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Diversity Instead of Simplicity: We Are In

Nowadays you often hear the sentences “Munich is colorful” or “Germany is colorful”. This refers to the diversity of the people in our city and our country. But what does this diversity consist of? How does it have an impact? And how colorful is the Technical University of Munich? We took a closer look.

A handful of companies initiated the “Diversity Charter” in 2006. In September 2010, the non-profit association “Charta der Vielfalt” was founded. The association is committed to anchoring diversity in business and society. But what does diversity mean? The charter divides the term into different dimensions and contains a four-level model for this purpose.

Starting from the personality, diversity primarily makes itself felt through so-called inner dimensions. These include age, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion and belief, disability, ethnic origin and nationality. In the next step, however, so-called external dimensions also have an influence. These include habits, leisure behaviour, public appearances or income and geographical location. The last step is the organisational dimension. These include, for example, field of work and content, trade union membership or management status. All these factors create diversity – both in society and in the economy.

“Compared to other universities and colleges, we do a lot”

“The Technical University of Munich signed the Diversity Charter back in 2007,” says Anja Quindeau, in her staff position responsible for diversity of opportunities, career and further education at TUM. “Since 2013, our faculties have also been participating in the official Diversity Day with various projects”. This takes place annually on 26 May. This year, however, everything is a bit different. Corona has thwarted a lot of activities. But some people won’t let that stop them. For example, the Faculty of Sports and Health Sciences is holding an online dialogue event entitled “Trans*/Inter* – What relevance does the topic have for health, studies and everyday life? The aim is to discuss the interface between Trans*/Inter* and health on the one hand, but also how tolerance for gender diversity can be implemented in everyday life at university on the other hand. Listeners will also be able to participate in the discussion.

Whether the “Hörsaal Slam Vol. 6” will take place in the Audimax is currently still open. The slam of the TUM’s Diversity & Queer department, which is part of the TUM student representation, would focus on equal rights, otherness and diversity. With professional moderation and fantastic poets, the department plans a colorful evening. The audience will choose the best slammer.

Anja Quindeau is pleased about the high level of commitment. “Compared to other universities and colleges, we do a lot. Especially because we organize it decentrally at the faculty level and not across the whole university.” In 2012, the Technical University of Munich developed measures and target agreements for all faculties. For a period of five years, the faculties were required to report annually on the progress made on the topic of diversity. What at first sounds like compulsion, soon became a matter of course. “Once the 2018 targets had been reached, the faculties set new ones on their own and work on them every day,” says Quindeau, who as a social scientist has long been involved with the topic of inequality.

There is still one difficulty

Whether inclusion, religion, digital accessibility or studying with children – the TUM is working on many topics to ensure the broadest possible diversity. A good example of this is the introduction of the Women’s Representative, which took place back in 1988. “Since then we have had explicit offers for female pupils and students,” says Quindeau. The diversity at the university is naturally also expressed by the high proportion of international students. Of the 42,700 students currently enrolled, 32 percent are from abroad.

By the way: 36 percent of the students at the TUM are female. That is good, but there is still room for improvement. That’s why the Technical University of Munich ensures  that girls and young women discover their talent and passion for science with programs like TUM Entdeckerinnen. “With the MINT experiences and impulses, we want to break down stereotypes, strengthen the girls’ self-confidence and help them discover their own abilities,” says Johanna Burgert, head of ExploreTUM.

The topic of mental health is also becoming increasingly important at the Technical University of Munich. Students receive support at their faculties as well as on university level. For example, “TUM4Mind” was founded specifically for this purpose.

The various offers are well received by both staff and students – if they know about it. There is one problem with all the diversity initiatives at TUM: “New offers sometimes don’t get around so quickly, so people don’t notice them at first,” explains Quindeau. But the faculties are working on it. Because the TUM is colorful.

 

Photo by fauxels on Pexels

 

The post Diversity Instead of Simplicity: We Are In appeared first on Technical University of Munich – School of Management.

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