The History of ISA Lille

Agriculture, the root of ISA

Founded by Norbert Ségard, ISA opened its doors on the Lille Catholic University campus in 1963. An initiative undertaken by agricultural professional organization, ISA joined a multidisciplinary scientific community: with HEI, ISEN, the College of Sciences, etc. The French Agricultural Ministry took a great interest in this complementarity; within just 15 months, ISA was officially recognized by the French government.

As underlined by a 1965 article from La Voix du Nord, ISA’s creation responded to a need beyond the region. This need was to educate engineers capable of working on farms, in the agricultural industry, in administrative, economic and technical roles in professional organizations, and encourage students to join scientific career tracks in research and teaching, as well as responding to developing needs in these areas. These prospects are still available today, and now surpass the subject of agriculture.

Initially concentrated on agricultural education, ISA expanded its disciplinary fields and expertise in life sciences over time. Food Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Agro-Economics and Landscape arose to complete ISA’s academic offer and enrich the educational programs and research, all while keeping at the core of its mission: to educate Engineers for the Earth.

International as the core of ISA’s Pedagogical Practice

From the very beginning, international education has been a key point at ISA. In 1967, Belgian and Dutch students integrated ISA for a short study tour: the first steps toward developing international academic exchanges, today an integral part of an ISA students’ education.

With the goal of internationalization, in 1976 ISA implemented a period of Rupture for all students: an obligatory trip abroad for several months. This experience remains one of the major events in ISA’s engineering training program.

A grand interdisciplinary tradition

Since its creation, ISA maintains strong ties with neighboring engineering schools HEI and ISEN Lille. La Voix du Nord dated January 11, 1965 highlights that the Agricultural Ministry is very aware of the fact that future industrial and agricultural engineers could work together and at the same level. The article entitled “ISA allows agricultural engineers to be educated alongside their colleagues in electronics, chemistry and textiles”. What’s more, Norbert Ségard declared already in 1965 “our concern, for all engineering schools, is to stop all competitiveness and give them rather a complementary shape.” This idea was the basis for the creation of Yncréa Hauts-de-France, which today unites the three schools HEI, ISA and ISEN Lille under the same entity.

Dynamic student life

ISA students today participate in a rich and diverse life on campus, a lasting legacy of their precedessors. The first classes of ISA intitated numerous associative and unifying events which continue today. The student government, first called Corpo and now “association étudiante” (AE), galvanizes student life and assembles the different student clubs and associations at ISA Lille. The school paper, orientation week for incoming first-year students, Soirée Cab’ and more…many events which continue to be at the center of student life even today.

This article was translated from French and edited for content. Read the original and complete article here:

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