Opening up educational opportunities
Like will to like? Experience shows that the route to successful higher education is open above all to young German people from educated, financially secure backgrounds. Ensuring that this does not remain the status quo into the future is the task of the first Vice-Rectorate for Diversity Management (DiM) in Germany, which the UDE has established in recognition of the huge potential of cultural diversity.
Reflecting student and staff diversity
As society becomes more mixed and globally networked, teaching and research must reflect student and staff diversity to a greater extent. This process should begin well before students embark on higher education, continue throughout their university career, and not come to an end when they enter professional life. Diversity management brings together a range of different activities, develops new instruments and ties up the many aspects relating to diversity into one overall concept.
Challenges and opportunities
The UDE recognises the challenges and the opportunities presented by the diversity of its students, many of whom come from the local region, from lower income and/or educationally disadvantaged sections of the population, and not infrequently have a migrant background. These statistics are the outcome of the first comprehensive survey of students aimed at tailoring options for student funding and support.
On a nationwide scale, the UDE has the third highest number of international graduates. In order to improve their educational opportunities and academic success, various measures are being set up and developed to assist students at all levels, from freshers to postgraduates. Naturally, such measures are more effective if implemented as early as possible. The UDE is therefore working with schools and funding bodies to devise concepts to provide material and non-material support to gifted students and introduce them to the possibility of university education. The UDE has a number of existing programmes to build on in this context.
Gender equality and diversity issues
Sensitising teaching staff to gender equality and diversity issues is another, equally important task. At the same time, diversity management also focuses on achieving a better balance between family life and higher education or a career, for example, or developing professional and continuing higher education provision, including options for combining study and employment. The aim here is to reach out to different target groups such as individuals with foreign qualifications.
As a university in one of the largest industrial regions in Europe, the UDE is faced with the challenge of making itself accessible to qualified working people and using their experience, expertise and contacts for its students. It is therefore directing its attention towards improving access for people with qualifications by recognising professional competence and by creating the conditions for lifelong learning.