How to Put Diversity into (Your Teaching) Practice
Diversity in Your Course Units: Relevance?
Today's super diverse society calls for highly skilled knowledge workers, who know how to deal with this reality. It is, therefore, the joint responsibility of study programmes and their lecturers to educate students into professionals who are able to deal with diversity issues in their (future) occupational field adequately. It is also important that students develop more generic competencies such as active and critical citizenship, which allows them to learn - among other things - to deal with this diverse reality.
In addition, diversity is of course also present in your student group. Even in apparently homogeneous groups, students have very different talents and can come from various backgrounds or a different preliminary education. The average student does not exist. The more you, as a lecturer, adopt a diversity-sensitive approach, the more students will feel engaged. That way you can offer students in your group optimal development opportunities.
These two elements, i.e. strengthening students’ diversity competencies and teaching in a diversity-sensitive manner, will be the focus of the Education Tip below. In (teaching) practice, these two elements go hand in hand. After all, adopting a diversity-sensitive approach is the best way possible for lecturers to show students how to deal with diversity. Before we go into that, however, it is useful to take a look at Ghent University’s definition of diversity as a concept.
What is Ghent University's Definition of Diversity?
Ghent University opts for a broad approach to diversity: any type of variety is included. This means that diversity must not be reduced to e.g. cultural diversity alone. Every student and staff member has their own, unique combination of visible and less visible personal traits. To deal with diversity means to make the most of the qualities, talents, experiences and competencies of all students and staff, and to take into account the differences and similarities of individuals and groups within our university community.
Ghent University is an open, pluralistic institution, which means that we would like to see our community reflecting all talents present in society. Ghent University’s diversity policy (in Dutch) therefore pays special attention to the underrepresentation of certain student and staff groups. Our policy advocates an inclusive learning, working and research environment, in which students and staff feel at home, and which attracts, strengthens and uses the talents that are present.