Matthias Vishera (Sciences po Paris): “I want to revive the relationship with the IEP in the region, equal rights”

You took over as director after the institutional and media crisis associated with the Duhamel case. What is the position of Sciences po Paris today?

Everyone wants to turn the page and find a new life. I threw extensive consultations with internal communities, learn the expectations and opinions of employees. It ended on March 22, and working groups will be established. We will launch a study among students with the support of Cevipof and an alumni consultation.

It should be remembered, however, that during this crisis the institution continued to perform very well in its core activities: training and research were carried out, always with very good results in terms of project applications. Internationally, these cases ultimately had little impact.

What is the status of combating gender and sexual violence (SGBV)?

France Victimes external support unit established. The Investigation Unit is led by the Magistrate, and the VSS Desk Officer, attached to the General Administration, interacts with the VSS Desk Officers on campuses. Improvements are always possible, in particular to better support non-French speaking students.

Our awareness raising activities can also be improved to be more responsive.. Today there is a complete device: from now on, everyone should know very practically how it works. For example, to know, in case of a problem, who should be contacted first.

Sciences po Paris: Matthias Vishera wants to breathe new life into it

You make the well-being of students one of the priorities of your actions, in particular by taking action against discrimination …

Yes, the idea is to have a referent on these issues and have the same complete system for dealing with discrimination as we do for dealing with GBV. It must be specific: for example, if there is racism, it must be fought. I do not want to put myself in the plane of theoretical discussions, I want to give specific answers.

However, students alert the media, accusing the institute of discriminating against people with disabilities or those with health problems?

I signed up for an appointment with this team, and the student life guide also came in. They are right when they raise the issue of disability accounting. Efforts are being made at Sciences Po. In such a situation, at least 350 students out of 15,000 are recognized and they are respected but we still need to improve. Measures are taken daily to support situations of disability or disabling illnesses.

Some students may not have told us about their situation. In these individual cases, we must progress because we must help these students.

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What role will the Sciences Po campuses play in the regions?

I just finished my campus tour of France. I will think about the organization, but I do not question the presence of campuses in the regions, which is very good. Among the questions that I study, the distribution of students between campuses and the strengthening of special courses offered on campuses.

As for the Institutes of Policy Studies, do you have projects for mutual cooperation?

Yes, it is important that our institution be in contact with other Sciences Po. I want to revive relations with regional IEPs, peers. We gathered for a seminar with all the directors of the IEP in mid-March.

Today, gathering moments are centered on eloquence contests or sports competitions. There would be more to do for student cooperation.

It is important that our institution be in contact with other Software Sciences.

We could go further by developing joint projects. Partner courses available : on transitions and sustainable development, for example. Or on the issue of equal opportunity, facilitating a better dialogue between our systems and our networks of partner schools. Especially as Sciences po Paris aims to move from 166 to 200 high schools in the Education Priority Agreement (CEP), targeting rural and suburban areas to achieve 15% integration in 2023, up from 10% today.

We can clearly see phenomena like #SwineSciences that our establishments are perceived as a whole and that we share themes – that go beyond our institutions. We obviously want to work on bringing together best practices against sexual and gender-based violence.

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You positively assess the post-baccalaureate admission reform in terms of social openness, since in 2021 29% of applicants were on scholarships (+5 points). But what about the strategies of those entering these CEP high schools when they can try the classical path?

It could happen. We are acting on two points: we are organizing a gradual renewal of lyceums, which lead some high schools to exit the CEP system. And we’re trying to identify these traversal strategies while examining the files. However, in a sense, it improves the social composition of these secondary schools.

But the system works. We noticed that those admitted from CEP show the same integration scores. An exception may be competitions for the highest civil service, where there are much fewer of them for registration. This is something we need to address with the new talent classes.

In general, after this second session on hiring, we will take stock of the reform.

We always think that you must have a very good profile to join Science Po… Is there room for average high schoolers who go on to become straight A students?

We are not only recruiting students from 19/20. But this is reality: you need a very good level to integrate the sciences of. Again, with Parcoursup, it’s better to be 18 in Bordeaux than 13 in Paris. In 2021, the reform also made it possible to “deparise” our recruitment.

We are also very curious about trajectories in high school.. If a student changes schools between their first and final year, we will be able to assess their adaptability. If his grades go down and then go up, we take into account his ability to recover and so on.

We are not only recruiting students from 19/20. But this is reality: you need a very good level to join science po.

We also have admission to the master’s program. And the goal is to offer work and study programs in each of our schools. We hope to open at the beginning of the 2022 or 2023 academic year the School of Law and the Paris School of International Relations, which do not yet offer this.

These new tests, different from those known in high schools, will they not benefit those who can pay for private tuition?

I think that on the contrary, formatting and cramming on the side plays less than when there were written tests. Successful image commenting is less tied to social originbecause it is an open test that does not require knowledge.

In relation to current events, how is the establishment involved in the conflict in Ukraine?

Our priority is to take care of our Ukrainian and Russian students. We will also welcome Ukrainian students and researchers, and these students will receive a tuition grant. Especially since our connection is strong, as our campus in Dijon is focused on Central and Eastern Europe.

We have suspended our agreements with five of our Russian partners, as well as our double degree with MGIMO., Moscow Institute of International Relations. On the other hand, we want to continue to welcome Russian students and researchers.

On the scientific side, we offer two series of conferences – on the economic aspect and on the geostrategic and geopolitical implications. We see thatthere is a request for transcript from our students.

Does this reinforce your desire to “bring science back to the city center”?

Yes, this is one of my strategic directions. And we see that Sciences Po researchers are ubiquitous in the media analyze the situation from the geopolitical, economic and social points of view. To me, one who teaches in the sciences should be in the arena with one foot. It’s not just a matter of being in his magisterium, in the establishment. There is a civic role in public speaking.

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