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BISC Skills Award offers students a more holistic academic experience

Article3We are very proud to announce that this year the BISC’s dedicated Student Success Co-ordinator, Dr. Isabelle Brent, was awarded the Principal’s Teaching and Learning Award for International Education Innovation. Isabelle received the award, via a virtual award ceremony, for her outstanding work on the BISC Skills Award (BSA) initiative.

As reported in our last Castle Herald (Back to School), the BSA is designed to help students get the most from co-curricular activities while enrolled with the BISC. Our BSA students were invited to work with a coach to improve not just their academic skills but also set goals and attend workshops that would contribute to their personal development. In only its first year, the program was an overwhelming success, providing the sort of additional content that kept students engaged and immersed in the Castle experience, despite the virtual nature of most of their interactions.  

To qualify for the BSA, students are invited to create and submit goals with the help of a skills coach and participate in activities from a range of different skills areas. The final stage of the Award is to write a 1,000-word structured personal reflection in which students develop skills to articulate their experiences and learning outcomes and generate insights they can carry with them well into the future.

BSA Badge 1 colourFrom the very outset, Isabelle identified that BISC graduates should be able to demonstrate the following six attributes on completion of their time at the BISC:

  • Academic excellence
  • Self-awareness
  • Resilience
  • Effective communication
  • Professionalism
  • Global citizenship

Principal Patrick Deane notes, “The BSA was recognized as an innovative way to elicit change through the globalized learning outcomes that were created in response to the question, ‘what do we expect our students to acquire from a specific course or program, or more generally from an education at our university?’ The impact that this initiative has on students’ self-awareness at the BISC is so very clear and commendable. They will be able to take this with them through their education and beyond.”

Isabelle’s development of the BSA programme was a huge undertaking, but it demonstrates her deep commitment to our students and her desire not just to support them but to implement innovative strategies to help them thrive.

“In the past, I have worked with parent groups, and I also teach positive psychology,” says Isabelle, “and so the messaging was that parents could trust the BISC not to allow their students to fall through the cracks. This programme was designed with an overall emphasis on positive psychology delivered through programming, coaching, and mentoring.”

It is absolutely fantastic that Isabelle’s efforts have been recognized in such a way and the initiative can only improve the Castle experience for all students who take part. Congratulations Isabelle!


The Bader International Study Centre (Queen’s University, Canada) is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment that is fair, positive, and supportive for all members of our community.
We strive to ensure all members’ views are valued and shared in a secure environment through a commitment to upholding equity*, diversity**, inclusion***, and advancing indigenous initiatives.
The BISC supports the fair treatment and opportunity for all by asserting the importance of non-discriminatory treatment either directly or indirectly on the ground of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.   

*Equity: Substantive fairness for everyone thereby ensuring that members of equity-seeking groups are able to achieve full participation in the university (BISC). 

**Diversity: The representation of the population with respect to designated groups. 

***Inclusion: The climate and acceptance of differences that comes with diversity i.e. different ways of living and working. 

Land acknowledgement: Queen’s University, Canada is situated on Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory.

Bader International Study Centre
Herstmonceux Castle
Hailsham, East Sussex
United Kingdom, BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 834444
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Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
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