After a three-year directorial vacancy, the Queen’s Bader International Study Centre (BISC) has new leadership.
Former Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Science Hugh Horton is preparing to take over as executive director and vice-provost of the BISC, located in England’s Herstmonceux Castle, as of July 1.
The position has been vacant since the sudden departure of Bruce Stanley in 2014, which, according to a post on the BISC’s webpage, was due to “a result of differences with respect to the priorities of the Bader lnternational Study Centre.”
As Executive Director, Horton will be required to face a number of problems that have come to light in recent years at the castle, including numerous staff dismissals and instances of sexual misconduct among students.
In an email to The Journal, Horton described the BISC’s current methods of ensuring proper responses to reports of sexual violence.
“The BISC’s process is survivor-focused, meaning that options regarding how to proceed after an alleged incident of sexual violence are discussed with the survivor, and support personnel at the BISC work with the survivor as the chosen process is followed,” Horton wrote.
The BISC administration has been criticized by students in recent years for lacking clear sanctions and policies when faced with reports of sexual misconduct and assault. During the first two months of the 2014-15 school year, the BISC campus was rampant with rumors of sexual misconduct, with several being reported to administration.
According to an article published by the Journal in November, workshops and public forums have been held over the past two years in response to these rumors. BISC Student Services has also been updating and reviewing their sexual violence response system by developing educational programming and reference materials for students.
Queen’s approved their updated Sexual Violence Policy in November 2016, with a BISC-specific draft policy currently under review. Part of Horton’s new role will be to ensure the implementation of this policy when it’s released this fall.
For the past few years, the BISC has been falling short of planned enrolment targets. With this in mind, Horton’s primary focus will be to ensure the campus’ increased enrolment.
According to the university’s Annual Planning and Budgeting Reports, from 2013-14 onwards the first year enrolment target was set at 120 full-time students. Unfortunately, the 2013-14 year saw 103 incoming students arrive in comparison to planned enrolment. While 2014-15 saw an increase at 117 students, the 2015-16 school year — the most recent enrolment information available — saw just 101 first year students.
Horton also wrote that the BISC has received strong support from the main campus admissions team in their pursuit of increased enrolment.
“[Main campus admissions] have recently brought on board a new Student Recruiter position dedicated to the BISC first year program and a search for an Admissions Co-ordinator for the BISC, who will be based on the main campus, will soon be under way.”
Horton will spend his summer months working with the BISC management team and familiarizing himself with the castle’s curriculum and its infrastructure.
Horton summarized his hopes for the upcoming school year, telling the Journal that there are some “big picture priorities” he would like to emphasize during his first year as Executive Director.
“These include ensuring that we take steps to achieve and sustain full enrolment at the BISC and that we ensure BISC maintains and builds strong partnerships: be they with academic departments and support services on main campus; our alumni; or the local community.”
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