The ICM Master’s Degree in Science and Executive Engineering was assessed by Commission des Titres d’Ingénieur (CTI). CTI convened an assessment panel which studied the self-evaluation report and undertook a site visit on the 3rd and 4th July 2018.
The aim of the three-year Ingénieur Civil des Mines (ICM) Master's degree in Science and Executive Engineering at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Saint-Etienne is to train engineers for top-level management and technical positions in industrial and service companies in a globalised context; Global executive engineers for global industry and services (see Annex 12, “2014 CTI Accreditation renewal – ICM objectives p.22”).
Upon graduation, the ICM Executive Engineer plays a similar role to that of an orchestral conductor, able to manage highly specialised and diverse teams from a wide variety of cultural and professional backgrounds. As a result, the ICM engineering programme enables students to experience multiple international and intercultural activities, both at home and abroad, in academic and company contexts in several different countries and cultures.
Standard 1 – Intended internationalisation: Good
The internationalisation goals for the programme are satisfactorily documented. These are shared and supported by stakeholders within and outside the programme. The recently created International Advisory Board should become the group of reference to ensure the sustainability of MSE’s international strategy implementation.
In addition, verifiable objectives have been formulated:
Objective 1: All students successfully have to carry out an academic period of study and a company internship abroad during the course. All students must reach an advanced level of English (minimum C1 level) and become professionally operational in a second foreign language (minimum B2 level).
Objective 2: A significant increase in international incoming mobility should be achieved in order to intensify intercultural enrichment and international practices both in the ICM engineering programme and on the campus as a whole.
Increasing the number of foreign students at MSE remains an important objective in the latest SP21, along with an increase in the number of foreign professors. At the institutional level, the School’s board meets annually to set both quantitative (numbers of student intake) and qualitative objectives (international and academic origins) for the coming academic years for degree-seeking students.
Furthermore, the internationalisation measures taken by the programme managers relate to teaching and learning, contributing to their quality.
Overall assessment of Standard 1
The panel highly appreciates the efforts carried out by the ICM programme managers in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning through the implementation of a coherent internationalisation strategy. However, the programme could highly benefit from a benchmarking process in order to compare the main indicators’ performance with similar programmes’ good practices developed by HE institutions abroad. The panel therefore assesses Standard 1. Intended internationalisation as good.
Standard 2 – International and intercultural learning: Satisfactory
The panel considers that the international and intercultural learning outcomes are fully integrated into the overall learning outcomes of the programme, all along the 3 years. These outcomes are in phase with the programme’s internationalisation goals. Students’ assessment methods allow to verify the students’ progress and monitor the achievement of the previously fixed learning outcomes.
Statistics for the last seven years show that between 10% and 28% of graduates find their first job in a foreign country, and about 40% work in an international context.
However, the panel considers that MSE should find a positive differentiation with other IMT schools in order to have more direct contacts with universities and companies abroad, as well as improve contacts with international alumni in order to better understand international markets and job opportunities.
Overall assessment of Standard 2
The panel found that MSE is strong-willed for internationalisation. “To be international rather than to do international” is the main ambition of the executive committee for MSE. This is not a new concept for the institution, but formal procedures have been constructed only recently.
The panel deems most of the underlying criteria of this standard to be met. The panel recommends finishing the ongoing development. The panel therefore assesses Standard 2.International and intercultural learning as satisfactory.
Standard 3 – Teaching and learning: Good
In order to meet the programme’s objectives, the curriculum includes such features as one “openness” module per semester (six semesters in total), foreign language courses in at least two foreign languages and a third optional (French foreign language for non-French natives), and compulsory international mobility (and recommended double mobility for an academic semester and internship). These measures highly contribute to develop intercultural awareness. Nevertheless, international learning outcomes could be further clarified and stressed in the curriculum.
During the site visit, the panel found sufficient evidence to deem the teaching methods suitable and diverse for achieving the intended international and intercultural learning outcomes. But doubtless, the most distinctive feature of the ICM programme offered at MSE is the learning environment, which can only be qualified as outstanding.
Overall assessment of Standard 3
The panel deems all the underlying criteria of this standard to be met. In particular, the learning environment can be regarded as an international example. The panel therefore assesses Standard 3: Teaching and Learning as good.
Standard 4 – Staff: Good
In 2016, there were 30 different nationalities represented at MSE amongst the 392 members of staff. The requirement of new recruits to be able to teach in English assures a base-level of competence in English among the faculty, but the most important support to staff internationalisation is the fact of setting international experience as a criterion for advancement, which shows a strong acknowledgement of and respect for the importance of internationalisation and interculturalism at MSE.
It was clear from the documentation and the interview sessions with academic staff that they work and think in an international mindset, and that the flux of international staff mobilities, in and out of MSE, is an accepted and welcome feature for the faculty members. Furthermore, the panel considers that the services provided to the staff are consistent with the staff composition and adequately facilitate international experiences, intercultural competences and language skills.
Capitalising on the opportunities offered by the IMT network should indeed facilitate staff international mobility, as well as encouraging sabbatical periods abroad by organising a formal system to cover teaching staff absences.
Overall assessment of Standard 4
The panel found that the constitution of the Programmes International Review Board and the planned International Advisory Board is an acknowledgement of the priority MSE assigns to internationalisation. The panel deems all the underlying criteria of this standard to be met. The panel therefore assesses Standard 4: Staff as good
Standard 5 – Students: Good
MSE is strongly oriented towards the diversity of the student group and does enjoy numerous and long-standing international partnerships. Consequently, the number of international incoming students (2014-2017) has been increasing in the past three years, as well as the proportion of degree-seeking students.
At the same time, the school tries and maintains the rate of international outgoing student Also benefiting from the whole IMT network, the school is mainly oriented towards its student mobility and cultural diversity rather than social mix.
The composition of the student group is in line with the programme’s internationalisation goals. The last update of the teaching program and the recent monitoring of the figures can explain the trends, which can be interpreted as reassuring.
The panel found the MSE’s commitment convincing and concludes that the curricular and extra-curricular services provided to all students are suitable for their personal fulfilment in their international experience.
Overall assessment of Standard 5
MSE is clearly dedicated to its students. Thus, most of the underlying criteria of this standard are successfully met. The provided services and the strong commitments can be regarded as an example. The panel therefore assesses Standard 5: Students as good.
Based on ECA’s assessment rules, the panel nominates the ICM Master’s Degree in Science and Executive Engineering of Mines Sain-Etienne for the Certificate for Quality in Programme Internationalisation.
The panel would like to point out the outstanding quality of the programme as far as two indicators are concerned: the Learning environment in Standard 3 and the Services provided to students in Standard 5, which should be both considered as international good practices.