William Doo Undergraduate Centre

‘The most important aspect of Wadham’s access work is that we send a message to all students that this is an institution where you can apply, succeed and thrive,’ explains Access and Outreach Officer Dr Hugh Munro. ‘The access centre really puts that at the heart of what we’re trying to do by expanding that message to reach even more students.’

Undergraduate student and Wadham access ambassador Marie-Ann Harvey agrees: ‘I think one thing that people don’t always remember is that access isn’t just about getting people in the door. There’s so much more to it. So the idea that we’re going to have two centres dedicated to not only getting people in, but to keeping them here, is a huge step forward. It’s something I just can’t help but take pride in.’

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