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Record number of first year students to study at the castle

  • For hundreds of Canadian students this upcoming academic year, this will be home - historic Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England.
    For hundreds of Canadian students this upcoming academic year, this will be home - historic Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England.
  • Imagine this as your classroom as you study history, arts, or science. The Bader International Study Centre is 'a unique and special place to study and work'.
    Imagine this as your classroom as you study history, arts, or science. The Bader International Study Centre is 'a unique and special place to study and work'.
  • Why learn about historic art through a screen when you can see it in person? Students on a field trip visit the Musée Guimet in Paris.
    Why learn about historic art through a screen when you can see it in person? Students on a field trip visit the Musée Guimet in Paris.

With a new school year soon to begin, there is a renewed sense of enthusiasm and pride for staff and faculty at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC). The incoming class for the 2017-18 academic year is 139 first-year Queen’s students – the largest yet – and, with new Vice Provost and Executive Director Hugh Horton having just started his term, the next year looks to be a significant one in the campus’ history.

“This is a unique and special place to study, and to work, and I am excited to be joining the team at the BISC,” says Dr. Horton. “My first priorities include building on our recent strong enrolment performance, expanding our partnerships locally and with the Kingston campus, and continuing to refine and enhance the unique and personal student experience we have established at this campus. I look forward to building on the progress which has been made in recent years.”

Next year will mark 25 years since Queen’s University alumni Alfred Bader (Sc’45, Arts’46, MSc’47, LLD’86) and Isabel Bader (LLD’07) donated Herstmonceux Castle to Queen’s – now known as the Bader International Study Centre. Since then, the castle has undergone renovations, generated many new partnerships, and established itself as a significant and distinct member of the Canadian higher education landscape.

In addition to providing a home and educational campus to about 250 Canadian university students each year, the BISC is involved in a number of other business ventures year-round and additional revenue-generating plans are in the works to help offset the cost of operating the castle. For example, when not in use by students, the site serves as a centre for academic and business conferences, a venue for festivals, weddings, concerts, plays, workshops, and exhibitions, and as a bed-and-breakfast facility and a tourist attraction for visitors. It was recently named one of the top 10 castles in the UK for a family day out by The Guardian

“The BISC is a key part of Queen’s internationalization strategy, supporting the aims of our strategic framework,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “Our new programs have been very successful, both in terms of attracting excellent students, and in student outcomes.”

In recent years, programming at the BISC has expanded to include a first-year science program in 2015, and a concurrent education (arts) program in 2016. These two programs join the existing first-year arts program, and an international law program. All programs offer a unique educational experience: small class sizes and close contact with professors, an interdisciplinary and community-oriented environment, and the opportunity for experiential learning activities in an international setting, whether at the castle or in sites across Europe.

“The field studies offered while I was studying art history at the castle were truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and being lectured in front of the historic paintings I was studying were some of the most amazing academic experiences I have ever had,” Maddi Andrews (Artsci’19) said in a recent news article, reflecting on her experience learning about Claude Monet’s “Water Lillies” series.

To learn more about the BISC, visit queensu.ca/bisc.