Learning from Crisis Management: FOCUS with Olivier Borraz

  • Olivier BorrazOlivier Borraz

What lessons can we learn from the French government’s management of the Covid-19 crisis? This first episode of the 3rd season of FOCUS–Sciences Po’s series of videos that invites researchers and professors to explore an idea or concept through the lens of their scholarly expertises–features Olivier Borraz, Professor of Sociology at Sciences Po and Researcher at the CNRS. In this episode, he explores the context, the reasons for the French government’s lack of preparation, the reticence of researchers to sound the alarm, and the need to learn from our strengths and weaknesses after the fact.

Watch the video: The health crisis, why we were unprepared

Join us each Monday for the next eight weeks as we delve into Sciences Po researchers’ wealth of knowledge on subjects as wide-ranging as they are thought-provoking.

The Sciences Po Editorial Team

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Teaching econometrics and the "R" language online

  • In-content view of teacher via OBS and green screen @Florian Oswald/Sciences PoIn-content view of teacher via OBS and green screen @Florian Oswald/Sciences Po

Florian Oswald is an Assistant Professor in the Sciences Po Department of Economics. Last year, he taught two courses to the students of the College: "Introduction to Econometrics with R", and "Advanced Econometrics with R", econometrics courses that use coding to illustrate the concepts.

How to work at distance with students who have to use computer equipment? Florian Oswald believes that it is more effective to ask them to carry out and experiment themselves, encouraging group work, using chat applications (in preference to e-mail) and not forbidding anything that might make the animation more cheerful and lively. He tells us about his experience and the feedback from his students.

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Faire face aux crises : les teaching fellows de Reims organisent un cycle de séminaires

  • Séminaire de novembre organisé par les Teaching Fellows de Reims ©Vincent WatelSéminaire de novembre organisé par les Teaching Fellows de Reims ©Vincent Watel

L'équipe des Teaching Fellows de Reims organise un cycle de séminaires sur le thème de la multiplication et l'accélération des crises actuelles : démocratique, économique, sociale, environnementale et sanitaire. Chacun des huit jeunes chercheurs issus de différentes disciplines (droit, histoire, économie et sociologie) analyse ces phénomènes et les réponses qu'ils appellent à travers une approche interdisciplinaire. La dernière session, qui réunit les 8, est consacrée à l'expérience de la recherche et au métier de chercheur.

Les séminaires sont ouverts aux étudiants et aux enseignants.

Pour toute information : margaux.bouaziz@sciencespo.fr.

The Commissions on Gender-Based Violence and on Ethics publish their conclusions

Read their conclusions
  • Entrance to 27 rue Saint-Guillaume ©Sciences PoEntrance to 27 rue Saint-Guillaume ©Sciences Po

The two commissions dedicated to the fight against gender-based and sexual violence and to fostering ethics within Sciences Po submitted the conclusions of their work to the Acting President Bénédicte Durand on Tuesday, 4 May 2021.

> Read the report of the commission on gender-based and sexual violence (fr)

> Read the report of the commission on ethics (fr)

Since the establishment of these two commissions on 17 February 2021, the chairpersons, Danièle Hervieu Léger and Catherine de Salins, as well as the various members, have worked independently with remarkable commitment to learn the lessons of the crisis experienced by Sciences Po in recent months.

In their respective reports, the commissions have drawn up a detailed analysis of the ethical mechanisms and the structures to tackle gender-based and sexual violence within the institution, and formulate concrete and ambitious recommendations in order to strengthen these mechanisms.

Bénédicte Durand expressed her gratitude to the member of the commissions and announced a provisional timetable for the implementation of these recommendations

The quality of the proposals I have received allows me to affirm the commitment I made before you to present an implementation plan as soon as possible. We will propose an approach and a timetable for implementation before the end of the current academic year. From the beginning of the next academic year, we wish to reinforce our mechanism for listening to and supporting victims, and to overhaul the disciplinary procedure.

Bénédicte Durand also expressed her willingness to engage in a similar reflection on the fight against racism, anti-Semitism, and all forms of discrimination in the institution. “Just as a stop must be put to gender-based and sexual violence, hatred of the Other, for whatever reason, must be prevented, combated, and sanctioned relentlessly at Sciences Po”.

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Gender-based and sexual violence: what are the goals of the commission?

Interview with the head of the commission, Danièle Hervieu-Léger
  • Danièle Hervieu-Léger ©DRDanièle Hervieu-Léger ©DR

On 17 February, Sciences Po's Acting President Bénédicte Durand announced the creation of a commission focusing on the fight against gender-based and sexual violence in our institution. The commission consists of twenty members, including representatives of the student, faculty and employee communities. It will submit its conclusions in early May, after two months of work. Its President, sociologist Danièle Hervieu-Léger, explains its mission and objectives. 

What are the objectives and the scope of the commission on the fight against gender-based and sexual violence? 

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: It is a dual approach. First, we have an immediate and concrete objective: to make proposals to strengthen the means already invested within Sciences Po in the fight against gender-based and sexual violence. I am talking about both the means and procedures that are offered to victims to rebuild their lives, and the awareness-raising and educating actions necessary to create a culture of dignity and respect within the institution, which will reduce the occurrence of such violence. I understand this term to mean all forms of violence: misdemeanor and criminal offenses as well as more pervasive or surreptitious forms. The commission will make concrete proposals: we will go beyond statements. But we also want to open a wider focus: the idea is to go deeper into the analysis of relational contexts that can lead to toxic situations. 

Do you have examples of these toxic situations? 

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: We are going to work on power relations that are conducive to the emergence of situations of domination. They can appear in different forms in a university context, in all communities. There can be situations of violence between students linked to risky social contexts, to festive events which are a part of student life. Violence can also appear in unequal power relationships that can develop between a doctoral student and her director, a department head and administrative staff, etc. We do not exclude any possible situation. 

How will you involve the different communities, and in particular the student community, which is very active on these issues? 

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: We are aware of the expectations of the student community: they are represented within the commission by their elected union representatives. But we will also hear from all the associations that have taken up the issue, in Paris and on the regional campuses. These hearings will give all the communities concerned the opportunity to make their voices heard: not only the students, but also the staff, who are eager to benefit from training and awareness-raising.

Will you be examining the systems set up in other universities, particularly abroad? 

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: The commission's work includes taking into account the experiences and good practices implemented in other institutions, in France and internationally. Comparison is an important tool for the work of the commission: researcher Maxime Forest will present a study on international experiences to inform us on ways of dealing with these topics. Other hearings are planned on this subject.

As a sociologist of religions, and particularly of Catholicism, you have worked on the problems of sexual violence within the Church: how will this experience and this research help you in your work?

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: Indeed, in my research fields - in Catholicism but not only - I have been confronted with questions of sexual violence and pedocriminality in the religious sphere. I have retained a fundamental point, which concerns all institutions - secular or religious: sexist and sexual violence always emerges in situations of domination and control, which must be analysed in order to understand and prevent this violence. 

You were president of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) from 2004 to 2009. Have you ever had to work on these issues, which nowadays span across the entire field of higher education? 

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: At the time, the topic of gender-based and sexual violence was less present. The focus was on gender equality, and I initiated a mission at EHESS to identify gender bias in the recruitment and promotion of academics. EHESS and Sciences Po are two very different institutions, but both produce knowledge in the social sciences. Their mission is to develop critical knowledge, capable of contributing - in their own way - to the transformation of our world. There are collective expectations on certain subjects and social sciences must provide the tools for understanding these expectations. The topic of gender relations is one of these crucial questions. It questions the different configurations of domination, both hierarchical, physical and symbolic, which organize the relations between men and women.

Is it the role of a university to accompany this transformation of society?

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: Yes, this is perfectly the role of a university of social sciences: it must contribute to forging the critical tools that will enable us to advance the collective understanding of these situations and their evolution. Moreover, every educational institution today has a crucial mission, which is to educate new generations in a culture other than the normalisation and the silencing of gender-based and sexual violence. If I agreed to come out of my retirement to chair this commission, it is because the stakes are very high for an institution like Sciences Po, but also for society.

Interview by Sciences Po editorial team.

About Danièle Hervieu-Léger

Sociologist Danièle Hervieu-Léger is a graduate of Sciences Po and of the faculty of Law (Paris-Assas). She holds a doctorate in sociology from EHESS and in literature and humanities from the University Paris-Descartes. She began her career at the Sociology of Religion Group of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), as research fellow and then as Director from 1974 to 1992. Professor (Director of Studies) emeritus of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), she directed the Centre d'études interdisciplinaires des faits religieux from 1993 to 2004, before becoming its President from 2004 to 2009.

A specialist in the sociology of religion, Danièle Hervieu-Léger has devoted most of her research to the sociological description and theoretical interpretation of religious modernity in Christianity. Among her works: Le temps des moines ; clôture et hospitalité (PUF, 2017) - Le pèlerin et le converti : la religion en mouvement (Flammarion, 2001).

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Useful Resources and training sessions

Documents and tutorials for getting started with hybrid pedagogy
  • © AHGraphic / Shutterstock© AHGraphic / Shutterstock

To help you prepare for the start of the new semester, a range of training sessions on pedagogy, digital teaching tools and classroom equipment is provided, mainly between 6th of December 2021 and 21st of January 2022:

The video replay of January’s sessions on pedagogy remains available on Moodle. (available soon in english). Log in using your email address prenom.nom@sciencespo.fr and your Sciences Po email password. If you are logging in for the first time, click on "register" at the bottom of the screen.

To help you prepare for the start of the new academic year, we have created a Guide to Deploying Hybrid Pedagogy. In this guide you will find practical guidelines, information sheets and tutorials to help you design and deliver your courses.

The guides provided during last spring semester, Remote Teaching and Teaching Remote Classes remain useful and complementary to design courses which will take place exclusively online.

Important: Consult the legal information and cookies settings of the videoconference tool Zoom at Sciences Po.

Please note: all documentation provided is accessible via your Sciences Po email account firstname.lastname@sciencespo.fr and password.

For more specific information, do not hesitate to contact the pedagogical teams or the Institute for Skills and Innovation’s educational design and technology team at the following address ici@sciencespo.fr.

Your digital pedagogical tools

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