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Diversity in engineering education: an opportunity to face the new trends of engineering

Polytech Orléans, 29 June – 2 July 2015

This year again the SEFI 2015 Annual Conference brought together a broad variety of Engineering Education actors from Europe and beyond.
In total 281 Participants from over 38 Countries met this year at Polytech Orléans in Orléans, France. We thank the organizers and all the participants for making of SEFI 2015 a truly memorable event.

The invited keynotes presentations will soon be available on this page, as well as the conference pictures.


The Conference was  welcomed in Orléans by the University President Prof. Youssoufi Touré, the Director of Polytech Orléans and Conference chair Prof. Christophe Léger and Mr Frézot, Representative of the Region Centre. French National Organisations were also represented with Prof. Le Gall, Director Réseau Polytech,  Mr. Mahieu, President of CTI and  Prof. Cansell, President CDEFI.

Numerous representatives of our partner organisation honoured us with their presence and conveyed messages of their support for our ongoing cooperation during the opening ceremony, among which the President of BEST, Mr. Joao Clemente, WFEO Executive Director  Mrs. Tahani Youssef, for ASIBEI, Prof. José Carlos Quadrado and for IGIP, Dr. Eleonore Lickl, while a message from the President of CESAER, Rector Magnificus Karel Luyben was read by Prof. Luis Manuel Sanchez Ruiz and another message from ASEE was read by SEFI Secretary General  Françoise Côme.

More than 150 papers were presented in the course of 7 parallel sessions covering the theme of the conference “Diversity in engineering education: an opportunity to face the new trends of engineering”  and structured around different sub-topics such as Innovative pedagogical approaches to improve engineering education, Diversity in engineering education and of engineering institutions, Gender and diversity in innovation teams in engineering education, Diversity and inclusion as business cases in technical research, Engineering education as a vector for social advancement as well as other topics.

Best  Papers  

Among the presented Papers, two have retained the attention of the scientific committee and have been rewarded with a Best Papers Awards, the first being  Breaking the Habit—new approaches in Engineering Education by L. Steuer, T. Berg and C. Leicht-Scholten from GDI/RWTH Aachen University in Germany, the second being Professors’ Perception of How Men and Women Students Experience Engineering Education Differently… Or Not by K. Beddoes from Oregon State University in Oregon, USA.  We congratulate again the authors for their outstanding contributions to our conference.


Keynote presentations were given by Joëlle Bonnet Mercedes Benz (FR) on “Diversity management in Daimler”, Teri Reed Texas A&M University (US) on “Life in a Fishbowl: a Conversation on Inclusive Efforts in Engineering Education”, Christophe Morace, ENSTA Bretagne (FR) and Alison Gourvès-Hayward, Telecom Bretagne (FR) on “When is an Engineer, not an Engineer. An interdisciplinary Approach to Intercultural Management for Engineers”, and Jette Egelund Holgaard Aalborg University (DK) on “Embedding Sustainability in Engineering Identities” .

Another highlight has been our University-Business Plenary Round Table, chaired by Mr. Xavier Fouger from Dassault Systemes and Member of the SEFI Board of Directors, with the participation of our corporate partners representatives: Mark Fry, from Granta Design, Ray Hsu from National Instrument, as well as Alex Tarchini from Mathworks.


Year after year we see also an increase in the number of workshops and meetings offered to the conference participants, the year only the conference hosted Workshops on Curriculum and Online Engineering Education, on Sustainability in Engineering Education , on Gender and Diversity, on Mathematics and Engineering Education, on Active Learning, on Engineering Education Research, on Quality Assurance and Accreditation , an open meeting of the Working Group Attractiveness in Engineering Education, the workshop of the ReadySTEMgo project, as well as on the EPICES project and the QUEECA Project Dissemination Event. Our Corporate Partner and Conference Sponsor Mathworks also offered well attended hands-on workshops on Arduino and RasberryPi.

SEFI Fellowships

While this conference experienced exceptional weather conditions, it was also the occasion to reward exceptional  individuals. This year SEFI awarded two long lasting and dedicated members with a SEFI Fellowship.

The first being Dr. Anette Kolmos, UNESCO Chair for Problem-Based Learning in Engineering Science and Sustainability in Aalborg University, former President of SEFI, Founder of the SEFI working group on Engineering Education Research and of IIDEA—International Institute for the Development of Engineering Academics and recipient of the IFEES  Global Award for Excellence in Engineering Education.

The second recipient being Prof. Oliver Moravcik , Vice-Rector of the Slovak University of Technology of Bratislava (STU) in charge of strategic projects and development, former member of the SEFI Board of Directors, Organiser of the 2010 SEFI-IGIP Annual Conference held in Trnava, Slovakia, former Director for Advanced technologies Research Institute of  STU and former Dean in STU.

This year also, another exceptional individual has been thanked for its long lasting work and contribution to Engineering Education. The 2015 Leonardo Da Vinci Medal was awarded to no other than Mr. Charles Champion President of Airbus Operations SAS and Executive Vice President Engineering.
Mr. Champion has held major positions in Airbus thanks  to his technical and managerial qualities. Mr. Champion is also a keen contributor to Engineering Education, part of the “Fly your Ideas” initiative, a UNESCO supported global competition for Students, founder of the Chair for Eco-Design of Aircraft  but more noticeably the establishment with the Global Engineering Deans Council of the GEDC Airbus Diversity Award, which recognises people and project worldwide that have brought diversity and inclusion into the engineering student body.

Ending this conference  and on invitation of Polytech Orleans, we were presented with Dr. Graciela Padoani, from the University Centre-Val de Loire and Expert for the EACEA who shared views on the importance of training for the Skills of the Future following the European Modernisation Agenda for Higher Education.
This year again, Mathworks assisted us with a data visualisation of the Conference papers, allowing us to see that “students” were at the core of conference papers, and underlining also the evolution from 2014 to 2015 with a stronger appearance of content on Gender and Diversity. The presentation will be made available online on

The closing ceremony was also the occasion  of the formal signature  of a Memorandum of Understanding between SEFI and BEST, signed by both Presidents, K. Hawwash for SEFI and J. Clemente  for BEST.

We would like to offer our thanks to the Polytech Orleans team that hosted us and organised this memorable event, the Director Prof. Christophe Léger, the former Director and member of the SEFI Board of Directors Prof. Anne-Marie Jolly, Ms. Eugénie Largeau, Ms. Elise Peyrat, all the students and of course all those  who contributed to this event, especially our wonderful participants.
Click here for pictures . Presentations of SEFI 2015 will follow soon on

At last but surely not least we would like to thank once more our sponsors, Dassault Systems, Mathworks, National Instruments and Airbus.

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