The BISC was established in 1993 by Queen’s University (Canada) as a company limited by guarantee and registered as a charity with the UK Charity Commission. As a registered Charity, it has its own Board of Trustees, which is responsible for assuring that the BISC is managed well, is financially sound, and that it is fulfilling its charitable obligations.
There are currently four trustees – two non-university trustees resident in the United Kingdom, one non-university trustee residing in Canada, and one trustee (the Provost of Queen’s) representing Queen’s University (Canada) and serving as Chair. Trustees meet at least three times a year to consider budgets, projects, activities, and the general functioning of the BISC. In a recent development, the Board also hears a yearly “State of the Castle” - report from the Student Government at the BISC evaluating the functioning and quality assurance of the BISC.
The principal objective of the charity is to contribute to and enhance international education and research through its role as an academic meeting-place for students, scholars and professionals from around the world –a place where people of different nationalities may learn and work together for both collective and public benefit.
Structurally, the Bader International Study Centre is an integral component of Queen’s University’s wide-ranging international programmes. To achieve this objective, the charity is developing and providing:
academic programmes for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students whose interests are oriented towards the United Kingdom, Europe and global issues of humanities, business, language, and social science;
a venue and focal point for international conferences, academic research, and meetings on similar areas of public interest;
an enhanced educational, social and cultural environment for the local community, through its stewardship of the unique heritage of Herstmonceux Castle.
Accreditation and Quality Assurance
Each year, the BISC Trustees must report to the UK Charity Commission on our success in achieving our charitable objectives. Equally, the Queen’s Board of Trustees reviews an annual report on the financial health and programmatic outcomes of the BISC yearly.
Quality assurance of the BISC's educational standards is taken very seriously. All BISC courses are accredited by Queen’s University (Canada) and are subject to scrupulous quality assurance reviews and standardization by both the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance (Canada) and the UK government’s Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (United Kingdom). We also have a rigorous internal program of classroom observations and syllabi review by the BISC Academic Director and BISC Curriculum Committee to ensure we maintain the high standards that have earned us an excellent reputation to date.
A review of the BISC carried out in June 2016 provided the following assessment:
Confidence in the provider's management of its responsibilities for the quality of learning opportunities. Reliance can be placed on the accuracy and completeness of the information that the provider is responsible for publishing about itself and the programmes it delivers.
A monitoring visit was carried out in June 2017 to review the implementation of recommendations in the 2016 report. The brief report concludes:
Bader International Study Centre (BISC) has made commendable progress with implementing the action plan.
The BISC has a number of standing committees which are chaired and staffed by BISC faculty members. Where appropriate, we also appoint student members to serve in order to give the student voice to these important forums. The aim of BISC faculty committees is to promote innovation and excellence in all areas of academic work at the castle.
The Curriculum Committee meets at least twice a term to: review draft syllabi, make suggestions for revisions, guide the BISC Executive Director on the selection of courses offered in each term and suggest new possibilities for our curriculum.
The Research Committee meets regularly and hosts research events to develop the BISC’s research potential in all of its dimensions: these range from initiatives taken by students in their courses and independent studies to the original research projects of faculty members. The committee supports full academic freedom.
The Experiential Learning Committee aids the BISC Experiential Learning Department by meeting with its staff at regular intervals and producing reports. Among its duties, the committee reviews field studies policies, suggests new possibilities for experiential learning and checks safety procedures on field studies.