TU diversity management
At the TU Vienna we are committed to supporting all university members with all their differences and similarities, wherever they are in life and whatever career path they have chosen. For this reason, the TU Diversity Management initiative aims to achieve a positive atmosphere at the TU Vienna, to prevent social discrimination of employees and students and to improve equal opportunities, since a diverse workforce is the best resource to enable the flexibility, innovation and creativity required for technical, university and social processes (TU Vienna Equal Opportunities Plan, 2017).
At the TU Vienna, we believe that all university members must be involved in the implementation of this vision so that we can achieve a resource-oriented, respectful diversity culture in the long term.
What is Diversity
Diversity refers to the differences and similarities between people or groups. These can be considered on an individual, institutional and structural level and affect all people, not just individual groups.
However, diversity is more than a mere description of individual and social diversity. Diversity is also:
- a human-rights-oriented understanding of diversity that aims at equal rights and takes into account the diversity and complexity of people and their circumstances
- a change of perspective from a problem-centred to a resource-oriented understanding of target groups
- an organisational and personnel development instrument that leads to greater efficiency and creativity in work processes, better customer orientation and more social justice.
No one is exclusively "woman", "Muslim", "old" or "disabled". Rather, we are all at some age, are healthy or live with health impairments, assign ourselves to one gender or not, have hetero- or homosexual partnerships, are religious or not, have different world views and have roots in different countries. To these characteristics, often referred to as primary dimensions of diversity, secondary dimensions such as different occupations and training, marital status, parenthood, geographical location, etc. are added. In this way, each person represents a colourful and unique potpourri of diversity dimensions. These do not stand side by side, but overlap, are intertwined and socially effective.
What is Diversity Management?
Diversity management includes all measures that aim to
- make unequal treatment based on a particular affiliation an issue (de-tabooing)
- reduce structural barriers
- to sensitise for diversity issues
- develop diversity competences
- to make the positive potential of diversity visible and tangible
- to create an open culture for all employees and students
The aim is to integrate the teaching of diversity competences into different curricula. Thus, the dimensions (e.g. age, disabilities, gender, interculturality) are not only to be considered as a cross section, but also included in concrete terms.
New and existing research projects that already address various aspects of diversity will also be supported. Exemplary diversity related projects of the TU Vienna:
intergenerational building and housing
Assisted Living Technologies
Human Computer Interaction
At the management level, the main focus is on the promotion and development of diversity competences. Diversity competences exist at different levels and include, for example, the recognition and knowledge that the different dimensions (age, disability, interculturality, gender, religion and belief and sexual orientation) interact (can interact; = intersectionality). However, not only recognition and knowledge play a major role, but also the possibility and competence to professionally and strategically deal with diversity, in coordination with the existing objectives of the TU Vienna.
Especially the offers of the personnel development (further education, coaching, etc.) should support the employees in developing their diversity competences.
In order to ensure the vision and strategy of the Vienna University of Technology in the long term, aspects of the diversity dimensions have been and are being anchored in documents and processes (e.g. employee interview guidelines, recruiting guidelines, career positions, model curricula, budgeting processes according to the provisions of § 4 Women's Promotion Plan and § 41 Federal Budget Act (BHG)6 , selection of coaches and trainers), which are applied in consideration of the formulated diversity aspects. The general anchoring in the processes of the TU Vienna is aimed at as a major objective of the TU Diversity Management.
Exemplary anchoring in strategic documents
In addition to further regulations, the Equal Opportunities Plan, opens an external URL in a new window serves, on the one hand, the implementation of the legal requirements for the actual equality and equal treatment of all university members and the compatibility of work/study and family life at the Vienna University of Technology, but also the sensitisation, recognition and acknowledgement of the diversity dimensions of age, disabilities, interculturality, gender, religion and belief and sexual orientation (dimensions according to the Anti-Discrimination and Equal Treatment Act).
Together with the so-called TU Diversity Board, priority topics are defined for each year, for which measures are developed and implemented on the one hand and (info) events are organised on the other. The following projects and offers have emerged from diversity management:
- MORE, an extraordinary study programme for people with a refugee background
- The Psychosocial Counselling Service for Students at the TU Vienna, which offers a first point of contact especially for students with psychological problems or symptoms of stress
- The LGBTIQ-ALLY network, which sends a visible signal both internally and externally that the TU Vienna is a place where people can feel free and contribute their talents - regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.