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Aurora Brown Bag Lecture Series

Doing Diversity in Higher Education in the Aurora European Universities Alliance

Silke Meyer & Dirk Rupnow (University of Innsbruck)
organised by the Aurora pilot domain
"Culture: Diversity & Identity“ and by the research area "Cultural Encounters - Cultural Conflicts“

Wednesday, from beginning of October 2021 to the end of January 2022

12:00-13:30, weekly (45’ lecture, 45’ moderated Q&A) 

chat tool



5 ECTS, BA, MA and PhD level

Culture, diversity, and identity are all highly contested concepts and generate tension. Especially the notions of culture and identity have been reviewed critically for their potential to evoke essentialism and for their use in rhetorics and practices of segregation and discrimination. Diversity, however, is associated with an appreciation of difference and social inclusion. Universities have committed to this concept of diversity, not only in academic debate but also on the level of mission statements, administration and recruitment. Diversity has become a key aspect in the self-image and social commitment of universities. 

We therefore propose to address the concept of diversity in higher education and its multi-faceted effects on university life in the lecture series “Doing Diversity in Higher Education”. Our starting point is the understanding that society is shaped by a dynamic interplay of categories like gender, race, and ethnicity, class, age, and (dis)abilities. These categories influence access to economic, social and legal resources and they affect a sense of membership and belonging as well as experiences of social in- and exclusion.

With inequalities on the rise in the age of globalization, the university strives to be/become/remain a diverse, open, and egalitarian institution while battling a variety of internal inequalities and differences (intellectual capacities and their relation to class background, merit-based access and equality, neo-colonial conditions of knowledge production). The university’s elite past and present and the ideal of appreciating difference constitute a predicament which needs to be tackled on various levels.

We therefore invite colleagues and students from different disciplines, status groups and geopolitical locations of the Aurora European Universities Alliance to share their insights and approaches on diversity in a lecture series. What is the general societal framework for understanding and promoting diversity in the respective countries? How do we fulfil our commitment to diversity in enrolment and teaching, how are diversity policies reflected in recruitment of staff and faculty? How is diversity reflected in social entrepreneurship? What is the student experience of diversity in different countries and types of universities? In short: How do we do diversity in higher education?

Everybody can join the lecture series without any registration via the stream and participate through the chat tool. If you want to take it as part of your study program: please register and note the asessment criteria.  

For interested students: This lecture series is part of the international AURORA teaching program and therefore open to students of all AURORA partner Universities. It requires a special registration between 30 August and 12 September 2021:  https://www.uibk.ac.at/international/aurora/kursangebote/uibk/index.html.en

Please note that you do NOT need a letter of motivation for this course.

Exam: Summary and reflection of three sessions (max. 1,200 words) for BA students, summary and reflection of five sessions (max. 2,000 words) for MA and PhD students. PhD students are further invited to participate in informal meetings to further discuss the topic of diversity in higher education.



06/10/2021 VRin Univ.-Prof. Dr. Anna Buchheim & Univ.-Prof. Dr. Silke Meyer & Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Dirk Rupnow (Universität Innsbruck)
Introduction: University and Diversity 
13/10/2021 VRin Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau (Universität Duisburg-Essen)
Diversity and Well-Being in German and North American Academia


Panel discussion

„Perspektiven für Europa!“
with SE Jean Asselborn, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg

12:30–13:30 / Assembly hall of the LFU / Innrain 52 / 1st floor

Tilmann Märk, Rektor, Universität Innsbruck
Armand Hausmann, Honorarkonsul von Luxemburg in Österreich
Sabine Saint-Rose, Programme Director, Aurora European Universities Alliance, Amsterdam (Videozuspielung)

SE Jean Asselborn in conversation with Silke Meyer (European Ethnology) and Dirk Rupnow (Contemporary History)

Registration required!

27/10/2021 Mag. Dr. Vera Brandner & Mag. Dr. Bernadette Müller Kmet (Universität Innsbruck)
„Chill die Basis“: Empowerment of non-traditional students - project findings
03/11/2021 Assoc. Prof. Barbara Biglia (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona)
The need for a feminist intersectional approach to tackle Sexual and gender-related violence within HE institutions
10/11/2021 Assoc. Prof. Dr. Francesca Scamardella & Assoc. Prof. Dr. Flora Di Donato (University of Naples Federico II)
Protecting Vulnerable People Rights as a Challenge to Higher Education: Clinical Legal Education as a Path Toward Social Inclusion
17/11/2021 Ass.-Prof. Dr. Rina Alluri (Universität Innsbruck)
Moving towards new territory: Perspectives on diversity and inclusion
24/11/2021 Dr. ir. Marieke Slootman (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Diversity & Inclusion in the Netherlands. Inclusive Education in online and offline classrooms
01/12/2021 Dr. Mayannah N. Dahlheim (Universität Duisburg-Essen)
The Stories We Tell (Ourselves) - Diversity and Equity in Higher Education
15/12/2021 Prof. Dr. Maura Striano & Assoc. Prof. Dr. Anna Lisa Amodeo (University of Naples Federico II)
Valuing Differences to Promote Well-Being and Inclusion. The experience of the “Anti-Discrimination and Culture of Differences” Section at the University of Naples Federico II
12/01/2022 Mag. Dr. Alexandra Weiss & Mag. Dr. Sabine Engel (Universität Innsbruck)
Doing Diversity at the University of Innsbruck - From Theory to Practice
19/01/2022 Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pavlína Flajšarová & Ass. Prof. Dr. Jiří Flajšar (Palacký University Olomouc)
Diversity, Identity and Success in Higher Education: British and American Perspectives
26/01/2022 Ass. Prof. Dr. Brynja E. Halldórsdóttir Gudjonsson & Assoc. Prof. Dr. Karen Rut Gísladóttir (University of Iceland) 
Leading Equity Initiatives in Icelandic Higher Education: A view from the University of Iceland


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