F. Debouck (College of Lyon): “We’re going to rework the present Comue into a brand new authorized standing”

After several failures on the Lyon website, you announced a “profound transformation of COMUE by the end of 2023”. What will be the main changes?

The Comue had reached an impasse with three major difficulties. On the one hand, a loss of meaning. The idea was to build a target university as a foreshadowing in front of a large establishment. We thought we would make a castle that each of us would be a part of, but we were wrong. This project is dead and the state no longer supports it, withdrew Idex.

On the other hand, the statutes were poorly written. 52 appeals and two years of provisional administration were criticized. In addition to the loss of meaning, we had, therefore, the piloting of a temporary administrator whose mission is not to develop the object, but only to bring it to life.

Finally, Covid and its successive lockdowns have caused video conference meetings and employees at home. As a result, we were in the dark. I came to the presidency of this Comue with the desire to restore order. I will make major structural changes: redefine Comue’s objectives, redefine projects and perimeters, as well as participants, and find the right economic model since we lost Idex funding.

I came to the presidency of this Comue with the desire to restore order.

It will also be necessary to find the appropriate legal framework. By the end of 2022, I want a clear project on these points. The first six months will be devoted to transforming the current Comue into the new legal status.

F. Fleury (Lyon 1): “We want to leave a compartmentalized system to move towards transdisciplinarity”

Will the members of the Comue de Lyon therefore evolve?

In fact, it will be necessary to ask the actors the question to make some adjustments. Associated institutions can become members and members can become associates. Maybe other actors can join us, I have a request from Cesi (Higher education and vocational training campuses), for example. Ira (Regional Institute of Administration) can also join us.

What will be the priorities of your mandate?

The State is in the process of contracting with Lyon for the next five years and, in this context, we have three areas of development. First, monitor and support the establishments’ strategies. Before we were building, now we are supporting. For the merger of Lyon 1 and Lyon 2, for example, it is their project, but we will support them. There are also other approximation projects in the world of engineering and this coordination is imagined by Comue.

Plus, load and fly objects of common interest. There will be activities to bring science and society together and an activity to foster entrepreneurship. We will also coordinate the construction work, the Izly student card for all establishments and the master plan for student life.

Finally, promote the Lyon-Saint Etienne website, which represents 250 players in higher education and 230,000 students. The site is very proud of all its schools. There are few Comue as big as this one. Even Paris-Saclay University has fewer players around the table, although they are solid, prestigious players.

How the University of Saint-Etienne influenced the Lyon Idex

What are the upcoming projects of Comue Université de Lyon?

Future projects are also taking shape around three axes. On the one hand, we want to make sense. Players are approaching, such as the Universities of Lyon 1 and Lyon 2, or an upcoming engineering project. The Comue has an urbanist role in relation to these constructions. We must also take care of co-ownership: making the paths that connect the different constructions, thinking about shared objects…

On the other hand, we are leading a major ecological transition project. All establishments are aware of Earth Overshoot Day. Entering the savings bank only takes once, you have to rebuild a way of life. I would like Comue to carry out a major project to coordinate the transition to a sustainable development policy. We need to rethink our model and avoid greenwashing. Each director took on a project and the director of the ENTPE (School of Sustainable Territorial Development), an institution subordinate to the Ministry of Ecology, will coordinate the transition plans for the site. There will certainly also be a major real estate project for the entire Lyon-Saint Etienne site to comply with the Paris agreements within ten years. The university must be exemplary in this matter.

Finally, we want to encourage initiatives. We are listening to a large number of actors : we must offer them invitations to projects that suit them and, if necessary, support their response.

What will be the consequences of the merger of Lyon 1 and Lyon 2 for the University of Lyon? After the failure of Idex, are you optimistic about the completion of this project scheduled for 2024?

This is a recent project, launched three months ago. I see a significant influence for a new project, which proves it’s a good idea. Bringing Lyon 2 and Lyon 3 together raises questions because some departments of these two universities have similar themes, but this is not the case for Lyon 1 and Lyon 2, which are more complementary.

I would like Comue to carry out a major project to coordinate the transition to a sustainable development policy.

Will they be ready for January 2024? We can only wish for them even if the journey is long. The deadline is short, but it’s realistic. It is a work of dialogue, of harmonizing practices and work… which raises concerns among the staff. All this has to be anticipated. We see them every Tuesday morning and they give us feedback on their progress. When they want us to accompany them, which is not yet the case, the Comue will be by their side. It is in fact a project of the site piloted by the two establishments and the whole community gives its support.

Will the training courses common to several establishments in Comue see the light of day at the beginning of the 2022 school year?

If the Come can coordinate the training offer and support the creation of new interdisciplinary degrees, it is not intended to issue national degrees. This new orientation is an important element of our reconstruction.

In the next months, we want to build masters supported by various establishments. We still have to decide on establishments and themes. We can imagine new formations in which several members will be actors. For example, we could draw on the resources of Lyon 1 and Lyon 2, complemented by the music conservatory, an engineering school… The wealth of on-site training is so great that the world of possibilities is wide open.

Comue University of Lyon

The University of Lyon is a Community of Universities and Institutions (Comue) that brings together 11 members and 24 associates in Lyon and Saint-Étienne.
Coordinates and manages large structuring projects on behalf of the site’s establishments along three lines: contributing to an attractive and responsible university center that serves its students, professors, researchers and employees; to propose training and research areas in tune with the changes in society; and improve the Lyon Saint-Étienne area together with all its stakeholders.
The members :
Claude Bernard-Lyon University 1, Lumière-Lyon University 2, Jean Moulin-Lyon University 3, Jean Monnet-Saint-Étienne University, ENS de Lyon, Ecole Centrale de Lyon, INSA de Lyon, Sciences Po Lyon, VetAgro Sup, National School State Public Works, National School of Engineers of Saint-Étienne, CNRS.

Find Franck Debouck’s EducPros biography

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