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Education Office Newsletter - October 2013

© 2013 EPFL

© 2013 EPFL

After the summer break, EPFL is again brimming with energy as hosts of students arrive on campus every day. The Education Office brings you the news of the past few months, together with other VPAA information which we deem interesting for you to have. On behalf of DAF, I wish you all a great academic year and a pleasant read.
Albertine Kolendowska

After the summer break, EPFL is again brimming with energy as hosts of students arrive on campus every day. The Education Office brings you the news of the past few months, together with other VPAA information which we deem interesting for you to have. On behalf of DAF, I wish you all a great academic year and a pleasant read.
Albertine Kolendowska

Statistics Observatory
The growth in student numbers arouses special interest in in-depth analyses by Section and by curriculum. The “Friday Stats” launched on 21 June once again served to accurately monitor the population of new students expected in the 2013-14 academic year. The provisional dashboards were produced as usual to submit a detailed update to the senior management and school deans, two weeks prior to the start of term.
On 20 September 2013 we counted 1,712 new students in 1st year Bachelor, i.e. 59 more than the previous year at the same time. By adding repeat students and those from the CMS, the provisional total 1st year Bachelor population is 2,507 students, an increase of 3.1% from 2012. The growth in new students is much higher at Master level, with a population of 324 students i.e. a 10.2% increase compared to the same time last year.
For further information: [email protected]

In parallel, the yearly analysis of grades in the foundation year exam was submitted to the Sections and BaMa Dean, highlighting a slight drop in the overall pass rates to 49.1%. Details of the types of failures, broken down by Section, are available on http://ogif.epfl.ch/stat_prope.

On another subject, the annual analysis of visitor traffic on the Educational Affairs websites was received with interest by the DAF webmasters.

From the start of 2013, the OGIF statistics team processed 180 requests ranging from raw data retrieval to one-off specific statistical reports.
For further information: [email protected]

Tougher Requirements for 1st-Year Admission of the Holders of EU Baccalaureates
On 15 July 2013, the EPFL Direction approved an amendment to the Admissions Ordinance requiring applicants, as from the 2014 academic year, to have an overall average of at least 80% (or 16 points for French baccalaureates) of the highest possible grade in the baccalaureate exam. Previously the requirement was 70% calculated across 4 subjects. The relevant web pages will be updated by the end of October to notify this change.

EPFL Teaching Languages
The EPFL Direction has submitted its draft new directive on languages at EPFL for consultation. For Bachelor courses the proposal is to restrict the use of English to maximum one course in the foundation year, and to set the rule of a majority of courses delivered in French for both Bachelor years. The consultation involves lecturers, students, the Sections and the College of Humanities.
Full details of the consultation process on: http://ae.epfl.ch/DirectiveLangues

No More Study Trips in the Foundation Year
The EPFL Direction is consulting the students and Sections regarding an amendment to the directive on study trips, aiming to eliminate the study outing in the foundation year. Henceforth study trips will only take place in 2nd Bachelor year and 1st Master year. The 3rd year trip remains unchanged.
Details about the consultation on: http://ae.epfl.ch/DirectiveVoyagesEtudes

New Class Representative Election Process on IS-Academia
The election of student class representatives takes place at the start of each academic year. Students are elected by their peers to represent their class vis-à-vis the Section and other EPFL units. With the continuous growth in student numbers, in particular in 1st year Bachelor, election by show of hands had to be reviewed. The OGIF team worked with AGEPOLY during the summer to integrate this process into the IS-Academia student portal. Students may now stand for election and vote for candidates on IS-Academia. This also enables AGEPOLY to oversee the whole process, which is much more effective.
For further information: [email protected]

Notification of Lecturer Absences
The teaching portal has also undergone a few changes and offers new features, in particular the possibility for lecturers to notify their absence from a lecture. Lecturers unable to deliver one or more courses can now inform the Section and students concerned accordingly. The students registered for the lecturer concerned will be notified by e-mail and a note on their course timetable. Where applicable, lecturers may also appoint a replacement.
For further information: [email protected]

New Platform for Postdoc Applications
A new platform to manage the processing of postdoctoral applications received in the framework of the EPFL Fellows programme was put online on 1 July. The IS-Academia platform follows the same concepts as those already implemented to process PhD applications, with additional features (e.g. the formal assessment of each application by a group of experts outside EPFL).

The administrative follow-up of applications is provided in a new portal, with specific roles to filter data access. All assessments are based on the IS-Academia evaluation portal with user-friendly questionnaires, while offering detailed statistics. The teaching portal includes a new heading to enable the PI concerned to review applications for their lab and accept or reject them as appropriate.
These new developments will guide reflections on how to improve and extend the management of PhD applications as currently implemented in IS-Academia.
For further information: [email protected]

Online Grading by Lecturers – Progress Report
Finally, the second round of pilot capture of grades by lecturers took place during the summer exam session. Six Sections (IN, SC, MT, GM, CGC and MA) volunteered to participate in the second stage of this project. The 170 lecturers concerned were asked to configure their smartphone to use the new GASPAR strong authentication mode required to access the ISA grade capture interface. DIT also handed out about thirty hardware keys to those lecturers without a smartphone.

A total of just over 5,500 grades for 65 tests were entered by the lecturers or a delegate of their choice (a minority). The six Sections concerned accounted for a total of 190 written or oral exams for 12,712 registrations. This means that one third of exams and 43% of grades were submitted online. This is an extremely positive result given that participation was optional and that blank grade sheets has previously been issued as usual. The EPFL Direction now has to decide whether to extend the system to cover all exams.
For further information: [email protected]

New website: citation.epfl.ch: how to use citations in your work
EPFL has set up a new website, citation.epfl.ch, to provide students, teachers and researchers with a handbook on how to correctly use citations in their work.

This website also provides you with documentation and useful links and contacts.

If you have any questions or remarks concerning this new website, please send them to [email protected].

For more information, follow the links listed below:
- The new website – citation.epfl.ch
- Directive concerning the citing and referencing of sources by students

New web portals Bachelor and Master
The Study Programs Promotion published earlier this month a new version of the web portals bachelor.epfl.ch and master.epfl.ch. The information communicated via those pages, mainly targeting an external audience, was re-worked through a new structure in order to improve their attractiveness, navigability and readability.

New videos are also already available and multimedia content will keep on being produced in order to offer to prospective students a clear and intuitive access to the information they are looking for. This is where our target audiences can find descriptions of all study programs, students’ testimonials, admission criteria, they can discover the campus or read more about the positioning of the institution.

Those pages are viewed each week by thousands of web users from all continents. They are therefore an extremely important window for all programs taught at EPFL. A similar rework will soon be done on the doctoral school’s portal.
Read more: http://bachelor.epfl.ch and http://master.epfl.ch

Luc Patiny Wins Best Teaching Award for 2013!
Each year the Credit Suisse Foundation rewards an EPFL lecturer or education team for their contribution to excellence in teaching. Candidates are selected based on their overall contribution to teaching (including lectures, student projects, texts and other educational materials), in particular its original and innovative character, as well as its enhancement of the image of teaching.

Luc Patiny from the Chemistry Section was awarded this prize in recognition of “the spirit of innovation and enthusiasm fuelling his passion for training future chemists and engineers, as well as for his techniques. Anticipating the potential of Internet, he pioneered the integration of online educational tools, serving in particular to customize students’ work. Guided by the philosophy of open Internet and top-quality open source software, he developed several tools to learn chemical science, which have become international references”. He will be awarded this prize on 4 October.

For further information: [email protected]

Welcoming the new Doctoral Students (SAE, SPE, EDOC) – September 2013
Twice per year a welcome is being organized for the new doctoral students. The welcome has two main components. The first one is an informative afternoon with an introduction to the doctoral school, the research department, and brief presentations of the different services, such as the career center, library, language center, student affairs, and ACIDE. The second component is a social event. It consists generally of a visit that highlights certain cultural aspects of Switzerland. The most recent visit took place on Friday the13th of September and was attended by a large group of doctoral students (about 50). First the Swiss National Museum in the caste of Prangins was explored, and then a visit to the school of engineering at Changins (HES-SO) followed. The Swiss National Museum provided an excellent idea of life at a castle in the 18th century, while at the school of engineering the doctoral students were welcomed with an overview of the education in viticulture, oenology and arboriculture. The last, but not least, aspect of the visit to the school of engineering was a tasting of the (excellent) wine that is produced at the school.
Plus d’infos: [email protected]

Further Academic Recognition of EPFL Masters
Academic recognition of EPFL Master’s Degrees, in particular when applying for a PhD or for some types of visas intended for Master Graduates, can sometimes be difficult to obtain from American universities and authorities.
However, our alumni can now count on a further asset. Indeed, the French Commission des Titres d’Ingénieur (Cti; http://www.cti-commission.fr/), which has accredited our Master qualifications in the fields of engineering, has concluded an agreement with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (http://www.aacrao.org), in charge of validating international higher education qualifications for the entire United States. This body now acknowledges all engineering diplomas accredited by Cti (including EPFL Masters) as Master’s Degrees – another argument to be used in the recognition of EPFL qualifications!
For further information: [email protected]

The research office has been reorganised
“RESEARCH OFFICE is the new entity responsible for all VPAA services associated with research. The Research Office has been set up to improve organization in the area of research, and replaces the existing entities: Scientific Equipment (FAR), Grants Office (GO) and Inter-institutional Projects (SPI). The Research Office also includes the services of the Secretariat of the Research Commission (CR). The Research Office implements the policy and the strategy defined by the Vice-presidency for Academic Affairs (VPAA) and the Dean of Research.

For researchers, the mission of the Research Office includes the following activities:
• Information and expertise relating to internal and external funding opportunities and their application procedures.
• Training and expertise relating to the management of grants and fellowships.
• Coordination of the relations with funding bodies.
• Support in the acquisition and replacement of scientific equipment, as well as instrument and technological platforms.
• Internal coordination and networking between stakeholders in the management of grants and fellowships.

You can send all your questions to the address: [email protected]. The internet site http://research-office.epfl.ch provides a complete range of useful information: tutorials, online forms, etc., which will be regularly updated with additional information.”

The International Relations launches research internships
The International Relations Unit is launching a highly attractive internship scheme for talented students currently enrolled at internationally acclaimed universities in order to increase EPFL’s visibility and to rebalance student exchange flows. For the first time, a flexible format is offered which enables students to choose between a three, four or six months lasting internship in research laboratories from all five schools of EPFL, starting at any time of the year whilst subscribing six months before. Successful and selected students obtain a prestigious scholarship of excellence which enables them to cover the main costs of living as well as some of the travelling expenses. Students are also being offered the possibility to undertake a semester exchange program before or after the research internship.
For further information: http://ri.epfl.ch/researchinternships or [email protected]

EPFL Welcomes Academic Partners at the International Fair
For the third consecutive year, International Relations and the Student Exchange Office, in cooperation with the EPFL Forum, are giving some twenty partner universities the opportunity to introduce themselves to the EPFL community, and particularly to students interested in an exchange. The stands at the International Fair will be open all day on 16 October 2013, and a welcoming session for our partners is being organised on 15 October.
For information and a list of attending universities: http://ri.epfl.ch/salon-international or [email protected]

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