Pedagogical Innovation Annual Conference (Colloque pédagogique)


Pedagogical Innovation Annual Conference (Colloque pédagogique)


Assemblée des directeurs d’IUT (Assembly of Directors of Universities’ Technological Institutes)

Name of the institution(s)

ADIUT – Assemblée des directeurs d’IUT (Assembly of Directors of Universities’ Technological Institutes): All 117 Technological Institutes nationwide

Qualification level concerned




Country concerned



Mission/Role of Professional Higher Education



Research, Development & Innovation


 Each network encourages its member institutions to develop Student-centred learning through pedagogical innovation. In large networks (IUTs, Engineering Schools) it has therefore been felt necessary to make such innovation more visible and disseminate it.

For example ADIUT’s involvement with its thousands of lecturers and professionals is rich in innovation in teaching and learning. To ensure that each pedagogical innovation at institution level is brought to light and discussed, a Pedagogical Innovation Annual Conference (Colloque pédagogique) has been taking place the last years. It provides exposition to the results of research into PHE education issue and also focuses on best practices from the network and its many partners.

See conclusions at (in French)

Sandwich courses for Level 5

In a system where the core awards are 2- and 3-year courses (DUT, Licence professionnelle), a number of IUTs have created sandwich courses (dual learning) in which students work a full year in partner enterprises according to the following pattern:

Year 1: 2 semesters of academic training, some programmes include a short (2 to 3-week) work experience session

Year 2: semester 3 of academic training + rest of the year with the entreprise + 1 or 2 short sessions at the institution

Year 3: 1 semester with the entreprise + Semester 4 of Academic training

Flexibility in dual education

The IUT of Le Havre (University of Le Havre) has found that most companies involved in the delivery of its dual education programmes found it difficult to adapt to a pre-set format of alternation of in-company training and university periods. The curriculum process now involves determining which dual education organisation each stakeholder considers more adapted to its situation. Discussion typically  involve:

– all companies interested in a programme (in the case of highly specialised Bachelors with a limited number of partners);

– local regional employers’ representatives (branches professionelles), when the scope of the programme is wider. Alternance (in French)

Most IUTs, some Master’s degrees and most Engineering Schools have also allied with regions and enterprises to deliver dual learning courses under the organisation of Apprenticeship: the total amount of prescribed teaching hours for apprentices does not differ from the mainstream organisation but they also have a part-time contract with a company during which they are given a real-world mission. Apprentices receive a salary, the learning institution is paid a fee by the employer and the region provides social benefits for the apprentices.

Moreover, one of the difficulties of PHE institutions is to combine Research, Innovation that is relevant to regional interests and the growing international competition for funding in University Research. This is particularly true for institutions in rural areas / regions. One of the solutions developed is for IUTs to provide their territories with centres to attract all research, development and innovation entities relevant to the area: university researchers, applied research co-funded by specific companies and the region, clusters and incubators have thus been gathered in one building and funded by multiple stakeholders. Unity of place is of the essence: it shorten access to time to quality research and allows the institution to provide advice and assistance for entities in need of R&D. High regional visibility makes it possible for these centres to reach smaller economic operators, eg. SME’s that would otherwise not have the time, means or self-confidence to come in contact with world-level Research entities in the big urban centres.

Example: IUT Cherbourg – Manche is located about 130 Km from its university (The university of Caen – Basse Normandie). It has two sites, each hosting 2 or 3 study departments. Researchers and lecturers having positions in these university sites have to work in relative isolation. A multipartite agreement with the region, the départment and industy clusters and representatives have led to the creation of a Centre technique en sécurité et innovation alimentaire, a research unit that fosters research, innovation, training by supporting all stakeholders involved as well as providing increased visibility for its operations.

Lessons learnt

Protection from AHE

PHE needs special funding: indeed, it uses specific equipment, its programmes contain a high level of laboratory work (which is carried out in small groups), it needs to enable its staff to frequently meet representatives of the world of work, it has to create the means for efficient assessment of its quality, etc. Because PHE is mainly part of universities, its funding and operations must therefore be protected from the interference of AHE. Who, for example, would deny that that a Diploma in Electrical Engineering is more costly to operate than a B.Sc. in Maths?

Therefore the French DUTs were, from the start, equipped with specific prerogatives:

1.      Only specific faculties can operate them: the IUTs;

2.      The dean or director, of each IUT enjoys a large measure of independence in terms of finances;

3.      Each university must sign a yearly Contract of Objectives and Means (COM) in which both its IUT and itself define the funding and quality levels directed to the IUT to deliver the national programmes; Each successive Law on HE has reasserted this: the last instance: Decree 2014-825 dated 21 July 2014 on Contracts of Objectives and Means of the University Institutes of Technology.

4.      Each IUT can negociate its student intake with the Regional Authority (not the University) (in number, quality of intake), etc.

Nevertheless, PHE has constantly been under criticised from AHE representatives, especially Rectors and Deans (Présidents, Doyens de facultés) who deems their protection and funding inacceptable and, at the same time, saw their recruitment as sub-standard.

To counter this, IUTs notably and some Engineering networks, have responded by constant political lobbying (ministry, Members of Parliament, Senators) as well as by developing connections with the leaders of the world of work, locally, regionally.

Each newly elected Director of IUT or Engineering School receives specific peer-organised training in the values of PHE and how to promote and defend them. It has been found that the best means of promotion is to position the PHE institutions at the core of local and regional activity and innovation.

Additional information

Separateness within Higher education

Since the 1960’s, the French approach has consisted in setting nationally-defined policies for PHE. Consultation with the world of work lies at the core of the national strategy for PHE

– at Master’s (EQF7) and Bachelor (EQF6) levels: each study programme must, by law, be governed by a Steering Committee: the Conseil de perfectionnement. QA is regulated by the relevant university’s body.

– at DUT (Diploma – EQF5) level, AHE and PHE have been separated giving rise to a dual system within the university. DUTs are only awarded by specific faculties within the university: the University Institutes of technology (IUTs).

Separation within the university has allowed PHE to assert its specificity while employing the same qualified staff, researchers and support systems as AHE.

It has been felt necessary to provide IUTs with a specific national QA system that deals specifically with PHE along the following lines:

– A curriculum is defined nationally for each broad specialty (26 specialties cover the whole range of PHE, excluding Medical and Social studies, Architecture and the Fine Arts which have their own schools outside the university).

– Each specialty has an Assembly of Heads of Department (HoD);

– Each Assembly of HoD contributes to a National Pedagogical Committee, which is composed of lecturers, researchers, employer representatives, employee representatives (union members) and Ministry of HE and Research.

Its secretary is a researcher; its president is a representative of employers.

It meets several times a year is to define a National Curriculum for the specialty.

– Each National Pedagogical Committee contributes to a National Committee (Commission consultative nationale) which is in charge of all aspects of Quality Assurance and is the umbrella organisation for all IUTs organisation in its dealing with authorities, legislators, etc.

Each IUT is created by the ministry (not its university) after advice from the National Committee.

Each department in each IUT is created then assessed according to how it delivers the National Curriculum and how it adjusts it to local, regional conditions and needs.

Since 1998 each study programme in France, whether 2-year long DUT or 3-Year long (Vocational) Bachelor has had to include a mentored project (projet tuteuré) for which a group of students work on a real-life industrial challenge. The university tutor provides the students with the relevant guidance. He and the company representative both assess the proposed solution during an oral presentation. Workload: 150 (student-)hours. 2 or 3 hours for the university tutor.

Also, each Licence professionnelle (EQF6) has its own internal quality assurance body (Conseil de perfectionnement) that comprises representatives of academics, professionals and students. It meets several times a year. Its attributions are:

– validating the teaching and learning programme;

– examining the students’ progress and proposing remedies to any difficulty;

– validating the work experience programme (company placement, dual education scheme, etc.) given to each student;

– organising the training of company tutors.

Example: IUT de Castres: (in French)

In many IUT’s, the work week has been extended to include Saturday mornings: this enables company staff (technicians, executives) to devote some time for students for teaching classes, being involved in project work or mentoring without interfering with their usual workload. More over each PHE institution has to setup a survey of its graduates through its Observatory of Student Life (OVE).

Contact details


First collected by

HAPHE project, 2013-2015


Rating of GOOD practices
1-poor ..5-ok .. 10-excellent