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Dr German D. Fernandez Vavrik

Research interests

The Marie Curie research programme “WELCOME-UNIVERSITY”

European universities have significantly changed the way of dealing with newcomers in the last thirty years. In the wake of the surge in enrolments, educators, professional staff, and authorities have suddenly been confronted with new categories of students. In addition, the governance of universities has undergone rapid changes concerning patterns of internationalisation and mobility, especially because of the influence and the soft power of transnational organisations. The issues that have concerned researchers and authorities primarily regard the dropout of first-year students (FYS) and the utility of mobility programmes to reinforce a “European identity”.

With my research programme at King's College London, I aspire to better understand how universities welcome and take actions to integrate FYS and students in mobility with a diverse background. These organisational conditions have not been sufficiently considered by educational researchers and practitioners yet. Most works focus merely on teaching, admission process, or material life conditions outside the university.

My research programme has three main objectives: (1) to give an account of the concrete functioning of the policy concerning FYS and students in international mobility in British universities; (2) to conceive a framework suitable for comparative and international research regarding welcoming policies for newcomers that reinforce teaching and learning processes; (3) to make a contribution to practitioners who seek to enrich newcomers’ experience and retention. 

The UK is the most suitable place to carry out this research for two reasons. First, some of its universities have been pioneers in carrying out initiatives for first-year students and students in international mobility. Second, there exists a more robust academic tradition in the UK exploring the first-year experience, compared to most countries in Europe.

Past research

This research programme is a result of my doctoral and postdoctoral research on the access of ethno-racial minorities into higher education in France and Argentina. My PhD in Sociology at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris and the University of Buenos Aires investigated affirmative action policy in higher education in Argentina. I focused on the first and the most innovative programme in this country, which was implemented in Mendoza at the University of Cuyo in the 2000s. By doing ethnographic observations and using cameras in the classrooms and all over the campus, I studied mechanisms of integration and exclusion of Huarpes Amerindian students into the university life. 

Thereafter, I conducted postdoctoral research with the support of the LIEPP laboratory of Sciences Po Paris, specialised in the evaluation of public policies. I studied the first French area-based widening participation into higher education scheme, implemented by Sciences Po in the 2000s. 

With a comprehensive and ethnographic standpoint, my research has been twofold from the start of my career. I have tried to understand the experience of actors (students, staff and educators) and to identify the institutional conditions for the success of policy tackling inequality and discrimination.

Selected Publications

Peer-reviewed Scientific Journals

  • «La discrimination positive et l’inclusion en tension : les 'Conventions éducation prioritaire' de Sciences Po». Raisons Éducatives (with Pirone, F., & Van Zanten, A). To be published in 2019. 
  • «L’origine commeressource. La discrimination positive à l’Université argentine» |The Origin as a Resource. Affirmative Action at the Argentine University|. Critique internationale 1(70), 2016, p. 159-181. Available on CAIRN.
  • «Négocier la distance institutionnelle. Discrimination positive et interactions dans une salle de classe» |Negotiating the Institutional Distance. Affirmative Action & Interactions in a Classroom|. Langage et société, 156, p. 35-56. Available on CAIRN.
  • «Un trato excepcional. Acción afirmativa cotidiana en la University of Cuyo» |Exceptional Treatment. Daily Affirmative Action at the University of Cuyo|. Revista de Política Educativa, 4, 2013, p. 75‑110. Available on Redalyc & EPAA.
  • «To Understand Understanding: How Intercultural Communication is Possible in Daily Life». Human Studies33(4), 2010, p. 371‑393. Available on JSTOR.
  • «L’expérience et l’identité. Comment parler de l’appartenance à un collectif ?» |Experience & Identity. How Can We Speak about Membership?|. Émulations - Presses Universitaires de Louvain, 8, 2010, p. 73-86. Available on Presses universitaires de Louvain & Google Books.
  • «La realización práctica del origen. Algunas razones del devenir étnico y campesino en Mendoza» |The Accomplishment of Origin. Why People Become Ethnic & Rural in Mendoza|. Estudios de Filosofía Práctica e Historia de las Ideas12(1), 2010, p. 23‑39. Available on Scielo.
  • «Mostrar y decir la etnicidad: reglas prácticas, indígenas y campesinos en una universidad argentina» |Showing & Saying Ethnicity: Practical Rules, Indigenous People & Peasants at an Argentine University|. Cuadernos Interculturales - University of Valparaíso8(14), 2010, p. 185‑195. Available on Redalyc.

Book Chapters

  • «Care (théories du) et éducation» |Care (Theories of) & Education|. In A. Van Zanten & P. Rayou (ed.), Dictionnaire de l’éducation (2nd ed.). Paris, PUF, 2017.
  • «L’ “étrangéité” ordinaire des non locaux. Tracer des frontières grâce à la catégorisation» |The Daily ‘Foreignness’ of Non-Local People. Drawing Boundaries thanks to Categorisation|. In L. Greco & M. Auzanneau (ed.), Dessiner les frontières. Lyon: ENS Éditions, to be published in 2017.
  • «Pratiques morales dans l’enseignement supérieur: la mise en accueil» |Moral Practices in Higher Education: Enacting Welcoming Activities|. In G. Gallenga, M. El-Miri, & L. Verdon (éd.), Les Improbables du service public. Paris: Karthala, to be published in 2018.
  • «Un recién llegado y un pueblo kafkiano. La definición de la pertenencia en momentos de crisis» |A Newcomer & a Kafkaesque Village. The Definition of Membership in Crises Moments|. In F. Naishtat (ed.), La crisis de sentido en debate. Historicidad, Subjetivación y Política. Buenos Aires, Biblos, to be published in 2018.
  • «Realizar la pertenencia. Más allá de la identidad y sobre las fronteras» |Membership Accomplishment. Beyond Identity and Over the Boundaries|. In A. Arpini (coord.), El humanismo, los humanismos. Ideas y prácticas revisadas desde nuestra América. Mendoza, EDIUNC, 2015, p. 341-352. 
  • «La alternancia de código como alternancia de marco: una propuesta para pensar la comunicación cotidiana con recién llegados» |Code-Switching as Frame-Swithing: Thinking Daily Communication with Newcomers|. In V. Unamuno & Á. Maldonado (ed.), Prácticas y repertorios plurilingües en Argentina. Barcelona, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 2012, p. 113‑139. Available here.
  • «Un mundo de actos. Prácticas de compromiso y exilio de agentes universitarios argentinos» |A World of Acts. Engagement & Exile of Argentine University Intellectuals|. In F. Beigel (ed.), Autonomía y dependencia académica. Universidad e investigación científica en un circuito periférico: Chile y Argentina (1950-1980). Buenos Aires, Biblos, 2012, p. 271‑313.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 750444
 
 

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