We are committed to strengthening inclusivity and diversity at AUC. Embedding these values in our practice, policies, words and actions is our collective responsibility. Doing so calls on us to stand firmly against discrimination, and to create and nurture an environment where every member of our community feels welcome and safe, and knows their contribution is valued and respected. Our learning should foster global perspectives and challenge preconceptions, particularly when these are rooted in prejudice or bias. Access to and participation in the life of our college and community should encourage and promote the involvement of intellectually curious and capable applicants, with particular attention to including those whose experiences of life and education have been disadvantaged by discrimination or exclusion.
Here we provide updates on how our approach to diversity and inclusivity continues to evolve, and link to where our universities provide many useful resources and projects for engaging with actions on diversity, learning about anti-racism and getting involved, and details of annual programmes. Members of the AUC community belong to both universities and are encouraged to get involved.
As a community, we are working on further integrating diversity, equity and inclusion within and across our curriculum at AUC. This requires identifying potential existing gaps and the creation of clear learning trajectories. Therefore, the first steps of conversations among the AUC community about our current and desired curriculum will take place between April-June 2021. The first step will be a collaborative process of reflection, exchange and dialogue about how our commitment to diversity translates into our teaching. The conversations will result in a better sense of where we stand, where we want to go and concrete recommendations for curriculum design. Facilitators from VU LEARN! Academy will help us explore what an inclusive curriculum and classroom mean to our community and identify the next steps to get there.
With Educational Development Initiatives (EDIs) we want to create more structural incentives and opportunities for our ambitions for the curriculum. EDIs create opportunities for lecturers to speak together with colleagues and students about possible strategies for enriching the diversity of their courses and sharing best practices within the context of AUC teaching. Currently, a few EDIs are in progress. Lia van Wesenbeeck is working on diversifying Economic Thought. Vessela Chakarova is working on diversifying the IR Curriculum and Mariette Willemsen is working on diversifying Philosophy. Ydwine Zanstra is collaborating with Forrest Bradbury and alumni Khaled Tamimy (Diversity Talks/SIC) on a summer school programme that connects the sciences and the arts for underprivileged kids. Marianne Riphagen is busy with a STQ on inclusion in the admissions process. Questions? Send an email to email@example.com.
A new vision for admissions is being developed with a focus on bringing recruitment / outreach under the purview of the Admissions Committee. The aim is to re-define the mandate for the Admissions Committee to include overarching responsibility for the full range of activities from outreach to recruitment and admissions.
Our extended management team and supervisors from support staff participated in unconscious bias training offered by Rose Stories, with a focus on bias in recruitment of staff. Conversations have started with Rose Stories about organising unconscious bias training for the admissions tutors team. The training is intended to take place before summer 2021. Rose Stories’ experts continue to work with AUC HR on creating (guidelines for) inclusive vacancy texts and interview panels.
We aim to gain insight in diversity of our applicants and cohorts and to track the process of our FAPDEI implementation. Currently, we are examining relevant additional questions for AUC’s application form. This involves questions regarding socioeconomic status, first-generation students and migration background(s). We are in discussion with experts and colleagues are currently conducting desktop research.
A school network plan was formulated and has been implemented. The goal of the school network plan is to maintain relationships with secondary schools in the Amsterdam area and to familiarise potential prospective students with AUC and to provide opportunities to engage.
A focus group is being designed to get a deeper understanding of potential barriers to diversifying the AUC student population and what can be done about these. A focus group meeting will involve a diverse group of prospective first-generation students, currently enrolled in our network schools.
Currently, an inventory is taking place of VU and UvA outreach activities in which AUC already participates (and can participate in) to ensure further integration of AUC into VU and UvA outreach work. Notably we are partnering up with relatively new initiatives such as the Student Impact Centre and UvA’s Homework Hub. We will be actively disseminating these in the next CPI cycle. We are closely collaborating with the coordinator of the Student Impact Center (SIC) at FNWI, on all matters of student volunteering, student engagement, and establishing long-term relationships with civic partners in the local community.
The Engagement Council forum has been reinstalled in the form of monthly office hours freely accessible and disseminated to interested parties (AUC staff, students, local neighbourhood organisations, and community leaders) who work with AUC student volunteers or are otherwise interested in working together with AUC.
A workshop for our Student Ambassadors has been scheduled to provide ambassadors with diversity training focused on language, bia, and awareness via the UvA’s CDO team. The focus is on inclusive language, accessibility and tools for Student Ambassadors to use during ambassador activities.
A diversity workshop was organised for our first-year students within the GIE course. This workshop was provided by VU LEARN! Academy and a follow-up session will take place in June 2021.
We are currently liaising with VU Better Prepared and UvA Get Ready! to implement a similar programme for incoming AUC students. This involves a summer programme prior to the start of the academic year. The programme will focus on supporting new students in navigating AUC’s environment through workshops and exercises, and in particular for students who (or whose family members) are not familiar with studying at a university.
Our Diversity Leadership Group and Diversity Coordinator are in regular conversations with student representatives from AUC Student Council and AUCSA. Our Diversity Coordinator also hosts a monthly engagement moment for students to discuss diversity at AUC. For more information send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we believe it is important that the entire AUC community has a chance to be updated on AUC’s Framework and Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion we are organising the first Diversity Forum. The date for this event is Wednesday 17 February from 15.00 to 16.30. During this forum, we will discuss recent progress on FAPDEI and showcase some initiatives related to FAPDEI. If you are curious to hear about the plan’s midway progress, you can sign up by sending an email to our diversity coordinator Sehida Begovic (email@example.com).
We have recently established a new diversity email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage AUC staff, students and external parties to contact us via this email address if they have any ideas, questions or concerns regarding our commitment to strengthening inclusivity and diversity at AUC.
As announced in AUC’s Framework and Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, a Diversity Working Group was created. This group of involved AUC staff and students meets monthly to discuss and advance the implementation of the plan.
AUCSA’s Diversity Commission has been working on organising a lecture on colonial architectures in Amsterdam in collaboration with Jennifer Tosch, founder of the Black Heritage Tours. This lecture will be scheduled soon and is open to the entire community.
Continuing efforts of last academic year, first-year students took part in diversity workshops provided by VU LEARN! Academy. This is part of the Global Identity Experience course for all first-year students. The trainers use intersectionality as a metaphor and prism to help students unpack their own backgrounds, values, assumptions and views on education. Within these workshops, students gain knowledge of intersectionality and are able to use it as a framework of understanding.
Our student association AUCSA has recently participated in a virtual event on ‘’Diversity and student’s mental health during COVID’’. During this event, student associations active at VU (and some at UvA) shared best practices and success factors on connecting with their members during these times. The main focus was to discuss how to maintain mental health and well-being amongst students since this academic year has presented unique challenges. This event was supported by VU Diversity Office, with the ambition to bridge existing gaps between diverse student groups within the wider programme of Bridging Success.
During the COVID quarantine period starting March 2020, VU's 3D has launched a series of Courageous Conversations in collaboration with VU Diversity Office. 3D is the center for Dialogue, Debate and Diversity at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Programmes in 3D include social debates and conversations on themes such as freedom of speech, racism, decolonisation, mental well-being and student engagement. AUC staff and students are welcome to participate in these Courageous Conversations. More information and a calendar can be found via the link below.
AUC has appointed Sehida Begovic as the Coordinator for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This is a new position at AUC, created to support and report on the implementation of the Framework and Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She gained her experience on these topics while working for VU Diversity Office since 2017. Her experience includes themes such as student leadership, inclusive recruitment and decolonisation. She'll be working to help develop initiatives and further develop policies related to diversity, equity and inclusion at AUC.
On 25 September 2020, we distributed AUC’s Framework and Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Following this, we are organising several open discussions with students and staff which will start in the month of November.
Marianne Riphagen, our Head of Studies Academic Core, recently wrote an opinion piece addressing the importance of diversity in (higher) education which was published in Folia. You can read the full article here. Unfortunately, it is only available in Dutch.
In the upcoming year, AUC will host a series of lectures centring James Baldwin’s work. In the second lecture of this series, Dawn M Skorczewski will be discussing James Baldwin's "Stranger in the Village”. The lecture is on the 25 November, from 18:00 to 19:30, more information can be found here.
Marianne Riphagen, Head of Studies Academic Core, just commenced her senior teaching qualification at the VU Learn Academy. Her STQ project focuses on realising fair access to higher education. More specifically, Marianne explores possible changes to AUC’s admissions procedure, in line with AUC’s Framework and Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
In the Spring semester 2021, Vessela Chakarova, lecturer International Relations, will be working on an Educational Development Initiative focused on diversifying the IR curriculum at AUC. With the support of a group of students, Vessela will explore non-Western IR sources, which could potentially be included in existing or new IR courses.
Our students are also working on diversity at the university. For updates on the work of the AUC Student Council, you can follow their Instagram page. To see what the AUCSA Diversity Commission is organising in the upcoming months for the anti-racism initiative in collaboration with AUC’s Health and Well-Being Team, you can check out their Instagram page as well.
AUC’s Community Projects and Internships (CPI) team has a range of opportunities on offer that focus on diversity, inclusion and community building. AUC students can find these opportunities on Canvas (> AUC student information > Community Projects and Internships: Opportunities). In addition, the CPI team is currently liaising with diversity and inclusion projects at the UvA and VU to see how AUC can be involved.
On Friday 25 September 2020 we shared AUC’s Framework and Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with the AUC community. This Framework and Action Plan outlines the importance of diversity at AUC and the targeted measures we are taking to make AUC an inclusive community. It is the result of work conducted following the 11 June commitments made by AUC’s Management. On that day, AUC’s Management acknowledged the prevalence of institutional racism in our society and committed to a new approach.
The Framework and Action Plan combine to provide a living document, an invitation to the community to remain involved, and will evolve and adapt over time in response to our continuing conversations and reflections. At the same time, the plan also serves as a tool for increased transparency and accountability for the commitments we have made, by introducing concrete milestones, actions and a regular reporting mechanism.
We must do more and we must do better: AUC commits to a new approach
In June 2020, students and colleagues called for more progress and more decisive actions on diversity at AUC. In a series of forums, focus groups and conversations, members of our community expressed the need for us to reflect on our own practice, and to establish the path we will take to do more and to do better.
On 11 June 2020, the members of AUC’s core management team addressed these concerns in a statement published to colleagues and students. We commit to a new approach and to concrete actions. In doing so, we acknowledge that the actions taken by our college so far have not been sufficient or gone far enough. We apologise sincerely to members of our community, past and present, who have experienced discrimination or racism.
Our next steps working together with the community
The momentum for change is an opportunity for AUC to learn from past mistakes and work together on a new approach. This implies common responsibility, clear and accountable leadership, timely progress, and transparent and participatory dialogue. Building on these foundations, we will launch a comprehensive AUC Action Plan on Diversity and Inclusivity in the coming semester. This initiative is already informed by the expertise, experience and passion of voices in our community, the counsel of professionals in our universities, and the guidance of reports and resources, including the 2016 Let’s do diversity report.
The plan includes a review of current and prior policies and addresses areas including: supporting students, admissions to alumni, staffing, curriculum and classrooms. Each of these contains specific, achievable, accountable and time-lined actions. In this way, the aims we share as a community – learning that accounts for decoloniality and intersectionality; a safe and supportive environment; employment and student recruitment practices informed by social justice – will become part of all aspects of our activity.
In September 2020, there will be opportunities for students and colleagues to help improve the plan in forums and discussions, and we look forward to announcing details of how to participate at the start of the semester.
Amsterdam University College believes that everyone has the right to live, study and work in a safe and supportive environment, free from abuse, harassment and/or assault. We are committed to creating and nurturing an inclusive, supportive and safe environment for all, and to working to better support and educate the entire AUC community.
Our aim is to:
AUC encourages everyone in the AUC community who has experienced or witnessed an incident of harassment, discrimination, or sexual misconduct at AUC to submit a report or complaint through the Complaint/Reporting Form for Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct. The link to the form can be found in Canvas (AUC Student Information, page for Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct). It is possible to make a report anonymously.
If decolonising sexuality means a fundamental disruption of our theoretical repertoire, it implies that we have to question something that carries immense intellectual and emotional significance for many of us: the possible unfavourable effects of the human rights discourse. We all recognise the global fight against homophobia and for social justice regarding sexual diversity and how solidarity and recognition are important vectors to work towards an equal world. Yet, we must also come to terms with the fact that the production of knowledge about sexuality in/on African societies is embedded in asymmetrical relations of power on a global scale, and that there may be particular ethnocentric tendencies in our research agendas. In this lecture, I will tackle the intellectual and emotional dilemmas in which the work of decolonizing sexuality in the spirit of lgbt+ emancipation is steeped.
|Speaker:||Dr. Rachel Spronk is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam. She works at the intersection of three scholarly fields - anthropology, gender and sexuality studies, and African studies. In her work, she combines the ethnographic study of practices and self-perceptions with the task of rethinking our theoretical repertoires.|
Dr. Maxim Kupovykh
20 October 2020, 10.45-12.15
Raoul Peck's BAFTA Award-winning documentary I Am Not Your Negro (2016) explores the history of race in the United States today. Based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House Peck explores Baldwin’s recollections of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. In this webinar Dr. Jonathan Gill (AUC) focuses on the struggle for civil rights, the personal writings of Baldwin, and the transcendent power of the archive.
|Speaker:||Dr. Jonathan Gill specialises in American Studies, and in particular, post-World War II art, film and literature, African-American history and culture, experimental and vernacular musics, the counterculture of the 1960s, the literature of immigration and the cultures of intolerance. He has also taught Yiddish at the University of Amsterdam and has written and lectured widely on Judaism and Jewish culture. His latest book, Hollywood Double Agent: The True Tale of Boris Morros (2020) tells the story of a film producer who was a Russian double agent and a major figure in the 1930s and 40s.|
Dr. Lara Mazurski
28 October 2020, 18.00-19.30
The Engagement Council is a central platform for organisations with goals related to outreach and community engagement. Both external and internal parties involved with AUC will be able to share information about what their organisations are doing and discuss opportunities for collaboration and support. Any organisations that are not yet involved, but have relevant goals or plans (for example, are planning an event that involves inviting members of the local community) can look to the Engagement Council as a resource for meeting others now or throughout the year. There are monthly meetings and newsletters, and we also plan to host a networking event in the early new year. Please get in contact if are interested in participating
|Participants:||All students are welcome to join in an ‘observing’ capacity, and organisations can pitch an event or goal, and take part in the monthly newsletter. Please contact Sophia Worth (Graduate Assistant and Chair of the Engagement Council) if your committee would like to join or just to come to meetings in an observing capacity.|
Dr. Ydwine Zanstra and Graduate Assistant Siem Teusink
|Where:||Varies per meeting.|
On 16 June 2020, Global Identity Experience lecturer and cultural historian Nancy Jouwe hosted anthropologist and emeritus professor Gloria Wekker in her online class. The panel conversation was moderated by historian Wim Manuhutu (VU). During their 90-minute conversation, they discussed the concept of intersectionality and its relation to the social movement for women’s rights in the Netherlands; how colonial history informs current race relations & the current attention for the Black Lives Matter movement; and the 2016 report “Let’s Do Diversity”, published by the University of Amsterdam’s Diversity Commission, which was chaired by emeritus professor Gloria Wekker. Many AUC staff and students attended the panel conversation.
|Participants:||Prof. dr. Gloria Wekker, Nany Jouwe, moderated by Wim Manuhutu, attended by AUC students and staff|
AUC Global Identity Experience course
16 June 2020
As part of the Global Identity Experience course, all first-year students will be given workshops on diversity and inclusivity awareness. The workshops are given by Siema Ramdas and Amrita Das and revolve around an exercise called “Stepping in the Circle.” The workshops aim to make students aware of different levels of diversity and the dimensions these take within the AUC context.
|Participants:||AUC first-year students|
Diversity Outreach Coordinator and members of AUC's Well-being Team
|When:||January 2020 and June 2020|
Throughout February, the AUC Well-Being Team and several AUCSA committees are organising events in honour of LGBTQ+ Awareness Month. The month aims to raise awareness for issues around acceptance and intersectionality, as well as celebrate the LGBTQ+ community of AUC.
|Participants:||AUC students and staff|
AUC Student Life Officer, Diversity Commission, AUC Well-bring Team, AUC Peer Supporters, AUCSA
In honour of Black History Month, AUC's Student Life Officer and the Well-Being Team, with the assistance of many AUCSA committees, are organising a number of events that will take place throughout October. There will be different cultural events that aim to celebrate racial diversity in AUC's student body including film screenings, a focus group, discussions, debates and art activities.
|Participants:||AUC students and staff|
AUC Student Life Officer, Diversity Commission, AUC Well-bring Team, AUC Peer Supporters, AUCSA
This will be a tutor meeting dedicated to the topic of diversity. The newly instated discrimination and complaints procedure will also be addressed. Covering inclusivity and diversity, this meeting will cover what’s different now, what are the most relevant issues and what have we learned in terms of practical advice and best practices.
Huan Hsu (Senior Tutor, AUC) and Ydwine Zanstra (Outreach Coordinator, AUC)
Dr. Anne de Graaf (Chief Diversity Officer, UvA) will host a breakout session during the AUC faculty meeting where participants will discuss classroom situations and individual interactions with students where they felt uncomfortable or not sure how to handle them. The outcome of this session is to get an impression of the kind of challenges faculty face and to raise awareness of implicit bias.
|Participants:||AUC faculty, both internal and external|
Dr. Anne de Graaf (Chief Diversity Officer, UvA), Lydia Roberts (Student Life Officer, AUC), Dr. Ydwine Zanstra (Outreach Coordinator, AUC)
|When:||20 February 2019|
Celebrating the lives of all within our diverse community, this February AUC will host LGBTQ+ History Month. With the recent controversy surrounding the Nashville statement throughout the Netherlands, we believe this is vital to building positive connections, experiences and memories for more equitable and harm-free LGBTQ+ history.
|Participants:||AUC students and staff|
AUC Student Life Officer, Diversity Commission, AUC Well-bring Team, AUC Peer Supporters, AUCSA
As universities and other institutions are trying to creating respectful, inclusive and diverse environments, they should have clear methods on how to acknowledge racism and effectively respond to racist behaviour. In this panel discussion, experts from various fields will provide theoretical and academic knowledge, tips on the development of awareness, and practical methods. The panel aims to answer the questions which institutions face when moving towards a more diverse and inclusive community. Guests are welcome to voice their opinions on the questions raised during the panel and contribute with their ideas.
|Participants:||Open to the public.|
Convenor: Lydia Roberts
|When:||28 January 2019|
Fierce debates about the refugee crisis, racism and our identity have become an everyday reality. The ‘grey’ middle ground with countless personalities, different world-views, and actual room for nuance is being drowned out by the extreme voices of today. The learning goals of this workshop include anti-polarisation skills, unconscious bias, conversation skills (addressing racism), resilience, promoting productive and respectful discussions, and acknowledging different points of view. The goals also include being able to challenge and defend points of view in ways that lead to mutual learning and finding common ground. This workshop is "train-the-trainer" style, meaning that participants will be able to pass their skills on to others.
|Participants:||Students are welcome to apply.|
Dare to be Grey
|When:||13.00-15.00, 12 December 2018|
|Register:||Registration for this event has passed.|
This workshop will begin with an interactive lecture on intersectionality, racism and privilege, to raise awareness. Topics that will be addressed include LGBT+, classism, racism and disability. Inclusion is discussed and the ways in which organisations fail to effectively implement inclusivity. The lecture will take around 1,5 hours. After the lecture, there will be a privilege walk and a roundtable discussion. The goal of the training is humanisation through dialogue and building bridges through realism. Furthermore, the workshop will work toward building (working) relationships on the basis of mutual empathy and promoting self-reflection and awareness. The maximum number of participants is limited to 30.
|Participants:||Community representatives: students, faculty and managerial staff per invitation.|
|When:||5 December 2018, 14.30-17.30|
This is a training session for AUC's Heads of Studies. The workshop will be specifically tailored to questions and challenges that are relevant to managers in higher education. Topics will include ‘moeilijke gesprekken’, curriculum analysis, etc. This will take place after the discrimination and harassment complaints procedure and policy is crystallised. The maximum number of participants for this training is limited to 16.
|Participants:||Heads of Studies and Director of Education|
|Organisers:||VU Learn! academy|
|When:||November - December 2018|