The challenges and opportunities of education post-pandemic: what professors learned in a new iteration of the Sciences Po Faculty Seminar

In June, a group of five Chilean academics traveled to France to be part of an international conference on education, organized by Sciences Po. This annual event brings professors together from around the world to exchange knowledge, and experiences and advance the search for new and innovative teaching methodologies.

Each year, Sciences Po organizes an international conference on pedagogy and through the Sciences Po Faculty Seminar program, a select group of Chilean academics is chosen to participate. This year’s conference focused on the challenges and opportunities of education post-Covid-19 pandemic, the development of skills in students, the creation of new teaching methodologies, and the flexibility of evaluations.

The objective of this seminar is to create a space that allows for the exchange of new strategies on pedagogical innovation and best practices within the classroom, as well as forming a community among those participating. 

This year, five professors from Chile traveled to Paris, France, to be part of this 4-day opportunity organized specifically by the Institute of Capabilities and Innovation of Sciences Po. The first two days consisted of a pre-Workshop seminar solely for the Chilean professors and on the following two days, the professors were able to participate in the International Teaching and Learning Workshop which brought together around 30 experts in pedagogy from around the world. 

One of the Faculty Seminar participants, Marianne Daher, Assistant Professor at the School of Psychology of the Pontificia Universidad Católica, described the seminar as an opportunity for great personal and interpersonal development. She says, “what I liked the most was being able to firsthand experience the workings of the Institute [of Capabilities and Innovation] as we have a similar organization at my university called the Faculty Development Center. In addition, it was really interesting to learn about the Institute’s course offerings and its lines of innovation in creative writing and data visualization.” 

Paulina Gutiérrez, Assistant Professor at the Universidad Católica del Norte, shares a similar experience pointing out, “I have been able to learn new teaching and learning strategies to bring professors together and create a community, and what’s caught my attention the most has been the implementation of these in the classroom. Since my experience is mainly in educational leadership, I think the greatest challenge for us is how we work inside the classroom.” 

Regarding the process of exchanging experiences with other teachers, the Director of the School of Pedagogy in English of the Universidad de Talca, Mauricio Véliz, emphasized that this kind of opportunity “offers a space for intellectual, social and academic oxygenation because sometimes one loses a more global view of the educational phenomenon and training of future professionals, as well as having the opportunity to share with other teachers who have a common interest, but from different disciplines, which is something very positive”. 

Finally, the Director of Vertically-Integrated-Projects (VIP) of Universidad Mayor, Jorge Rosales-Salas, stated that “this is a wonderful experience to be able to change society through the use of innovative education. I believe that the projects that we can develop from here to the future, implementing thinking about skills, competencies, and even values ​​in our students, can make not only a better Chile but also advance both Latin America and the world.” 

After this version, the Faculty Seminar program -which has included Chilean professors since 2019- will have a total of 16 national participants who have been able to share experiences with other academics from universities such as Harvard, Princeton and The London School Economics, amongst others.