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Welcome to the University of Vienna’s Diversity Information Platform!

Students, staff and other people who work within the context of the University as well as interested parties can find out more about the issue of diversity at the University of Vienna here. Since the relaunch of the portal in 2014, the contents of the page have been edited and regularly updated by the Gender Equality and Diversity Unit.

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Fundamental principle

Diversity enriches our community life by opening up different ways of understanding, thinking and acting. The perception, recognition and utilisation of diversity are therefore key fundamental values of the University of Vienna. All members of the University of Vienna - students, staff, visitors and those who are interested in the University - contribute towards a diverse university culture with their individuality.

Definition of Diversity

The University of Vienna supports a very open and broad concept of diversity and perceives the diversity of its members as a potential:

"The core concept of the diversity discourse can be summed up as the recognition of human diversity and the pluralisation of life forms in their individual, social and political dimensions. Diversity approaches differentiate themselves from other approaches which define difference as a problem which has to be remedied. By contrast, differences are viewed here as a source of enrichment which are worth promoting (Rosenstreich 2011: 232)."

"Diversity stands for social plurality, and for the heterogeneity and variety of life situations and life plans which are characteristic for late modernist societies. The causes behind this development are considered to be not merely the diversification of social situations, but also the increasing significance of globalised mobility (Eggers 2011: 256)."

Diversity in the context of the University

"In today's knowledge societies, universities are vital for the country's social, economic and cultural development. This applies in particular to the University of Vienna: it is, after all, by far the largest university in Austria, providing the widest range of subject areas (2020 Development Plan: 5)".

Against the background of its social and cultural responsibility, the University of Vienna distances itself from purely market and profit-oriented approaches to diversity. Equality of opportunities, anti-discrimination, gender equality and equal treatment form the cornerstones of its understanding of diversity.

Equal opportunities

While schemas of perception and appreciation give security by guiding our approach to the world, they can, however, also be the cause of discrimination if they are too rigid: a negative, fixed image of a person or group of people can deny them equal opportunities and block their access to resources such as knowledge, money or the power to make decisions.

Diversity results in creativity and innovation

The differing biographical, social and cultural backgrounds and experiences of students and employees at the University of Vienna do not just enhance research and teaching but also enrich everyday interpersonal coexistence. Diversity produces creativity and innovation, which offer opportunities for development that can be of great significance at every level. The mission of an educational institution is therefore to provide a wealth of teaching and learning opportunities. These opportunities should not just be opened up to students but also to its employees.

 

List of sources:

Eggers, Maisha-Maureen (2011): Diversity/Diversität in: Susan Arndt & Nadja Ofuatey-Alazard (ed.): Wie Rassismus aus Wörtern spricht. (K)Erben des Kolonialismus im Wissensarchiv deutsche Sprache. Ein kritisches Nachschlagewerk. Münster: Unrast.

Rosenstreich, Gabriele Dina (2011): Antidiskriminierung und/als/trotz...Diversity Training. In: María do Mar Castro Varela/Nikita Dhawan (ed.), Soziale (Un)Gerechtigkeit. Kritische Perspektiven auf Diversity, Intersektionalität und Antidiskriminierung. Münster, Vienna: Lit.

University of Vienna (2015): 2020 Development Plan. Vienna.

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