Bielefeld university presents two emerging projects in the action area of Diversity & Inclusion: The Mapping of Inclusion and the NEOlogue Podcast. Aiming to promote exchange and cooperation amongst the European Universities in the NEOLAiA network, these initiatives are to encourage participation of diverse groups in higher education activities.
Ensuring a welcoming approach to diversity is one of NEOLAiA’s trademarks, based on a common commitment and understanding of diversity and inclusion. Promoting individual backgrounds and talents are European values shared by all NEOLAiA partners. Thus, the NEOLAiA action area Diversity and Inclusion, led by Bielefeld University, focuses on raising awareness of the respective priorities, supporting accessible student and staff mobility, and investigating multiple approaches to diversity and inclusion across the NEOLAiA higher education institutions. Within this context, activities include, among others, the promotion of digital accessibility via an online portal, a tool for accessible navigation on campus as well as an anti-discrimination action plan.
In November, representatives of the NEOLAiA partner universities, working in the area of diversity and inclusion, came together in consecutive online meetings in order to address two further opportunities for the members, so that a common approach is ensured based on mutual contributions. The implementation of two ongoing activities came to the foreground:
Firstly, the Mapping of Inclusion, which aims at a qualitative overview of inclusive and diverse offers at the NEOLAiA institutions.
“We would like to share our visions of inclusion and diversity – thus, reaching into different realisations, such as teaching, accessibility, digitalisation and administration. […] Our goal is a qualitative mapping to draw an overview of inclusive and diverse services and offices at the NEOLAiA institutions.” (Prof.in Dr. Michaela Vogt – UNIBI)
The participants shared their ideas and visions of an inclusion mapping: A common denominator is raising awareness of differences, thus removing obstacles which impede participation at the institutions. The determined goal is to remove boundaries in studying and working environments as well as render these environments open and respectful. Furthermore, it was highlighted that infrastructural and organisational changes may be applied in order to achieve an inclusive and diverse institution.
Secondly, the NEOLAiA podcast NEOlogue was introduced and presented to the consortium members. The Bielefeld University working team designed a podcast format to address pressing issues on Diversity and Inclusion within the network, as well as share expertise and experiences to discover potentials and visions of the NEOLAiA members. The podcast series, which is going to air in the next months, will be available on the NEOLAiA website and will be provided with accessibility options such as transcripts and necessary translations. Staff and students at all NEOLAiA institutions are invited to participate and contribute to this conversational format. Regarding future plans of the podcast, it is intended that it will be extended to include content from further NEOLAiA partners with episodes regarding different action areas and/or preferred topics.
In the process of deepening the collaboration amongst the NEOLAiA consortium, the area of diversity and inclusion is actively expanding. We are striving to facilitate smooth participation in higher education for every individual. Providing reliable information through organized channels such as the mapping of inclusion and the podcast will encourage the flow of information both within the NEOLAiA network and outside, in order to make the general public aware of our diverse and inclusive offerings.
Written by: Prof.in Dr. Michaela Vogt, Marianthi Kontelli, Lucas Mronga For more information, contact with firstname.lastname@example.org