Universiteit Leiden

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Conference | Diversity & inclusion symposium

From diversity to inclusion: strategies for an inclusive curriculum and learning environment

Wednesday 22 January 2020
Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden

Leiden University has welcomed growing diversity in its students and staff in recent years. Yet being diverse is not the same as being inclusive. How can we ensure a working and learning environment where all students and staff feel at home, and where everyone has the opportunity to develop their talents? Does our teaching reach all our students? What can programme chairs and administrators do to make the curriculum more inclusive? And how do we engage with questions about race and racism – one of the most complex and challenging topics of our time?

This year’s symposium, hosted by the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, will explore what we all can do to contribute to an inclusive learning and working environment, whether we are lecturers, students or administrators, or engage with students and staff in other capacities. We are excited to be able to welcome Frank Tuitt, a scholar and experienced Diversity Officer, to talk about his experience in promoting inclusive excellence in teaching. Kamna Patel, Vice Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at University College London (UCL), will discuss why ‘race’ is such a challenging but necessary topic to tackle as part of diversity policy. Their talks will be followed by a series of interactive workshops focusing on institutional transformation, implicit bias, working and studying with a disability, social boundaries and consent, anti-racist alliances and inclusivity skills training, which should offer ideas and tools on how to contribute to a more inclusive and safe learning and working environment for all.


Pravini Baboeram, programme manager at ECHO


Reception with refreshments
Welcome and introduction: Vice Rector Magnificus Hester Bijl
Diversity, inclusivity and the curriculum: an interview with Paul Wouters, Dean of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, and Aya Ezawa, Diversity Officer
13:30- 14:15
Frank Tuitt, Professor of Higher Education at the Morgridge College of Education
Kamna Patel, Vice Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, UCL
Launch event: Access & Support Platform
Award ceremony Van Bergen Prize
Afghan Buffet

Making Excellence Inclusive in Challenging Times: Global Considerations for Decolonising the Classroom and Beyond

Frank Tuitt, Professor of Higher Education at the Morgridge College of Education

In recent years, major demographic and economic changes worldwide have contributed to the diversification of higher education. As a result, the need to understand how to advance access, inclusion and equity in increasingly diverse classrooms has taken on a greater importance. Accordingly, this session explores the concept of Inclusive Excellence and the implications it has for teaching and learning in a variety of higher educational settings. This presentation will expose participants to a range of pedagogical considerations to link inclusion to teaching excellence.

‘Race’ and hierarchies of knowledge, value and bodies in universities in the 21st Century

Kamna Patel

Universities are progressive spaces where we might imagine a post-racial society to take root. In such a society, racial prejudice no longer exists and ‘race’ is an obsolete concept. In this talk, I want to mobilise the story we tell of ourselves as ‘progressive’ to address the reality of racialised hierarchies of knowledge, value and bodies in universities today. In doing so, I expose as fallacy the ‘post-racial society’ and build a case for race consciousness as a necessary first step to dislodge the supremacy of whiteness, which creates and upholds such hierarchies.

In this talk, I offer a series of reflections on my role as Vice-Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at UCL and with a subject focus on students, I share insights on the challenges, practicalities and necessity of putting ‘race’ at the heart of the D&I agenda.

More than 2,000 students at Leiden University come from abroad, and over 110 different nationalities are represented in Leiden and The Hague. The annual Van Bergen Prize aims to encourage ideas that will promote an inclusive learning environment for Dutch and international students.

Moving from Theory to Practice: Inclusive Excellence and its Implications for Institutional Transformation

Frank Tuitt

In this workshop, participants will move from the micro (classroom) to the macro (institution) to explore ways in which institutional policies, practices and procedures impact how inclusive pedagogy is advanced at the classroom level. 

Designed specifically for institutional leaders and classroom instructors, this session will seek to identify what institution-wide and unit-level (faculty) conditions need to be in place to promote inclusive learning environments throughout the institution and avoid the construction of isolated pockets of excellence. Specifically, in this session participants will:

  1. Discuss and problematise factors and barriers to making excellence inclusive throughout the entire organisation in support of institutional goals and initiative
  2.  Revisit Inclusive Excellence as a model of change toward engaging in contemporary educational and social challenges
  3.  Engage collectively in conceptualising institutional transformation toward equity-mindedness

Building Anti-Racist Alliances and Networks of Solidarity

Kamna Patel

This workshop collaboratively and interactively explores the principles of building anti-racist alliances and networks of solidarity between and amongst racialised minorities and majorities in universities. The sites of ally-ship that are explored include the classroom and the staffroom. The workshop will run in three parts: First, together, we will identify a spectrum of racist behaviours from the overt to the implicit in order to ground anti-racism, and then locate these behaviours in universities, giving space for nuanced discussion. Second, we will identify key characteristics of ally-ship. And, third, together we will produce examples of and/or guidance for ally-ship as a basic foundation for networks of solidarity.

Inclusivity Pathway Training

Aminata Cairo

Diversity and inclusion are current hot items, not only in academia, but from the work floor to the halls of government. There is a movement that includes awareness, conflict, exploration, struggle and the search for new ways of doing things. Within academia, years of unequal educational experiences and student outcomes have lent an urgency to the need to create a more optimal learning environment.

The Inclusivity Pathway Training is an engaging workshop that addresses the foundational skills necessary to successfully engage in any type of inclusivity activity. The goal of the session is to help people in their confidence and ability to address diversity related situations, whether they be one-on-one, in a group, on the work floor or in the classroom. 

Towards unlimited learning and working with a disability

Access & Support Platform

The Access & Support Platform is a new network at Leiden University, which will be launched at the symposium. In this workshop, we will discuss specific requirements that students and staff with a disability might need in order to study or work at Leiden University. Should these be considered ‘special needs’? How can we work together to go beyond ‘equal opportunity’ and towards ‘equal capability’?

Boundaries, Communication & Consent

St. Our Bodies Our Voice

This workshop focuses on developing communication skills, recognising and respecting our own boundaries and those of others, and consent in any kind of social interaction. 

The workshop includes:

  • productive terminology (preventing victim blaming and hurtful language)
  • sexual violence myths (dismantling stigma and stereotypes)
  • help-seeking options in the Netherlands
  • basic active listening skills

All participants will leave with background knowledge and an understanding of the theory on:

  • sexual violence and its prevention
  • available support systems that can help in both non-emergency and emergency situations
  • active listening skills to support survivors

Minimising and Addressing Implicit Bias in the Workplace and the Classroom

Theatre workshop with Michiel Zeegers

The transition from inclusivity as a value that we hold to inclusivity as a practice that we exercise requires careful support and monitoring of one another within the academic community. Practising inclusivity requires courage and patience and can be embarrassing or painful because we are confronted with our own unintended exclusion mechanisms – or wish to raise these with others.

Fortunately, we ourselves possess an important key to success: becoming aware of our own implicit bias, learning to listen without prejudice, learning to create a safe environment, empowering others and daring to take a stand. Supporting the further development of these skills is thus an important job for the academic community and all its members.

In this workshop, we will actively apply Awareness by Systemic Exercises (Bert Hellinger) in combination with role play on racism, loneliness and inclusive leadership.

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