»Vielfalt gestalten« (shaping diversity) Audit Kick-Off Workshop — University Joins »Charta der Vielfalt« (Charter of Diversity)
On 18 June, the introductory workshop of the »Vielfalt gestalten« (shaping diversity) audit took place. Approximately 50 university members joined in to exchange ideas about diversity at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and to collaboratively develop ideas and measures for a future diversity strategy. The goal of the audit of the German Stifterverband, in which the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar is to participate over the next two years, is to develop and implement a diversity strategy.
In his welcoming speech, Prof. Dr. Speitkamp, President of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, emphasised the importance of diversity as an opportunity to gain new insights, perspectives and methods of approach, underlining in this connection the creative potential of differences. At the same time, he emphasised the right to protection and recognition of diversity in all its dimensions. He expressed his gratitude to all those who support diversity and anti-discrimination at the university, and especially to Prof. Dr. Andrea D. Bührmann who, as an auditor, is accompanying the process at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar in an advisory capacity.
The university used the workshop as an opportunity to initiate its accession to the »Charta der Vielfalt« (Charter of Diversity). After the welcoming address, the President signed the certificate, which is now to be countersigned at the German Federal Chancellery by the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration. The Bauhaus-Universität Weimar will thus become part of a network of currently 3,900 signatories who are committed to promoting recognition, appreciation and inclusion of diversity in the working environment, and to encouraging appreciative and unprejudiced cooperation in their companies and institutions.
Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Jutta Emes, Vice-President of International Affairs, Diversity and Transfer, presented the self-evaluation report, in which the university's existing offers are compiled and initial goals and measures for future strategies are formulated. In particular, she addressed the increasing role that diversity is playing in the excellent standing of the university, for example in the recruitment of students and the acquisition of third-party funding. It became clear that the many offers already in place provide a good foundation that now requires further expansion in order to further improve working and learning conditions for all members and to ensure a respectful environment.
Prof. Dr. Andrea D. Bührmann concluded with a lecture on the topic of »Vielfalt gestalten und Potentiale nutzen. Diversitätsstrategien an Universitäten« (shaping diversity and using potential — diversity strategies at universities), in which she addressed different concepts of diversity and possible approaches to integrating and implementing diversity at universities.
During the contributions, there were lively but also controversial discussions, comments and interjections, bringing to light the great importance and the emotionality of the topic. To engage in continuous exchange and discussion with one another, to give space and a voice to differing perspectives and experiences, to face each other with a basis of tolerance towards mistakes and a mutual respect, to engage together in a continuous learning process; the necessity of these ideals was once again made particularly clear.
The first opportunity for a more in-depth exchange was offered in the various working groups after the lunch break. In addition to a spontaneously established open-topic working group dealing in particular with the topic of international higher education and racism, the other groups focused on staff selection, support services and management of complaints as well as diversity in teaching. In these groups, the focus of the questions included: how selection of staff can be implemented in a more transparent and criteria-guided manner in order to facilitate access to the university as a place to work to a more diverse range of people; how the visibility of existing support services can be increased and how to encourage people to use the responsible offices in the case of discrimination; and how the topic of diversity can be brought into teaching and ways in which diversity-appropriate teaching could be implemented. Further information on the individual working groups can be found at: www.uni-weimar.de/vielfalt-gestalten
Until the second workshop, which is expected to take place in autumn within the scope of the audit, the working groups are now encouraged to consider these complex thematic areas and to involve other interested persons.
The working groups are open to all, and the opportunity to come along and get involved is available any time. All members of the university are still warmly invited to get involved in the process and shape diversity at the university together!