A few days ago, we had the pleasure to welcome Diana Delelis who came as part of Erasmus Staff programme. During her stay in Grenoble, she met with people from different departments in the school and exchanged good practices.
Diana, could you please introduce yourself and tell me a bit about the department in where you work and about your institution?
Ok well I’m from the Munich University of Applied Sciences in Munich and there I have 2 jobs. Half of my time I work as coordinator to the dean’s office of the department of computer sciences and mathematics. In the other job, I´m responsible for a benchmarking-project in the department of the staff and organisational development. With the help of outside experts and internal process managers, and by a process of external benchmarking,we want to expand and develop our range of services in customers’ interest. Because our university is in a process of reorientation in different areas with the goal of increasing the competitiveness of our university and internally modernising the instruments – I look forward to meeting people in different positions and to learn about the organization of your school, the different departments, how your school is run, what challenges you have to deal with, to compare differences and similarities.
What was the aim of your visit? And what were your expectations?
My expectations were to meet many different people in different departments in your university to learn about your self-government, your specific solutions and problems in your daily work for example in communication and technical assistance but also to get a feeling of the atmosphere of your school. The object of my visit was to get new ideas which we can maybe adapt to our university or from which we can learn or discuss alternative solutions.
After a week here with us, what are your first impressions of the school?
My first impression was that I expected a really big school and I found myself in a very compact one. Joëlle Silvestre, Executive Assistant for the Center for International Affairs and Head of Exchange programmes, confirmed my first impression introducing the school to me also as a very compact school. That means, that I could quickly gain an overview of the physical organization of your school and I could easily find the offices and the persons I wanted to speak to. Furthermore I was pleasantly surprised by the kindness of all persons I´ve met, everyone was open-minded and took the time to answer my questions. I was also impressed by the flexibility of your school and all the people working in because I got a plan on a program on my first day here which satisfied all my questions and in addition whenever a new question arose, Joëlle Silvestre arranged a new meeting to get the answers.
Which departments did you meet?
I met really many departments and people, f. ex.
• I spoke to the Director, to Executive Assistant and the Communication Officer from the Center for International Affairs;
• I met the executive assistant of GEM and the Director of Academics; the Head of MBA programmes and some professors;
• I met the department of the student support, the HR department, the Career & Personal Development Center;
• I also spoke to a student who explained to me the culture of the students associations at GEM
• someone who was responsible for corporate social responsibility
• I met the Head of the People, Organisation and Society Department & Marketing Department
• My last meeting I had with the quality & institutional development.
And you feel that this gave you a better understanding?
Yes, definitely! It was really great to “run” through your school in 5 days talking to people with different responsibilities. My individual work plan gave me the opportunity to get quickly an insight into various parts of your school, your work and the daily challenges of your school. An absolutely helpful tool of my work to follow the structure of GEM was the organisation chart I got from Anne Garnier, GEM Executive Assistant.
So what are the differences that you have noticed, between Germany and France? And between the two school systems?
One thing I recall is that peer-to-peer learning is an inherent component of the teaching-methods at GEM. And what impressed me a lot is the culture of students association the GEM is enabling. In one area of the GEM you can find more than 20 different associations! This cultural character is a significant difference to German universities. Another interesting insight I got is the way to follow students during their studies. At GEM you will find one expert for the curriculum of the first year who follows the students till the end of the first year. Then you will find an expert for the curriculum of the second year who follows the students and so on. Moreover at GEM you will find all professors in one building (the tower) – that’s also a strong difference to German universities. In Germany the professors belong to a special department so you will find the professors teaching a special subject in the corresponding department. For example. You have to go to the department of maths to talk your professor for maths.
I got the impression that here the people are very focused on their work. In our university people take time to get a coffee talking to each other. That´s a good thing to cultivate relationships and that can enhance the working atmosphere. But that´s maybe a peculiarity of a public organization and not a general difference to France.
As a conclusion, when you are back in Germany, will you share your experience? What will be the continuation?
Yes, I will definitely share my experiences! First of all it´s obligatory to write a report for our Department for international affairs. Our university wants to know if we made good experiences with this program. Of course, I will share my experiences and impressions in the departments I am working in and at best we really get some new ideas we can integrate in our processes of change.