Equal opportunities and diversity are essential requirements for excellence at RWTH Aachen University.
Martin Braun

Diversity and Equal Opportunities

RWTH Aachen University Presents Its New Diversity Strategy

Using the title “University in Transition. Equal Opportunities and Diversity as Precondition for Excellence,” RWTH has developed a diversity strategy that will form the basis for developing the University's future diversity activities in the years 2022 to 2027. The strategy was developed under the leadership of the Integration Team – Human Resources, Gender and Diversity Management (IGaD) and with the participation of forumDIVERSITY and other groups at the University. It was then officially authorized by the University Senate.

“As an integrated, interdisciplinary university of technology, we will only be excellent and ready for future challenges if we consider and promote diversity and equal opportunities in research, teaching, learning, and operations with a lasting effect,”

says Univ. Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h. c. mult. Ulrich Rüdiger, Rector of RWTH Aachen University.

With this in mind, RWTH is pursuing a multidimensional approach that particularly aims at effecting long-term structural change in the following four fields of action:

We formulated RWTH’s vision for the future for each field of action and named the target groups concerned in each case. We then analyzed the status quo and the resulting need for action and defined future activities to help turn the vision into a reality.

We resolutely aim to change structures without losing sight of the various dimensions of diversity (including sexual identity or orientation, age, ethnic origin, and nationality) and their possible effects. Even beyond that – we want to determine how these dimensions overlap or interact with each other. Our focus is always on creating a work environment where everyone can succeed, and diverse abilities and potentials are valued. We thus plan to place special emphasis on non-discriminatory access to and equal opportunity participation in everyday University life, just as we did back in our first internal diversity concept in 2013. The precondition for this and thus also our declared objective is to create a flexible, inclusive working and learning environment and make comprehensive equal opportunity in research and teaching a reality at RWTH.

“This strategy is the result of intensive, process-oriented collaboration of many relevant parties in the context of diversity. Together, we have taken the great diversity among the members of our RWTH community into account and have formulated goals and developed activities that contribute to the implementation and establishment of equal opportunities in all areas of the University.” That is how Professor Sabine Brück-Dürkop, Vice-Rector for Human Resources Management and Development, formulates the result of RWTH's new diversity strategy.

Professor Sabine Brück-Dürkop, Vice-Rector for Human Resources Management and Development
Martin Braun

RWTH understands diversity to mean equal opportunities, i.e. it is committed to creating an open and equitable learning and work environment where all students and employees are valued and able to succeed. Different experiences, life situations, and perspectives are deliberately included and integrated into University activities. In this way, a sense of community is promoted that perceives the diversity of all University members as an opportunity and enrichment.

“As the Rector’s Staff Unit responsible for diversity management at RWTH, we are very pleased that the new diversity strategy addresses all University members as important contributors to implementing equal opportunities.

One of our major concerns is ensuring the continuation of a change in culture at RWTH; this is a goal we can only achieve by working together.

It is therefore just as necessary to support our members in expanding their diversity skills and to encourage everyone to commit themselves to open, discrimination-free coexistence as it is to work on designing structures geared toward ensuring equal opportunities with a lasting effect,” says Gitta Doebert, deputy head of IGaD, about the new diversity strategy.

The IGaD team of RWTH Aachen University (front right: deputy head of IGaD Gitta Doebert; front left: Head Dr. Ralitsa Petrova-Stoyanov).
Heike Lachmann

Gender and Diversity – Strengthening Individual Competencies

A clearly formulated goal of the new diversity strategy is ensuring that all University employees have relevant knowledge about gender and diversity and can use this as a basis for appreciative and constructive interaction with one another. To this end, RWTH plans to offer comprehensive awareness-raising programs aimed, among others, at members of appointment committees and participants in personnel selection procedures, instructors and researchers, or managers and employees in the Central University Administration.

The new diversity strategy is also supported by RWTH's Equal Opportunities Office, which assists the University in promoting women and equality in the sense of the NRW State Equality Act, such as through their Handouts on gender-sensitive language (de). The Equal Opportunities Office also offers advice on parenthood, childcare, and the care of relatives.

“At RWTH Aachen University, we have been discussing for a very long time how to position the University to promote diversity and cultural change. I very much welcome the fact that the Senate has now adopted the Diversity Strategy, as it provides a framework for our work and the values of RWTH. In this context, it is important to me that ensuring the broadest possible protection against discrimination is recognized as a basic requirement for promoting diversity. Of course, we now have a joint obligation to fill this strategy with life by making suitable measures visible or developing them further,” says Dr. Ulrike Brands-Proharam Gonzalez, Equal Opportunities Officer at RWTH Aachen University, about the new diversity strategy.


– Authors: IGaD (Integration Team – Human Resources, Gender and Diversity Management), Equal Opportunities Office