Three miles west of Cambridge, in the village of Madingley, lies the imposing Madingley Hall. Built in the 1540s and previously used as student accommodation for a young Edward VII, it is now owned by the University of Cambridge, and serves as home to the Institute of Continuing Education.
Madingley Hall, home of the Institute of Continuing Education
The institute is the university's main hub for learning outside of the traditional college system, and offers residential, online and part-time courses, in a bid to widen access to the university's teaching and expertise.
While term at Cambridge's colleges is just getting started, the institute's director Dr Rebecca Lingwood is already hard at work after a busy summer.
She said: "What we do is, broadly speaking, adult education, which covers short courses and part time courses.
"That's everything from one and two-day courses, all the way through to two-year part-time master's degrees from the university, and almost everything in between.
"We cover a really broad subject range, and courses that might be for personal interest, though to things which are very much more professional-orientated, for people who want to move into a new field or develop skills in the field they are already in."
The range of courses offered is varied, with some resulting in a formal University of Cambridge qualification, while others are often used as 'taster courses', before enrolling fully at the University.
The structure of the courses also differs greatly, with one and two-day courses, weekend sessions, online courses and two-year part-time programmes.
Dr Lingwood said: "Some result in a university qualification, and some are purely for the learning.
"We also offer fully online and blended courses, so we can meet the needs of people that are not necessarily based locally, and able to travel frequently to Cambridge.
"Then in the summer we have our international summer schools, which bring well over 1,000 people from over 60 countries to Cambridge.
"The feedback we get is it's really transformational, and that's in lots of ways. It's about stimulating thought processes that haven't previously been there, enabling them to progress in their careers."
Over 6,000 students are currently enrolled with the institute, on over 600 different courses, which are overseen by a team of 13 academic staff.
For more about the courses available at Madingley, see www.ice.cam.ac.uk.Read more...
Source: Cambridge News