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Diversity Action Plan

‘The university values and supports the diversity of all university members with their different abilities, talents and competencies. It dismantles barriers and is committed to the active and equal participation of all university members.’

The ‘Diversity and Accessibility Action Plan for Bielefeld University’ is based on this maxim. The action plan was initiated as a sub-project of the Diversity Audit ‘Shaping Diversity’ (2018-2020) and serves primarily to develop and implement a diversity strategy tailored to Bielefeld University.


A diversity action plan is a process

Essentially, an action plan sets out within a strategic framework the steps needed to achieve an objective, in this case an accessible and inclusive University. To this end, it identifies key  action areas, analyses the current situation, determines needs, sets objectives and develops and puts in place measures to achieve those objectives. As a learning organization, Bielefeld University sees the action plan as a continual process, in which its members can actively participate in its development.

It comprises the following eight fields of action:

Field of action 1: Structure and network

Field of action 2: Sensitization

Field of action 3: Staff

Field of action 4: Digitization

Field of action 5: Teaching

Field of action 6: Studies and study conditions

Field of action 7: Teaching

Field of action 8: Campus life

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Following the University's Diversity Mission Statement (PDF),different categories of diversity serve as a heuristic for defining target groups and identifying specific needs. Social and cultural diversity categories are of particular importance, such as race/ethnicity, national identity, religion, worldview, disability (with regard to all chronic mental or physical impairments, irrespective of any official recognised (severe) disability status, gender, sexual orientation (with regard to gender identity and physical or chromosome variants of gender development), age, and parenthood/family.

With a duration of seven years in total (01/2021-12/2027), the action plan is divided into several project phases, each focusing on one type of diversity and its intersectional links.

Phase 1: Implementation of the UN CRPD

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Area of action 1: Structure and network

Goal: Bielefeld University defines the implementation of the Diversity Policy as a high-priority task that cuts across all areas of the university.


Field of action 2: Sensitization

Goal: Bielefeld University establishes diversity sensitivity and accessibility as a quality attribute of its organizational culture. 


Field of Action 3: Employees

Goal: The university ensures the active participation for all employees in teaching, research, service on the basis of equal opportunity.


Field of Action 4: Digitisation

Goal: The university provides accessible digital content and infrastructure to ensure equal opportunity and active participation of employees and students with disabilities.


We provide regular updates on the progress of the action plan on our Blog

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The first project phase of the action plan focuses on the difference category of disability and so serves to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In addition to promoting and supporting people with disabilities, this project phase focuses on dismantling barriers faced by disabled people which include negative attitudes and physical barriers. The action plan is aligned with the conclusions of the UN CRPD, that ‘disability arises from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others’2 The target group therefore includes both people with and without disabilities at the university.

Up until now, goals for the first four fields of action have been defined, an analysis of the current situation has been carried out, and measures developed and implemented.

Further news on our blog


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