Excelia is not only a recognised teaching establishment, but also a place where there is great emphasis on research. Committees for pedagogical innovation, think tanks and faculty organisation are led by the Dean of the Faculty, Mrs. Valérie Fernandes. Responsible, in particular, for the management of permanent and temporary teaching staff as well as running various teaching and research centres, Mrs. Fernandes explains the links between education, innovation and student employability.
A teaching body dedicated to the employability of its students
Conscious of its role in offering students an education that is in line with company needs, Excelia’s teaching body combines expertise and economic pragmatism. Made up of eight teaching and research departments, the Group continually strives to offer its students an education that not only satisfies the intellectual curiosity of each and every one of them but also, and more importantly, an education that encompasses current economic issues.
The Group’s teachers and researchers are recruited for both their expertise and ability to adapt their pedagogy to the increasingly progressive practices demanded by today’s students. In addition, they are resolute in integrating new methods and activities into the heart of their teaching. The use of screens, adapting course content to the level of each student and, of course, e-learning all now constitute the foundations of modern and effective teaching.
Employability also means developing a global outlook, therefore the Group offers its students the possibility of a social and human experience through its Humacité© programme.
Offering innovative pedagogy reflecting today's world
“Aware that traditional teaching methods are no longer in vogue, since 2014, Excelia has been driving forward a digital transformation of its teaching practices. Today, 15% of our management courses are online. We have faced the challenge of getting everyone involved in this digitalisation project and are succeeding with confidence. I am proud to witness a strong faculty involvement in this project,” highlights Valérie Fernandes.
Since it is clear that in the coming years e-learning will continue to progress, Excelia has created a department dedicated to this area of development. Known as the ‘Excelia Lab’, this laboratory, dedicated to research and to the exchange of best practices in e-learning, is a clear example of what will be the norm in tomorrow’s world of education.
As innovation particularly comes about through ‘exchange’, the Group regularly publishes a variety of material detailing the work of its teachers in terms of innovation.. For example, the Book Innovation Pédagogique (pedagogical innovation book) and Lettre de Prospective (planning letter) are two solid examples of our commitment. But that's not all, seminars, e-learning courses and cutting-edge teaching practices are also clear indicators of how teaching will evolve within the Group in the coming years.
Finally, as Excelia is part of the global economic environment, the faculty clearly reflects this multicultural universe. Modern foreign language lessons as well as varied and effective teaching methods are shaping the pillars of education within this rapidly-growing Group. It is therefore common for students to become actors in their own education through so-called ‘flipped learning’.
Placing emphasis on research in all its forms
Through its research lecturers who all hold PhDs, Excelia, a veritable hub of knowledge sharing and transmission, carries out various works focussing on the Group’s areas of expertise. Environmental management and CSR, tourism management and organisational agility are therefore explored in a proactive manner by the entire teaching body.
Furthermore, Excelia, firmly implanted in its region, continually develops synergies with local companies through its Institutes. The Institute for Sustainability through Innovation (IRSI) and the Tourism Management Institute (TMI) are testament to the Group’s expertise and its capacity to innovate on both an academic and economic level.
With a permanent connection to the corporate world, since 2017, Excelia has been looking into company agility, notably digitalisation and the various forms of collaborative work. At the same time, conducting in-depth work through its case laboratory ‘INNOV Case Lab’, which today is a benchmark in the field of pedagogy, the Group combines academic research with the practical application of formulated ideas.
“Although fundamental research is noble, within the Group what motivates us on a daily basis is the application of this research within the world of business. Today, for example, we are carrying out specific work on expanded accounting, Smart Cities and even the circular economy,” Valérie Fernandes.
Solid and firmly rooted in its region, through its research work and numerous innovations, notably pedagogical, Excelia has confirmed its ability to support and guide both its students and faculty towards excellence. In addition, the Group has shaped and directed its growth to ensure the development of a state-of-the-art education with a strong global emphasis. Excelia, a demanding body placing high emphasis on human values, is more than ever committed to a strong, involved and innovative education that actually has an impact on its sector by redesigning the rules a little more every day.
About Valérie Fernandes
A teacher at Excelia, Valérie Fernandes has been Dean of the Faculty since 2013. In 2004, she obtained her PhD in Management Science from the University of Corsica, under the supervision of Pr. ORSONI, and her HDR* in 2015 from the University of Evry-Val d’Essonne, under the supervision of Pr. AMMI. The theme of her doctoral thesis was ‘The methods of supply chain control, using the company EUROCOPTER as a study area’. Her HDR focussed on ‘Industrial performance: a sustainable management approach to the supply chain’. Following this, she developed an interest in the sustainable management of the supply chain and the link between sustainable development and the relocation of industrial companies.
Working within Excelia’s Strategy Department, her current research focuses particularly on the circular economy and the resilience of regions (with emphasis on port activities), as well as on sustainable procurement and risk management. Since 2014, she has also been Vice President of the Development Committee of the Atlantic Port of La Rochelle (having been a member since 2012) as well as a member of the committee Matière Énergie Rochelaise (La Rochelle energy sources) since 2016.
*Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches – qualification authorising Research Lecturers to advise doctoral students or oversee research