Students Staff

12 October 2018

Say hello to the College Director for the new University of Essex International College

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 10:38 am

Meet Danny Martin, College Director for Kaplan’s new University of Essex International College at Colchester.

Danny Martin

How long have you worked for Kaplan?

I’ve been with Kaplan for just over three months. Prior to that, I spent a decade in China working for Pearson with Wall Street English. I was responsible for the daily operations of 25 language training centres, involving 23,000 students.

My original plan was to stay in China for one year, but I really loved teaching. I loved going to work every day knowing I was helping students to open the door to future opportunities.

 What attracted you to this role?

After I returned to the UK, I saw this opportunity with Kaplan which has brought me to Essex.  I wanted to continue working with international students and I was looking for a role with a company that shared the same common values. I felt that with Kaplan, and when I came to Essex I was really impressed by all the people I met at the campus and the prospect of working with a really great university.  It was a perfect storm of opportunity.

How many people are there on the UEIC team?

We have four people in the support team and 17 teachers.  Between the team , we speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Greek, Italian,  Arabic, French and Russian. I’m afraid to say I don’t speak much Mandarin after all my time in China!

How many students do you have?

We currently have 115 students on three different courses. The first programme is a foundation certificate for students who have completed their high school education in their home country. They come to us to work on their academic skills, their English and subject knowledge before progressing to their undergraduate degree at Essex.

In addition, we offer two International Year One programmes which allow students to progress to the second year of Business or Economics degrees at Essex.

Finally we offer pre-Masters courses to help develop English language and study skills.

Why is Essex so attractive to internatlonal students?

It really depends where you come from. For some students they want to work abroad and a UK degree is easily recognisable.

For many though, they want to work with international companies in their home countries. It is more prestigious, and more highly thought of, to achieve a degree from a good university abroad.

The students are also looking forward to embracing a new culture and environment.

What do you think of your new home in the Constable Building?

We are privileged to have such a great working environment. Estates and Campus Services, the Academic Partnerships team and the IT team have been tremendous, a lot of thought has gone into this.

For instance, all the classrooms have natural light which helps you mentally and physically and the rooms are designed to encourage collaborative learning.

What extra curricular activities are you arranging? 

We are trying to run at least one major outside activity a month for the students. The next trip is to Fright Night at Thorpe Park. We have been to the zoo and we will head to some museums. In the long term we will look to go further afield, perhaps to Edinburgh or Cambridge.

I’m looking forward to seeing our first cohort progress through to the university and to seeing their friendships form. We are looking to recruit student reps. I am a thorough believer that we can always improve.

What did you miss the most when you were in China?

I will be stereotypically Scottish and say Irn-Bru!


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