King’s Summer Programmes at EAIE 2018

King’s Summer Programmes will be participating at the 30th Annual EAIE Conference and Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland which will take place from 11th to 14th September 2018.

Dr Sarah Williamson, Director Summer Programmes, will be speaking at a leadership and strategy workshop titled Summer school euros: costs, resources and business models, where she will discuss different business models for summer schools, including their relative advantages and disadvantages and how to determine which model fits best with your institution’s strategic objectives. Dr Williamson is also a speaker at the session titled All eyes on us: how established summer programmes overcome challenges which looks at challenges facing successful summer schools.

Joint summer schools: Win-win or double trouble? is the title of our poster presentation by Dr Alexander Heinz, Education Programme Lead Summer Programmes, showcasing a live London–Amsterdam case study. He will also be participating in a networking and learning event known as the Summer Schools health clinic as a summer school doctor. We are very proud to announce that Dr Heinz has been voted as the incoming Vice Chair of the Summer Schools expert community, an EAIE forum for all things related to running and establishing summer programmes.

Ian Fielding, Deputy Director Summer Programmes, will be meeting with partners to discuss feedback and provide updates and developments on the undergraduate summer school and summer exchange programme. Ian would also be delighted to hear from other universities interested in our partnership agreements or our Summer School and Education Abroad planning and design services. Make sure you drop by our Summer at King’s exhibition stand (G22).

If you are not physically attending the EAIE conference and exhibition but still want to stay updated with our news you can follow us on Twitter @KingSummer. Further information about EAIE can be found here.

We are the city: King’s Summer Programmes in London

Dr Sarah Williamson is a university director, specialising in institutional business development with expertise in international education. She has 16 years creative programming experience in Higher Education, the last 10 of which have been spent leading and providing consultancy services on innovative institutional education projects that transform the educational portfolio of higher education institutions. 

At King’s College London, she is leading the university’s strategy to grow a summer portfolio of education projects on campus and overseas that support education abroad initiatives and research project knowledge transfer/public engagement intentions. Before this, she was the inaugural Head of Study Abroad (2009-14) and the architect of King’s study abroad strategy and programming.

Cities, like universities, are the sum of their parts and London, like King’s, is very much a product of its people. London’s citizens have long built bits on, growing the city outwards and upwards not on any grid system, but expanding it organically from its medieval footprint. London is not a city that was built then the people moved in; they built it from the inside out.

That’s the kind of city London is. It has a mindset that resists definition and a momentum that evolves in ways that are too exciting to be corralled. Just how London has been shaped and honed has become even more apparent in the last 20 years. Glorious, majestic spaces, like Somerset House, have been reclaimed as public spaces, becoming areas for public thinking and doing. Those reclaimed public spaces now influence public discourse and from there the city self-defines its future development. A city is a thinking space and the university within the city is an ideas lab, where those thoughts are grouped together to become ideas and shaped into actions.

Everyone who comes to London comes knowing it has a life blood that its citizens both create and draw from. This is what makes it such a strong magnet for creative thinkers and therefore creative learners. To be connected with and submerged into the flow of the city was always an elemental component in the makeup of our academic summer programmes at King’s. London is our classroom not just because it is our location; it’s because it is our inspiration and definition. It’s an ever-greater co-contributor to the summer classes in our sector-leading programmes.

For those seeking a starting point more profound than a traditional tourist route, having a chance to explore the city through applied study is strongly attractive. No student focused seriously on their academic career doesn’t think very carefully about how they, as global citizens, as global thinkers, will need to understand and use the city in their future as they become workers in their fields. But how to do this if you live elsewhere? What can you do to count yourself amongst the number of Londoners making waves in the world if your postcode is usually well beyond the M25? One neat answer is to join a summer programme at King’s. Short courses, run on King’s campuses over the summer season give a compact but powerful injection of intellectual rigour and dynamic personal development embedded so firmly in London’s ecosystems that your credentials as a Londoner become as established as they do as a King’s alum.

All of our 1,800 summer alumni this year will have explored their subjects with the help of London. Academic excursions, guest speakers from across London’s industries enrich the London campus-delivered academic content of courses. From the Victoria & Albert Museum, historic Fleet Street or crowded Brixton. A diverse range of places and encounters await the summer student and life-long Londoner alike. London can be a gateway to the wider world through its London headquarters of global powerhouses like the UN Refugee Agency, teachers on our Human Rights undergraduate summer school. Our popular and long-standing summer module “Museum of London: Curating the City” with daily sessions at the museum led by its curators, is a passport behind the scenes of one of the capital’s most innovative museums. What do the collections—ranging from art to architecture, fashion to film, music to media, giant fatberg!—tell us about London over the last century? What sorts of histories do these collections tell? What stories do they leave untold? Who are the people choosing these collections and making particular stories public? What is the impact of their decisions on London’s present-day reputation as a centre of creativity and cultural exchange?

For an intellectually challenging, often assessed summer school, this is never about glorified tourism. With its highly international King’s summer student population from more than 50 countries, London connections need to be academically meaningful and relevant. Rather, it is the case that lecturers explore their subject through the prism of London in undergraduate-level courses such as London & Film, where London as a cinematic city, the divergent spaces of London, and the capital’s relationship to film genres are explored in turn. Students reflect on the relationship between London, the advent of moving images and the birth of the cinema industry; the cultural role of cinema within the capital through the strength of its institutions, among them Film London, the National Film Theatre and the British Film Institute. London is both, a ‘realist’ and ‘fantasy’ wonderland. The evolution of London (as relayed on film) as a thriving urban space marked by increased gentrification, cosmopolitanism and architectural redevelopment is considered as well as the restaging of London’s cityscape as the set for blockbuster cinema.

Inviting new audiences to King’s, Dr Alana Harris, Lecturer in Modern British History and convenor of a group looking specifically at the integration of London in the learning experience, is this year for the second time leading a King’s Summer Weekend course with The National Archives. This weekend course is for everyone who wants to expand their research into their family tree. It combines instruction on practical researching techniques with academic insight into how key historic events shape stories across generations. Those that are interested can read more about this in a recent King’s SummerTimes blog post written by Mark Pearsall, one of the course contributors from among The National Archives staff. He describes how this summer collaboration led to a podcast on the Public Record’s Office history in what is now King’s splendid Maughan Library. The city defines its history through its people’s stories. The university defines the city through its understanding of those stories and equips its citizens to continue to draw out their ideas of how the city will evolve in the future.

Alongside the large King’s summer programmes, some of the biggest in Europe, a group of cultural intelligence courses offer invite student groups from King’s university partners to explore London’s people, institution and power in innovative ways. The rationale behind these courses is powerfully simple: they use the unique dynamism of the metropolis to empower students to reflect on their own agency and take steps to be empowered in their own lives back home. Long term Londoners come into the classroom and change perceptions. New Londoners soak up inspiration and ideas and carry a bit of London’s esprit de corps with them wherever they go next. We are the city and the city is us. #everybodywelcome #summeratkings

The start of a new term

Dr Sarah Williamson is a university director, specialising in institutional business development with expertise in international education. She has 16 years creative programming experience in Higher Education, the last 10 of which have been spent leading and providing consultancy services on innovative institutional education projects that transform the educational portfolio of higher education institutions. 

At King’s College London, she is leading the university’s strategy to grow a summer portfolio of education projects on campus and overseas that support education abroad initiatives and research project knowledge transfer/public engagement intentions. Before this, she was the inaugural Head of Study Abroad (2009-14) and the architect of King’s study abroad strategy and programming.

Late June. Birdsong early in the morning. Sunrise by 5 am. Lazy evenings that go on and on to the point where you realise you should have gone to bed an hour before. (But it’s light till so late!) People start dropping into conversation that they are heading off on their holidays soon. The tabloid press is obsessed with swimwear. And universities across the world are readying their halls to welcome their summer students.

Undergraduate Summer School students exploring London with their tutor

At King’s, now in its 9th year, the summer school has grown into a full portfolio of programmes. More than 1,800 people are poised to enrol and embark on what at any other time of the year would be described the start of term. They are coming from all over. The summer has always been a moment in the year for new experiences and adventures. And for cerebral beings, that can mean relocating for a few days to several weeks and flexing their intellectual muscles in the community of learning that is King’s College London.

I’d like to say that there is something for everyone, but if the Internet has taught us anything it’s that there’s some pretty select areas of interest in human society! So, I’ll simply say that there’s an impressive range of classes on offer; a range that works hard to give the world a taste of the research and learning that is the fabric of King’s everyday. A range designed to peak the interest of you out there in the ether and beckon you in to join in the discussion.

“Lifelong friendships with people from across the globe” – Louise

From Healthcare and Technology to Ancient Greek, Psychology to Politics, King’s College London is in the happy position of being a specialist-generalist research institution, so we are luckier than most when it comes to putting together options for summer students. This year’s Pre-University Summer School participants certainly think so! 600+ of them, all high school students aged 16-18, will be heading to class to explore engineering, politics, science, history and literature, and so on. That’s 600 developing minds filled with ideas and opinions and ready to shake things up. Where better to do so than at one of the best universities in the world?!

Summer Education Abroad students in Berlin

Education abroad courses are also in the portfolio. King’s has long championed studying abroad as a stalwart of an internationalised curriculum and this year we kicked off the summer study season with a course that uses Berlin as its classroom. 50 students studying for King’s degrees flew out to explore civic engagement Berlin-style, taking a journey through the social, economic and political change in Germany. A key component of this course and many of our other summer courses has been exploring ideas around personal agency and asking how people exercise their personal agency to bring about changes in their communities. Not only is this line of inquiry a direct arrow into the heart of our university motto, “In the service of society” but also heralds King’s institutional strategy around “Service” that’s due to be published in the new academic year.

Pre-University Summer School students with their course ambassador

Education is a cornerstone of personal empowerment and there’s nothing like a truly international classroom to bring the richest of learning experiences to campus. One of the fascinating areas of any discipline is understanding transnational perspectives and their application within research hypotheses. And the summer classroom, with its intensive learning format (the summer is only so long!) leads the way on active learning. Increased contact time and an emphasis on experiential learning via practitioner speakers and academic-led site visits means that learning is intense and truly flavoursome. What the short course format of a summer education course loses in extended personal reflection time, it gains in peer-to-peer debate and a fearless critical thinking-infused classroom.

So, come July 2nd, take a moment to consider what you could be learning in summers to come. At King’s we never stop exploring. And if that idea resonates with you, you know where you should be. #summeratkings #everybodywelcome

The Benefits of the IB World Student Conference

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By Dr Matt Edwards

During the summer, I had the pleasure of working with the King’s College London Summer School team on the IB World Student Conference, where 240 students from 23 different countries, all in their penultimate year of high school, explored the theme of ‘well-being in a healthy world: personal responsibility and global health’. The aim of the conference was for students to devise projects they could take back to their communities to help elicit positive change – no small task, but the IB asks students to be agents of positive change, and opportunities such as this conference are a great place to start.

The IB has been referred to as the ‘gold standard of education’; students not only have to study a Language, a Science, Maths, English and a Humanity, but also undertake Service in their community, write a 4,000 word Extended Essay on a novel piece of research and question how we know what we know in Theory of Knowledge. Anyone who has taught the IB knows just how powerful the programme is, and it is difficult not to sing its praises. The students at the IB conference were exercising many of the skills gained in their first year of the programme – one could see how they were questioning assumptions about Human Rights, the challenges of cultural relativism and how one can elicit genuine and sustainable change in one’s community. Their thoughtful and nuanced approach to the design of their projects reflected the skills they have already acquired from their IB Diploma. They were already aware of what makes projects successful having worked on a range of Service projects already back in their hometowns, and the insight shown by the students towards the shaping of meaningful projects was impressive. I know that their skills will only get stronger as all the students complete their programmes.

To paraphrase the famous quote, young people today live in exciting times – the increasingly globally-connected world gives us numerous possibilities, but at the same time, significant challenges. The conference explored some of those challenges with respect to well-being and asked the students to create tangible solutions. It asked a lot of these young people – to take responsibility, which can be difficult, even for an adult. King’s provided an excellent place to start their journey, with quality lectures on mental health in the young, the global refugee crisis and the social implications of an ageing population. Once the students had explored the problems, we moved on to solutions – further King’s lectures on social entrepreneurship and how students and staff at King’s were innovating solutions to these and other problems.

Students spent afternoons discussing various diverse topics including human rights, failure and project development, so they could move towards projects they could build themselves. The material provided by the lectures was invaluable in shaping these ideas. Over the course of the week, it was incredible to see young people from all parts of the world working together to tackle issues that were common to them all – parental pressure for success, the stigma of mental health around the world or tackling assumptions about race, gender and religion. Students made teaser videos of their projects to hone their message, and presented their project in a ‘dragon’s den’ style pitching session to members of the King’s team. It was a wonderfully fun week and there was a genuine buzz during the whole time.

Reflecting on the conference, I was thinking that these young people will soon be heading to university, voting for the first time and making decisions about their (and others) future; having a university-like experience at this age helps them to better understand what is available to them, and how they should value that opportunity and grab it with both hands. The time they spent at King’s has given them a set of skills to go and change the world for the better – and I was pleased to be a witness.

 

Academic discovery and personal development: the Pre-University Summer School

Untitled design 2As we said farewell to the 255 high school students who joined us this summer for the Pre-University Summer School it struck us once again how dramatically the programme has grown since its inception in 2013.

Starting with 50 students in its first year the programme now looks and feels very different, but its core objective remains the same: to offer students a taste of university life in London at one of the world’s best universities, King’s. With a packed timetable of lectures, seminars, group activities and skills based workshops this two week programme allows students to experience the style and demands of undergraduate level study and to build their skills and confidence for the future. Many of them also opt to live in our halls of residence which provides a valuable cultural opportunity, as one student put it, “to understand how people from all around the world think and live”*. It is an intensive and highly rewarding experience and as we begin to plan for our 5th summer we have been reflecting on the successes of this year’s developments to inform our approach.

Diversifying our offer
Summer 2016 was when we launched a newly designed Pre University Summer School. It had a lower cost to participants than previous programmes that we had offered and had a larger range of academic course options that we’d been able to offer in the past. As a result, we were thrilled to receive 40% more students on to campus and into our learning community.

Medicine, Psychology, Law, Business Management, Politics opened King’s doors to a whole new set of students. The appetite for the health-related courses in particular was huge. Student feedback suggests that in the case of vocational subjects, where study involves a heavy investment of time and energy, the chance to ‘try out’ the subject and find out what it entails is an attractive proposition –“I came in being unsure about my future prospects, I left almost positive that I wanted to pursue psychology”.

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Developing the curriculum
We recognised that the students applying to our summer school had strong academic capabilities so we designed the 2016 programme accordingly to be as challenging and immersive as any of King’s rigorous undergraduate level programmes. An extended timetable included afternoon seminars in the daily schedule, allowing students to engage with academic literature and case studies which would feature in degree-level study. All courses also set their students two assignments, designed to mirror the undergraduate assessment patterns of the relevant subject. One class was even asked to submit their written assignment (to critically assess a referendum as a decision making tool for government) via the plagiarism software Turnitin.

Summer learning is a natural extension of King’s faculties’ teaching agenda and so summer students get access to the same active and experiential learning as year-round degree students, with hugely popular visits to laboratories, research facilities and training centres. On the Medicine course, for example, students spent a morning gaining valuable clinical skills experience at the Chantler Simulation and Interactive Learning Centre and this was cited as one of the best aspects of the course in the end of course evaluation. With 96% of students stating the programme helped them develop their academic skills and with a 10% increase to 91% of students agreeing that the overall programme met their expectations we will continue to challenge and extend our students through a dynamic and rigorous academic offer.

Enhancing our pastoral care
At its heart the Pre-University Summer School is also designed to offer an insight into university life: independent living, being a responsible adult and building positive relationships with a new and diverse group of people. As such, and with a 54% increase in the number of residential students this summer, we implemented a change within our pastoral staffing to better support students outside of the classroom. Every year King’s employs current King’s students as student ambassadors to supervise the Pre-University students due to their age (mostly under 18). However, this year we refined the staffing structure and placed a greater emphasis on the role of specialist pastoral ambassadors, who were assigned a discrete group of students within the accommodation for the duration of the programme. These ambassadors were instrumental in enhancing the feeling of a safe and secure environment and we therefore scheduled more time on arrival day for introductions, icebreakers and briefings about the programme which were all conducted within these pastoral groups. This allowed students to get to know their assigned ambassador, and vice versa, but also fostered a sense of community within these small groups. One of our returning students noticed these subtle developments, commenting that it “was amazing to see that by the end of the programme the flats were more like small families”.