Assistant Professor Femi Ojambati (34) feels at home at the UT. But he knows quite a few colleagues for whom that is less true. Ojambati shares his thoughts on diversity and inclusiveness, and shares what he believes needs to be done. ‘If something unacceptable happens, someone has to speak up.’
In 2019, UT timetable compiler Alex Jonkhart launched the Th!ink with Pride initiative. With this platform, he wants to stimulate the discussion about diversity and inclusiveness at the university. After all, Jonkhart says, there is still plenty of work to do.
‘Machines that we interact with have power over us,’ says UT researcher Cristina Zaga. ‘Just think of facial recognition systems that have troubles recognizing dark-skinned faces, the inherent bias it has. That is why we need technology that represents the entire population.’ The scientist is leading project DEI4EmbodiedAI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Embodied Artificial Intelligence), which is officially kicking off today.
In this opinion article, I would like to respond to the recent piece written by a fellow doctoral candidate of the UT, Diana Garcia-Gonzalez. Above all, I would like to thank Diana for sharing her side of the story with the community. At the same time, I would like to take the opportunity to clarify some potential misunderstandings or misconceptions about what has been communicated or what has been done by P-NUT’s Include-U project.
I am writing this text as a reaction to an article recently published on U-Today. The title stated; ‘PhDs don’t feel connected to the university’. The piece only quotes one side of the story; the side of P-NUT’s study. With this text, I would like to share my impressions on this piece and share my side of the story — as my experience as a UT PhD is very different from the one portrayed in the previous piece.
To help newcomers find their way at the UT, Industrial Focus Group XUV Optics (Science and Technology Faculty) has established a buddy system for its employees. It has been in place since the corona crisis started and, after being evaluated, it is here to stay.
‘Th!ink with Pride’, platform for LGBTIQ+ employees at the UT, was founded one and half years ago. Although it now has only one official member, timetabling officer Alex Jonkhart, he is proud of what the initiative has achieved so far. ‘I feel colleagues appreciate it, that it helps to create environment where they feel at home.’
P-NUT (PhD Network of the University of Twente) has started Include-U, a project to facilitate inclusion of international doctoral candidates at the UT. As its first step, P-NUT conducted research into experiences of international PhDs. ‘Based on these interviews, we see there’s a problem with inclusion. The sense of belonging to the UT is missing.’
Arnold Enklaar, UT researcher and a member of the Inclusion Expert Group, is leading an initiative to provide support to first generation students at the University of Twente. ‘Studies show that first generation students are more likely to drop out of university. We need to think of measures to make them feel welcome.’
‘The main goal is to expand our knowledge on issues related to diversity and inclusion,’ say founders of UT initiative ‘Dialogical spaces for a diverse university’. They are organizing eight online sessions, with the first one held today, as well as producing a podcast series focused on diversity and inclusion at the UT.
Rechtse partijen kwamen vandaag in aanvaring met partijen aan de linker kant van het politieke spectrum over het tegengaan van racisme en discriminatie in het hoger onderwijs en onderzoek.
To celebrate its 30-year anniversary and national Diversity Day, the Human Resource Management research group hosts a ‘Diversity Snacks & Drinks’ symposium this afternoon in The Gallery. HRM Professor Tanya Bondarouk talks about diversity versus inclusion and how the UT operates in that regard.