An interview with Prof. Ken Badcock, Deputy Principal (Academic) at Royal Holloway, University of London

Prof. Ken Badcock in a suit.

An interview with Prof. Ken Badcock, Deputy Principal (Academic) at Royal Holloway, University of London

We sat down with Professor Ken Badcock, Deputy Principal (Academic) at Royal Holloway, University of London. Study Group and Royal Holloway recently celebrated a decade of successful partnership — you can read more about that here.

How did the partnership between Royal Holloway and Study Group come about?

Our Principal at the time had previously worked with Study Group at the University of Sussex, and was keen to develop the same degree of partnership working at Royal Holloway, University of London.

The partnership has been a great success. Since we started working together we have welcomed close to 1,000 students from over 100 nationalities to Royal Holloway, and 91 per cent of students who completed their programme were offered progression to university.

How does it work? Who does what?

Study Group runs the International Study Centre (ISC), which is an integral part of Royal Holloway. Study Group recruits the students, ensure they have the right level of English language competence, and looks after their general wellbeing once they are in the UK. We work together to ensure that courses stay relevant and appropriate, and to transition students seamlessly into Royal Holloway degrees.

We are able to offer a wide range of International Foundation Year and International Year One programmes, with subjects ranging from Computer Science, Business & Management, to Economics & Electronic Engineering. From 2020 we expanded the courses we offer to include Pre-Masters Programmes in disciplines such as Economics & Engineering, English Literature, Film & Music.

The strength of the ISC and the relationship between Royal Holloway and Study Group is reflected in the fact we grew in numbers overall during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Royal Holloway works collaboratively with Study Group, sharing market information and insight where appropriate. There is very strong institutional learning and sharing between Royal Holloway and Study Group.

What does Study Group contribute?

Study Group has a terrific wealth of experience in recruiting students from a wide variety of countries, not just the big traditional markets, and of preparing them as thoroughly as possible for their studies in the UK.

This extends not just to ensuring they have the right academic and language abilities but that they are able to fit fully into university life. So that as well as Study Group helping make sure students joining us are given a top learning experience, and are brought up to entry requirements for university, they also feel well supported and confident as they enter the university environment.

What’s distinctive about the partnership?

Our partnership with Study Group means we are able to welcome to the university students that probably would not have been able to study in the UK if it were not for the International Study Centre providing an excellent stepping stone into university study.

There has been a change of pace in recent years, and opportunities have been developed as Study Group has come to Royal Holloway with ideas on how to expend to expand the portfolio of courses. That’s been a success.

We have an increasingly close relationship with both sides committed to working together, for example, on areas such as timetabling and student wellbeing.

What does it deliver for students (that other partnerships maybe don’t)?

We’ve been strongly impressed with the expertise Study Group brings beyond purely academic support, such as in the preparation of students for the job market. ISC students are generally of very high calibre. The student experience is usually very positive, and ISC students are always thoroughly immersed in the life of Royal Holloway.

How do you see the next 10 years developing?

Welcoming international students to Royal Holloway is a core part of our strategy and we look forward to continuing to develop our international portfolio.

We’re operating in a changed and changing world in 2022, and we need to continue to be flexible to respond to developing social, economic, and political influences. At Royal Holloway, we see future growth and opportunity in high quality international education, and we expect to see our relationship with Study Group continue to deepen and grow as we develop together new modes of learning.