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Diversity in Higher Education

Diversity and heterogeneity are terms that are increasingly being used at the higher education policy level. More and more higher education institutions have vice rectors, staff units, and diversity officers focusing on diversity and diversity management.

The relatively recent shift among German higher education institutions toward diversity and diversity management is due to two factors: first, the institutions’ increasing focus on international competition and management tools derived from the field of business; and second, developments in the area of equality of opportunity and equal treatment policies at higher education institutions themselves and the laws enacted to fight discrimination at the national level (including the 2006 General Equal Treatment Act) and the European one.

Strong arguments have been made in favor of diversity and diversity management at various times in recent years, driven by factors such as demographic trends, the current shortage of skilled workers, and the push to open up higher education admissions to working adults who have not completed the Abitur as a qualification and to students from families without a history of educational attainment and those with a history of immigration. Different expectations apply to diversity strategies, depending on their focus. These expectations range from improved chances in international competition to opening higher education institutions to new groups and even achieving greater equality of opportunity and educational equity in society at large.

Project Goals

Good Diversity is a project that is interested in practices at higher education institutions. It looks at current developments with four goals:

  • to stimulate the debate surrounding diversity in higher education using the brochures created to guide actions as part of the project;

  • to support university administrations and responsible parties in staff units, diversity officers, and representatives in developing and implementing diversity concepts;

  • to provide them with expert knowledge to guide their actions in achieving this, combining diversity with nondiscriminatory practices and reflecting critically on diversity and diversity management; and

  • thereby contributing to the further development of equal treatment, equality of opportunity, and educational equity at higher education institutions in Germany.