Doris Montes, Education Manager – University of Rouen Normandy
- Introduce yourself! What is your role at the University of Rouen Normandy?
My name is Doris Montes and I am the Education Manager of the Musicology Department. I am in my sixth year in this department, which is part of the UFR Letters and Humanities division. My main mission is to welcome and inform students. This means guiding and advising them on a daily basis. We truly strive to match students’ educational interests as best as possible. Being in regular contact with them, I also have an opinion on how to do things, how to organize them in the best way, because they come to me when they are employed, when they have family responsibilities. I have to adjust the schedules as much as possible so that they can be at the University as much as possible and things are always good for them.
- You are a pedagogical administrator, not an administrative one. What is the difference?
Administrative education manages registration: fact of payment of registration fee, registration in training, scholarships, student card, everything global. For the education part, I manage enrollment in courses. There are no absolute course options for musicology, but other departments do and you can choose the path mentioned. This is the main difference.
- What does your job involve on a daily basis?
I am mainly interested in study time. We have a teacher who manages the schedules, which I then set up, especially in terms of room availability. For example, we have dedicated piano rooms for our students. Some courses need these rooms, some don’t. It is necessary to stop the workforce, create groups according to the restrictions. We only have one room with ten pianos, so we can’t accommodate twelve students. Day-to-day life involves organizing timetables, organizing exam timetables, meeting students to talk about their projects, especially on the L1 side because there is a lot of referrals and you have to be able to direct them to the right services. Finally, I’m the first person they see when they have questions.
You should also know that regardless of the UFR LSH department, the education managers all work together. I think it’s important to point that out. We are in regular contact and I appreciate that exchange. You can’t work alone, you wouldn’t be able to. Students sometimes think that I am alone, but no, there is a whole network of services around.
- The musicology department is not necessarily the department we know best, can you tell us more about it?
The Department of Musicology has approximately 250 students from L1 to MEEF masters and belongs to UFR Letters and Human Sciences. Often we are confused and think that students come to make music. No, it’s a BA in literature, so it’s basically a MEEF MA for research or teaching. We have music theory and score analysis classes. There is instrumental experience, but it is not the majority part. They have vocal practice lessons that they really put a lot of effort into and that the students love. Moreover, the teacher who runs this course told me that some students choose to take L1, L2, L3 or all courses in this subject at graduate level. They free themselves when they can and come to help and train. We have MEEF graduate students who take L1 courses and come to conduct choirs as it is part of their CAPES competition. They come to train in L1s that are a bit of a guinea pig. It is truly a department on a human scale. I don’t like to say small department, I prefer to say human scale. It allows me to have real knowledge of the students, be it the teachers or myself. There is real unity and real solidarity. There are student support groups available online to educate and share information. This is how we work in musicology, and we like it.
- Are you studying in the musicology department? Is it a choice related to special affinities?
No way! I love music as much as anyone I think, but I know nothing about music theory. So, at work I learned a little about what it is. We work with the conservatoires of Rouen, Caen and Grand-Couronne as well as CEFEDEM (ed.: Dance and music teacher training center) and this forced me to train myself, to try to understand the technical terms to know. why this course is more than another. Most of my students, I would say 90%, study at a music school or conservatory, so they know more about it than I do. No, it was completely by accident that I found myself there, it was not my choice. On the other hand, staying is an obvious choice because it’s really great to work with the teachers I’ve met, in research but also in contact and as people.
- Do you have direct contact with students? Is this something important to you?
Yes indeed! That’s why I took this job as an education manager, not necessarily in musicology. I have previously worked as a contract CPE in colleges and high schools. I also worked as a contract teacher for a while. So, really, communication with young people is the most important thing for me. I thought because they were students that would change things and it really doesn’t. They still need to be really heard and embraced because it’s a big change for them. They go from high school, where they have to work with teachers, CPEs, supervisors, to “I’m alone at university”. A former director said that I was a bit like “their beacon” in this department because they systematically looked to me for information. My job is to always have answers for them, to at least reassure them. The Education Managers, and I, like the managers of all other schools, are there to take all questions and provide them with that little support as much as possible to ensure they are not alone at the University. We are obviously in favor of autonomy, but somewhere we still have to give them the basics and that’s what we’re here for.