Faculty in the Spotlight: Sheena SCHUESTER, Professor of English

With more than 700 professors, including 186 permanent professor-researchers, IÉSEG offers to its students a high-quality learning experience, based on 4 key elements: an active, interdisciplinary learning process, focused on the acquisition of competencies, offered through customized curricula.

Each month, “Faculty in the spotlight” invites you to meet one of the School’s professors who presents their vision of teaching, their methods for transmitting their expertise and passion to students and shares their best memories and stories at IÉSEG.

This month, let’s meet Sheena SCHUESTER, professor of English at IÉSEG.

Sheena – what is your background?

I come from Scotland, and I have lived in France for a long time. I obtained a degree in Marketing and Languages in the UK before moving to France. When I arrived, I worked mostly in business within big companies such as Electrolux. I then decided to get into teaching because I wanted to switch careers and an opportunity came up. So, I started off teaching English in companies. What I find funny is that when I was in high school I wanted to become a teacher, then I went to university and discovered marketing and decided to get into the business field. Now, I’m back to my initial plan! My teaching has always been linked to business, and that’s why it makes sense to me to teach in a business school. I believe my background has a real added value because not only do I have the English competences but also the appropriate business vocabulary and experience that I can bring to my students here. I have been working at IÉSEG for 11 years. I started teaching English courses only, then I also began to teach personal development courses. Now, I am the English track coordinator for all of the programs at the School. I thus have a team of nearly 40 people to manage. I am responsible for recruiting and planning courses.

What types of English courses do you teach at IÉSEG?

I teach many different courses and I like the variety, that’s what I find particularly interesting. I teach first-year students of the Grande École Program, and I really enjoy it because the students are just starting off at IÉSEG and need a lot of help. I think they don’t have a lot of opportunities to speak during English classes when they’re in high school as they are in large groups. So, during their first year at IÉSEG we try to make them feel more comfortable to speak in English. I also teach 2nd year students. For example, there is a class that I find particularly interesting called “English for debating”, which is very focused on the oral techniques and how to convince people.

In the Bachelor in International Business program we have developed a course, which is based on the fictitious organization of a music festival. Just like an interdisciplinary project, students have to use knowledge from other courses such as marketing, accounting, CSR, etc..

Have you noticed an evolution in the teaching methods since your started teaching?

Yes, definitely! The first thing that has brought changes is technology. When I started 11 years ago, we were working with paper, whiteboards… now we’re introducing more technologies to the teaching methods. The objective of our languages department this year was zero paper, to be in line with IÉSEG’s  objective to reinforce its approach to sustainability.

The students have changed too. They’re much more connected now, so we have to adapt by changing our teaching methods. I try to get students more involved in class and propose more interactive activities. The course format has also changed – now we have only one class per week but it is longer than it used to be.

Why did you choose IÉSEG?

I like the fact that IÉSEG is a post-bac school, which means that students are very young and just at the beginning of their studies and adult life. I feel in connection with IÉSEG’s values and it’s important to me that the School is actually truly committed to its values. CSR, integrity, solidarity… all of these values are really important to me as I believe that the community is more important than the individual. It is also important for students to learn to work in teams for their future professional lives.

I also enjoy the multicultural atmosphere at the School. Also, when I speak with colleagues, I have the impression that IÉSEG is very well organized, and the professors appreciate the way they are welcomed into the team and supported. They’re not left alone, they’re provided with materials and it is very structured. I am a structured person, so it really matches my personality and way of working.

What do you like the most about being a professor at IÉSEG?

I love working here because I can speak English all the time and I constantly meet people of different nationalities. I had never worked in a similar context before. Usually, everybody was French except me in the company. I can say that IÉSEG takes care of its employees. We have a nice working environment, and we benefit from high tech equipment in the classrooms. The variety of what I do here is what I love the most, I wear a lot of hats: I teach, I manage a team, and I am also a coordinator for interdisciplinary projects and a pedagogical adviser. My role as pedagogical adviser is to try and help students who identify as being in academic difficulty. Of course, I enjoy the contact with the students and helping them, but I also like the global vision it gives me of the School, it provides me with a better understanding of the whole Bachelor program. I also participated in the redesign of the Bachelor cycle of the Grande École program and the Bachelor in International Business program. Also, seeing that students make progress provides a great feeling of satisfaction.

On the other hand, I really appreciated how the School managed during the pandemic. The lockdown was announced on a Thursday evening and the next Monday morning I was able to teach online. Over four days they trained everybody to use Zoom, including on the weekend, to make sure that on the Monday morning, all the teachers could start teaching.