UNIC Superdiversity School - Accessibility in higher education

16/11/2022 07:23 - 18/11/2022 07:23

Teaching, studying and recruiting – towards a more inclusive university culture

UNIC Superdiversity School : Accessibility in higher education (teaching, studying and recruiting) – towards a more inclusive university culture

Online 16.-18. November 2022  - Registration

Zoom subtitles are available for all sessions

In this three-day superdiversity school, we will discuss questions around accessibility, barriers, and gatekeeping in higher education. Come and join us to exchange experience, to debate and to learn!

Who gets access to higher education and research careers? Who faces barriers? What can we all do to foster equal opportunities? We will be looking at accessibility and inclusion in particular, but choose an intersectional approach to access to higher education and research. 

The event is organised by Ruhr Universität Bochum in collaboration with the University of Oulu, Finland. Students, academics and staff of all UNIC universities are invited to join! You will be able to meet and discuss with international participants, learn about the state of research, develop new ideas and share good practice. We aim to create an easily accessible online event. All status groups and their contributions will be welcome. 


Day 1: Kickoff – Inclusion and gatekeeping in Higher Education

16.11.2022, 13:00 - 15:00 CET/UTC+1 * 14:00 - 16:00 EET/UTC+2:  for students and staff - open for all participants 

Welcoming, Keynote talk and Dialogue:  ‘Accessibility and inclusion in higher education - where do we stand in Europe?'

The day will start with welcoming words to the Superdiversity School, followed by a keynote speech from Sheila Riddell. This talk explores the subject of access to and retainment in higher education for diverse groups of students and early career research staff. Focusing on undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities, we will discuss how underrepresented and underprivileged groups fare in academia across several European countries. Which structures contribute to their participation and success? Coming from dis/ability, we will take an intersectional approach to see how ability, gender, migration and socioeconomic background and social status interact in the production of privilege (or lack of it). Finally, we will evaluate and discuss current and potential strategies of improving participation, fairness, and equity long-term. After the keynote speech, the participants will have a chance to be in small groups and reflect on their own experience of barriers.

Welcoming: Isolde Karle,Vice-Rector for Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Development, Ruhr University Bochum 

Speaker: Sheila Riddell, Director of the Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity at the University of Edinburgh

Target Group: Research and Teaching Staff, Students, and administrative staff of all experience levels


Day 2: Inclusive teaching and learning

The second day focuses on reflecting on an inclusive environment for teaching and learning, having especially university staff involved in teaching and students as target groups. 

17.11.2022, 9:00 - 10.30 CET/UTC+1 * 10:00 - 11:30 EET/UTC+2: – for students and staff - open for all participants 

Panel discussion "Implementing Inclusion in Studies and Teaching - Ways, Means, Challenges

The second day starts with a panel discussion, staffed by vice rectors from Oulu and Bochum, student representatives, teaching staff and a representative for students with disabilities. The focus is set on teaching practices in terms of inclusivity and accessibility.

We will gain insights, how well the aim of inclusivity is anchored in our universities’ regulations and how the current implementation and daily practice look like from different perspectives. What are current practices of inclusive teaching and learning at your universities? How are teachers supported and actively encouraged to develop inclusive/accessible practices for teaching and learning and to gain new skills? How do the existing practice with inclusive exams and ideas for its improvement look like? Together we will identify urgent tasks to be further developed for more inclusion in our teaching practice.

Discussion participants: 

Fides Crosberger, Student of English/American Studies & History, Ruhr University Bochum

Magda Karjalainen, University Teacher in Languages and Communications, Extension School & Faculty of Education, University of Oulu

Michaela Kusal , Representative for students with disabilities & Disability Liaison Officer

Kornelia Freitag, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, Ruhr University Bochum

Tapio Koivu, Vice rector for Education, University of Oulu

Moderation: Sandra Aßmann, Professor, Educational sciences, Ruhr University Bochum

17.11.2022, 10:45 - 12:15 CET/UTC+1 * 11:45 - 13:15 EET/UTC+2: – for teaching staff - limited number of participants

Workshop: Inclusion and accessibility in higher education and teaching: University teacher’s perspective

Higher education prepares professional practitioners and researchers to accommodate the needs of society and equips them with a mindset that shapes our society. Those specialists will not only apply knowledge, but for example will also influence how our children are educated, how buildings are built, how justice is delivered, and if they work in fashion, they will influence how our bodies are seen.

This session is going to challenge the concept of normal. Through technological examples (not only IT) we will see how our language can be stigmatized. We will face the limitations of our bodies and minds when it comes to inclusivity and, finally, we will explore together ways to make higher education more inclusive and accessible.

After the session participants will reach a better understanding of why some people seem to get more help, have a broader perspective of normal, diversity, and inclusion, know different models of disability (and where to find even more) and obtain a list with ideas on how we can make higher education more inclusive (created in the discussion groups).

Trainer: Vasiliki Mylonopoulou, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Gothenburg University

17.11.2022, 12:30 - 15:00 CET/UTC+1 * 13:30 - 16:00 EET/UTC+2: – for teaching staff - limited number of participants 

Workshop: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education - A practical approach to making teaching more inclusive 

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn, including Students with Disabilities. This growing movement aims to improve the educational experience of all students by introducing more flexible methods of teaching, assessment and service provision to cater for different learners. This workshop will be able the participants to explain the basic principles of UDL, designate different options for designing teaching in Higher Education, apply the principles and different options to your own teaching practice

The workshop will be conducted in English. You will meet teachers of our UNIC partner universities.

Trainers: Laura Lee, Research manager, and Brian Butler, Advisor for inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and Teaching Fellow, at the Centre of the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) at University College Cork (UCC). 

17.11.2022, 12:30-13:15 CET/UTC+1 * 13:30-14:15 EET/UTC+2: -  for students - limited number of participants 

Workshop: “Learn how to reach more people in social media by making digitally accessible posts“

In this workshop, we will first discuss what digital accessibility means and then the steps you can take to be mindful online, so that diverse people can access your input in social media. The examples will be from Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. The basic principles are useful on other platforms as well.

Trainer: Anna-Liisa Mattila, IT designer, University of Oulu

Day 3: Equal career opportunities in academia

The third day concentrates on gatekeeping effects in career building at universities. 

18.11.2022, 9:00 - 13:00 CET/UTC+1 * 10:00 - 14:00 EET/UTC+2:  for  administrative, technical, and service staff, science managers- limited number of participants 

Workshop: “Peer exchange: inclusion and diversity-sensitive administrative practice” 

From welcoming international guests to accommodating mobility issues or using gender-sensitive language: Science support and administration staff often work for highly diverse teams, target groups, and expectations. This is enriching, but also challenging as it demands knowledge and sensitivity regarding diversity. In this workshop, administrative staff from Bochum, Oulu and other UNIC universities will get the opportunity to exchange their experience of challenges and pleasures of working with and for university staff. In pairs or small groups, they will discuss practice examples from their workplaces: Where and how does diversity become relevant in your everyday work? What challenges arise from this?

You will need an intermediate level of English for this workshop. Don‘t worry if your English is not perfect!

This workshop addresses administrators, science support staff, and science managers. Take the opportunity to meet colleagues from another country and learn about their ways of working!

Trainer: Iris Wangermann

18.11.2022, 13:00 - 14:30 CET/UTC+1 * 14:00 - 15:30 EET/UTC+2:  for researchers and research manager - open for all participants 

Lecture: Gatekeeping in research careers: understanding and confronting selection and advancement

The lecture invites to gain a better understanding of the distinct challenges diverse researchers face in career advancement in academia. How do selection committees arrive at decisions when hiring academic staff? In their seminal research on bias in the academic hierarchy, Posselt and colleagues (2020) argue that senior faculty act as the “gatekeepers and brokers of status” in career advancement. Building upon this scholarship, Leah Hakkola’s research demonstrates that senior faculty members’ perspectives on diversity and equity play a role in either hindering or advancing diverse junior faculty in their careers. The lecture will thematize the unique barriers that underrepresented junior faculty face when working toward career advancement. Grounded in critical scholarship and liberatory praxis, we will explore how implicit bias maintains the status quo, which poses threats to equity and professional opportunities for diverse junior researchers. The concluding discussion will focus on strategies to support equitable career building - both for early career researchers facing selection processes, and for senior faculty who are enabling others in their academic career building.

Lecturer: Leah Hakkola

Zoom subtitles are available for all sessions.

The superdiversity schools are trainings and events organised by member universities of UNIC - European university of Post-Industrial Cities.

Contact: unicteam@rub.de


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