Ecole de Savignac – Erasmus Policy
As part of its strategic drive towards modernisation and formalised recognition for the existing internationalization of the school, the Ecole de Savignac (EDS) has decided to apply for the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education. The school has had a ten year-long history of international academic partnerships and work placement experience and the co-directors of the school now recognise the need to obtain official recognition of this work.
Partnerships have been formed with nine establishments in five different European countries (The UK, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland). These have come about by a variety of routes. Our longest partnership with Stratford upon Avon College and the University of West London (UK) developed as a result of a Leonardo Project in vocational education. This led to the creation of a two-year Foundation Degree in Hospitality Management which has been running for nine years. From this partnership, a Bachelor ‘Top up’ degree in Hospitality Management was also created, which is in its seventh year. Each of these degrees involves study in both France and the UK.
EuroCHRIE (European Council on Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Education) has proved a rich source of partnership contacts. As the result of meeting at the EuroCHRIE annual conference, EDS formed a partnership with the University of Brighton to launch our European Bachelors Degree in International Hospitality Management (now four years old), a three year degree studied in EDS for the first year, the Centro Superior de Hosteleria de Galicia in Santiago de Compostela in Spain or the Angell Business School in Freiburg Germany for the second year and Brighton University for the third year. All of these partnerships derived from EuroCHRIE contacts. The European Bachelors Degree has now incorporated a partnership with Wittenborg University in The Netherlands, which is an existing partner of the University of Brighton.
Potential partners for the future have also been proposed by our Bologna expert who, by nature of his job, comes into contact with an enormous number of possible partners every day. Equally, as EDS is now an Approved Centre for delivery of Edexcel BTEC HND diploma courses, the International Director of Edexcel frequently puts other European institutions in contact with EDS.
L’Ecole de Savignac was founded as an Ecole Supérieure Internationale and although ‘international’ appears in its title, the school has no formal acknowledgement of its international credentials. Therefore, a major objective of the school gaining the Erasmus Charter will be the visual ‘internationalization’ of the school. This will give the school the recognition for all the international work it has already undertaken and, hopefully, give the school a much wider international profile in the field of European Higher Education and Hospitality Management. Gaining the charter will enable the school to apply for other Erasmus-linked projects. This, in turn, will give teachers and administration staff from EDS the opportunity to visit other establishments to see how they work and this will inevitably lead to cross-fertilization of ideas, working methods, curricula etc. As the school has no permanent faculty, but instead uses visiting lecturers from mainland France and several European countries, contact with other institutions will also increase our pool of teachers/lecturers who could, potentially, come to EDS to teach.
Alongside these objectives are other major goals of encouraging and facilitating the mobility of students and achieving international credence for the enormous element of internship/work placements that the school has undertaken for twenty-five years. It is this aspect of combining high level academic and theoretical study with substantial periods of working in the field of Hospitality that has made and kept EDS so popular with potential students, the Hospitality Industry and the French State. Thanks to this very practical element of all students’ study at EDS, the post-study employment record for the school is extremely high (72% of all Masters students are employed within three months of graduating, with 90% within the first six months). The Hospitality Industry is very rapidly developing in the Asian and South American markets and yet less than 2% of our students consider internships in these geographical areas, as the cost of travel and subsistence is very often prohibitive. The opportunity to apply for grants for traineeships will encourage many more students to venture abroad for their work placements. Also, the idea of study periods abroad for the Masters students has never been an option before, but could be seriously considered if the school had its Erasmus Charter.
By addressing EDS will
EDS hopes to show the impact of the European Union’s Modernisation and Internationalisation Agenda in Higher Education on the school by addressing the following five priority areas (Key issues)
Key issue 1
Through full adoption of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the EHEA, there should be an incremental increase in attainment levels. It is intended to institute a system of target setting across all diplomas, with individual personal targets for students being agreed between them and their teachers and increased attainment targets for each module agreed with individual module teachers.
As part of the improvement in standards in QA, all planning and assessment documents will be streamlined and improvements in classroom delivery will be made through constructive lesson observation by trained quality assessors.
Key Issue 2
EDS already has a very good reputation for involving the Hospitality Industry in improving the quality and relevance its diplomas. The co-directors are in constant communication with leading companies and providers in the field, and often on their recommendations, elements are added to courses and even new diplomas have been created to cater for the specific needs of the industry. This is evidenced by the high rate of employability of our students.
A major need within the school is the training of teachers in advanced use of the Information and Communication Technology which the school has installed to modernise classroom delivery. This is a priority as the expensive equipment is capable of so much more than is being seen at present.
Key Issue 3
The Co-director with responsibility for external relations has already started to make close links with other HE institutions in France and other parts of Europe and North Africa to facilitate mobility between institutions. These arrangements are ad hoc at the moment but would become more formalised and regular if EDS held the Erasmus Charter. It has been a long-held wish to have exchange of students and teachers on our MBA programme. Again, the Erasmus Charter would give us the framework to do this. EDS recognises the importance of ECTS and will continue to do so, so that all periods of study and traineeship will be fully recognised by ECTS credits. All the school’s qualifications are linked to the European Qualifications Framework and, as most of the Short and First Cycle diplomas are validated by British university and academic institutions, they are automatically linked to the EQF.
Key Issue 4
Entrepreneurial learning is a cornerstone of our curriculum.
EDS offers CPD for staff of Hospitality companies, as such EDS is becoming recognised as knowledge centre. BA and MBA have business consultancy modules which put students and teachers in close contact with current businesses. On business Open Days, hospitality companies visit the school to promote their companies and recruit able students. At present EDS does not have the finance or infrastructure to support research students.
Key Issue 5
EDS is funded by the CCID and student fees. EDS is encouraged to seek external funding, but within the strictures of the CCID. It does not receive public funding.
EDS must move within the strategic direction of the CCID, therefore it cannot be totally autonomous. By adopting the ‘Standards and Guidelines for QA in the EHEA’ and international accreditation the school hopes to become a centre of excellence in International Hospitality Management.