2014 Press Releases

Sorbonne-Universités appointment for former UCC VP

21 Nov 2014

Former UCC Vice-President for Teaching and Learning Professor Grace Neville has been appointed to the post of Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee of Sorbonne-Universités, Paris, for a five year term 2014-2019. 

Sorbonne-Universités is a cluster of eight of France’s leading research and teaching institutions including l’Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris 4), l’Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6), INSEAD Business School, le Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, l’Université de Technologie de Compiègne, INSERM and the CNRS (see www.sorbonne-universites.fr).

Professor Neville, who is also an adjunct professor of French in UCD, hails from Greenmount in Cork City. Sorbonne-Universités has 58,000 students and about 8,000 academic staff.

In 2010, France launched a 35 billion euro investment programme in national infrastructure, of which 19 billion euro was ring-fenced for research and higher education. As part of this programme, Professor Neville was appointed Chair of an initiative on innovative teaching and learning in higher education in France, with a budget of 150 million euro. 

Among Professor Neville’s fellow board members are the Honorary Director of the Louvre (Académie Française member Pierre Rosenberg), the President of Renmin University, Beijing (Professor Yulu Chen), the President of the German Rectors’ Conference (Professor Horst Hippler), the Dean of the Wharton Business School (Professor Tom Robertson) and the former Governor General of Canada (Right Honorable Michaelle Jean).

Lessons for higher education in Ireland?

“The current re-imagining of higher education and research in France is very exciting. It prioritises interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration, and allows for greater student mobility between universities, grandes écoles and institutes of technology”, said Professor Neville.

“The current debate on higher education in Ireland would be immensely richer if we were to look beyond the English-speaking world at examples of best practice elsewhere, for instance in France and Germany”, she stated.

“However, that would require our decision-makers to be able to access languages other than English. It would also raise the increasingly fraught question of the status and provision of foreign-language learning in this country", Professor Neville added.

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