Nicole Lacasse, Vice-Rector for Academic and International Affairs, Laval University

In exchange, the added value comes from the difference

Based on the work developed in this workshop, how do you envision future collaboration with Cruch?
We had a good exchange between both groups and I think we can do a lot of things together. For the same reason, since we have so many possibilities, we must define exactly where we start. We have seen that we already have some activities together, but they are individual. I take a good impression of this workshop, that we can continue working and it was not just a meeting and nothing more.

What could be a good starting point for collaboration?
It may be that co-tutelage is a good starting point, since the reason for this meeting was PhD training and internationalization alternatives in this area. A good step to improve our collaboration would be co-supervision but it is only the beginning, we also have to talk about stays for students and researchers, joint seminars of professors at the researcher level, among other things.


From Laval, what are the areas in which you would be interested in working with Chile?

We already have collaboration with Chilean universities in some areas. We have a program in mining engineering, we also work on forestry and environmental issues with Chilean universities, but here I discovered that we could develop the area of anthropology, because we have good programs and a research center in which we seek to research and work with our native peoples. , that would be a good area to develop.
I was surprised that in the workshop no one mentioned the need to work in the general education area, because we could collaborate in that area taking into account that it is an area that is waiting for a great reform in Chile today. For me it is an important issue.

You mentioned in your presentation that more than a problem of resources, the biggest problem is the recognition of courses by universities, why does this happen?
It is because the professors who are in charge of recognizing the courses that are taken abroad are looking for it to be exactly the same course that is taken at the home university. But we have to understand that if it is going to study abroad, they should not be expected to do the same, it is necessary to understand that the added value comes from the difference.
An example, we are working on a master's program with a double degree with France, in environmental law. This was interesting because we knew American law very well and they knew European legislation, so the students learn the two laws and in the end you have a better professional in Environmental Law.

How to work on this issue with academics?
In Laval, 15 years ago, if we asked them to recognize the equivalence of a course, you would send them the plan and they would tell you that they were not equivalent. Now we work with the director of the program, we tell him that he is in charge of mobility and of recognizing the courses. We also ask them to choose which institutions to collaborate with, while we help and support, but the project is theirs. So now when they evaluate a course that is not exactly the same as the one they teach, but which can add enough value, they validate it. Something positive happens when you put people in charge.

How to choose the institutions with which to collaborate?
There are two alternatives. We have strategic partners, and in that category we think of a complex university, the same size as us, because for a general relationship we must have several faculties to generate relationships between them and it must be a significant alliance for both.
Another alternative is to support researchers who are already working together, a small university with a specific area of excellence can be a good ally in this alternative. In this case, an institutional commitment is not required, many times it goes through a personal commitment from the academics. We let them work and we provide the help that is needed. In general, to work with small universities we use this system, having a specific project on the table. If it is realistic, we support it and carry it out.

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See the interview with Nicole Lacasse, Vice-Rector for Academic and International Affairs, University of Laval