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Message to the BISC community from Principal Deane

Dear Members of the BISC Community,

I am writing in the first instance to thank everyone at the Bader International Study Centre for rising so admirably to the challenge posed to the whole Castle community by the COVID-19 crisis. Although I have not been with you to experience first-hand the difficulties particular to your situation, I can understand very well the entirely reasonable anxieties you must all be feeling.  It is ordinarily a challenge to be so remote from each other, but in these new circumstances there is an increased danger of feeling disconnected as well.

I want to tell you that Queen’s University remains fully committed to the success of the BISC. Indeed, despite current public health issues and their unfortunate consequences for programming in the summer and possibly enrolment levels in the fall, we will not cease to think ambitiously about what we hope to achieve at Herstmonceux.  The BISC is an extraordinary asset for Queen’s and an integral part of the bold future I envision for our institution. That potential of the BISC is further fueled by the admirable and talented team of people we are privileged to have working there.

It may seem a cruel irony that, in the very month the COVID crisis took hold, Queen’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to forgive the debt owed by the BISC since 1994. Please see the latter decision for what it is: a vote of confidence in the future of the Castle, in the vision of the Baders, and in the work of the Castle community over the last twenty-six years. As I hope you all know, I am deeply committed to your success, and despite the challenges of our immediate situation, intend to see the BISC thriving on its own terms and also fully integrated into a pan-university strategy for internationalization at Queen’s.

To that end, Provost Mark Green and I have agreed that, effective immediately, primary strategic responsibility for the BISC will be transferred to the Principal. I will assume the Chair of the Board of the BISC and of HCE, and will work closely with all of you on future directions for the BISC and on your role in relation to our university’s long-term goals. The Provost’s Office will continue to provide operational guidance and support for the BISC.

I hope I can count on your continuing commitment and support. An opportunity is being arranged for us to talk about all of these issues by Zoom a week from today. Please do join the call. I am very eager to hear your thoughts.  I also sent a note to our campus community in Kingston today. In it I asked the community to use this time to demonstrate the values without which our university could not succeed, even in the best of times: compassion, understanding, trust and selflessness.  I ask the same of all of you, as together we will face the challenges that lie ahead, and I am confident we will not just survive this crisis but emerge better and stronger for the future. 

Patrick Deane

Principal and Vice-Chancellor