Proposed by University of Aix-Marseille
A research-intensive university present in four departments and nine cities, the University of Aix-Marseille, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has managed to develop and structure a multidisciplinary training offer with a focus on personalization of courses. Interview with Sophie Meynet de Cacqueray, Deputy Vice President for General Affairs in Training.
Structured in five disciplinary sectors, the University of Aix-Marseille invests heavily in student success. What are your biggest strengths, in your opinion?
This interdisciplinarity is a great asset. Having all these disciplines is our strength, with different students, professors and researchers. It is a great opportunity for young people to be able to count on this extremely important offer in internationally recognized sectors in the economic world. It is extremely gratifying for the territory of Aix-Marseille, which is even a little simplistic, because we go far beyond this territorial sector. When we were created 10 years ago, it was true that it was not easy to gather all these forces. Today, we see that the bet was largely successful thanks to our ability to open the field of possibilities for students and teachers. Whatever the teaching subject, you will find highly qualified interlocutors. I myself, as a professor and jurist, have set up research projects with sociologists and economists on issues that bring us together.
“Students are asking for more interaction”
One of the great strengths of AMU is the customization of courses. How does this translate into practice?
It all depends on the diplomas and the number of students involved. When you have 700 students in L1 entitlement, course customization is obviously more complex to configure. A number of UFRs have created customized courses in order to support new graduates arriving at the university, students experiencing failure or temporary incapacity, or others undergoing requalification. We tried to fight failure in the first year with a lot of support systems. We have also established measures for excellent students who, in turn, need to be fed more. For example, we are developing dual licenses, such as law and eco-management, law and art history, or law and letters. The personalization of a course is done a lot year after year, in the possible orientations, in the choices, in the entrance doors. At L1, students should have time to acclimatize before choosing options in the Master’s for their professional integration.
What are your areas of improvement in terms of individualization of courses?
We are thinking about our training offer for 2024, because we need to go even further in this customization, especially for students connected to support systems. The decree of July 30, 2018 on the national degree includes many advances in terms of reinforcing the personalization of courses, with the creation of the educational contract for student success and the development of continuous assessment. For extremely large promotions, you cannot meet each student one by one. That’s why we created the ConPeRe computer tool, in which we have the signed learning contract. We take each request into account, then adapt. Until 2024, the challenge is to put the student at the center of their project and their career. In order to promote success and interdisciplinarity, the question of the connection with the socio-economic world and the actors in the territory is raised. We understand that students have changed and that digital technology has disrupted the way we operate. They require more interaction. It seems to me that the lecture is coming to an end.
“The Rise of Learning Paths”
Does the Aix-Marseille ecosystem feed your ambitions and priorities in terms of guidance and integration?
In addition to academic knowledge, it is clear that the university world must be open to professional integration. Our students each come with their own history and background. It’s up to us to bring them to something else, whether in the context of immediate success or a reorientation. The strong element is the increased power of learning pathways. Increasingly, UFR is developing these work-study courses according to requests that come directly from companies in the area. More generally, with SIUO, we create modules dedicated to guidance and integration from L1, with CV and professional project construction workshops. But we also have a role to play from high school, in relation to the dean, because orientation starts before university. It is essential that high school students have the correct information. To take the example of law, this sector does not only lead to the professions of judge or notary. All these keys are essential for a high school student who is asking questions.
Finally, how does your social commitment translate?
You should know that all our licenses are gradually configuring teaching related to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), student engagement, sustainable development, gender equality. We will also have really reinforced courses in relation to these transversal themes and, therefore, additional credits granted to students. Disciplinary knowledge is not enough. Each student must acquire skills and know-how that serve him beyond what he will be called upon to do in the sector he will favor. Nowadays, a career is not as linear as it used to be. That is why our students must acquire knowledge by looking at society. They are individuals in their own right at the heart of an economic and democratic system.