Achieving Diversity in EU Schools

A survey from the European University Association shows that leadership commitment is a top factor in improving diversity.

THE EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY Association (EUA) has published a report about the diversity and inclusion efforts of 159 higher education institutions from 36 European systems. EUA conducted the survey to build a knowledge base about the institutional approaches, success factors, and challenges currently found at European institutions of higher learning.

Support from the top is critical, according to the report. Seventy-six percent of respondents say leadership commitment is one of the top three factors contributing to the success of diversity strategies. Other important factors include the direct involvement of targeted groups and universitywide support.

The report reveals that university leaders increasingly understand that diversity enhances both research and education. They recognize that teachers, researchers, and administrators all must support the university’s many different initiatives. Only then can their schools connect the dots among all of them.

These initiatives vary widely by institution. For instance, Dublin City University in Ireland has created the DCU in the Community outreach center with the goal of bringing to campus people who have never engaged with higher education before. Vilnius University in Lithuania has a coordinator who arranges customized accommodations to help students with disabilities complete their programs.

Universities that want to maintain excellence must “be able to attract talent at all levels, and in a globalized world, this means being open to diversity,” says EUA president Michael Murphy. “Our report presents key evidence about how universities can and do promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Read the full report.