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BISC academic director thrives on seeing students challenged

Dr. Christian Lloyd

By Meredith Dault, Senior Communications Officer

For Christian Lloyd (PhD ‘00), the best thing about his position at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) is the opportunity to watch students develop, both academically and personally. “I like to note where students are when they arrive at the beginning of the academic year, and then see where they have reached by the end,” he says warmly.

As BISC’s Academic Director, Dr. Lloyd spends a lot of his time interacting with students, both formally and informally. “The intensity of the programming here makes it different from a traditional university setting,” he explains. “Faculty have much more contact with students, and there are lots of field trips and other experiential learning opportunities. You end up in an accelerated academic relationship.”

In his current role, Dr. Lloyd oversees the BISC faculty (a group that varies from 25 to 30 per term), does international recruiting, and manages the Scholars in Residence program, in which recent doctoral graduates and senior academics are invited to spend a term at Herstmonceux castle to pursue research and engage with undergraduates. He also oversees student academic support, which includes securing additional support for students whose first language is not English.

Once a year, Dr. Lloyd also has the opportunity to teach a course – something he has been doing at BISC since first landing at the castle as a new graduate twelve years ago. He says he loves the fact that so many of BISC’s courses stress primary research and that all of them include an experiential learning field-studies component, both of which are unusual at the undergraduate level. Experiential learning might take the form of a walking tour of London with a formerly homeless person, a debate with staff at an NGO, or a visit to an eco-house in Brighton.

“These opportunities increase the sophistication of students’ thinking, because going out in the field will often complicate or contradict what they have learned in the classroom or read in textbooks,” he explains. “We experiment with non-traditional ways of getting at the tricky issues in our courses and nuancing our conclusions about them.”

Queen's in the World

Born and raised in England, Dr. Lloyd earned his doctoral degree in the Department of English at Queen’s. Though he was contemplating larger universities in the United States and Canada, he says he was drawn to Queen’s for its small size and highly-rated English department (“which turns out to be true!,” he adds with a laugh).

Once he had his degree in hand, Dr. Lloyd knew he wanted to be closer to friends and family in the United Kingdom and soon landed a job as a part-time instructor at the BISC. He’s never looked back. “What I like about working here is that you can make things happen,” he says. “We may be a small place, but we know a lot of interesting people!”

Looking forward, Dr Lloyd says he is excited about fostering new BISC faculty projects in Deaf Geographies, Digital Humanities and Creative Industries. His own work next year will be focused on popular music, with a book chapter on virtual music to be published by Oxford UP, his consultancy for the new Jimi Hendrix Museum in London, and a collaboration with the Reggae Studies Unit at the University of the West Indies.

Ultimately, Dr. Lloyd says that it is the students and their enthusiasm
that motivates him most at BISC. “You can see them testing out their assumptions about the world when they’re here,” he says, “and you can really make things shift under their feet, which is good for them.”

This article is one of a series of stories celebrating the Bader International Study Centre and its 20th anniversary.