How inclusive is Inholland for our international community?

CoP for Diversity and ‘Why Internationalisation?’ facilitate dialogue about internationalisation

Why internationalisation

On 24 June, the Community of Practice (CoP) for Diversity was organised in English for the first time – with and for international students. There was a good reason for this. After all, how does our international community view inclusiveness at Inholland? What can we learn from the insights and experiences of international students in this area? ‘Students need to be aware of the diversity of people they come into contact with and understand how prejudices can hinder a person’s career.’

There are now 850 international students at our university. We expect more students from different parts of the world in the future and we welcome this development, because diversity is a strength that enriches our university and makes our programmes stronger and more creative. But there are also challenges, such as discrimination in all possible conscious and unconscious forms. These challenges were discussed openly during the CoP. 

Learning community
Jannerieke Hommenga, manager of education and research within the Faculty of Creative Business, joined the CoP. ‘I found it especially valuable that the decision was made to hold this session in English in order to involve our international colleagues and students. Diversity and inclusion is an extremely important theme in our society and at Inholland. It’s good that the research focus area has found a way to facilitate open discussion on the topic in these sessions. The talks are organised periodically so that this theme always stays on the radar. It’s a real learning community with teachers and students as equal discussion partners.’

Learning from students
Student Michiel Koelewijn was asked to share his thoughts about the LGBT-related projects he participated in during his studies. ‘During my projects and classes, I always focused on gender and identity, in my interactions with lecturers and on a personal level. I think it's very important that organisations like Inholland put the freedom they promote into practice in their classes and lectures, so I was happy to join this CoP. As a moderator, I noticed that Inholland really intends to continue developing in this area and that lecturers and administrators can learn a lot from the students. In the next academic year, I would therefore like to join others at Inholland in discussing gender and identity with both lecturers and students.’ 

Diversity and inclusion should not be imposed from above
Eamonn Wilcox participated as a lecturer. ‘I have worked in many countries and seen that there are prejudices almost everywhere, although they are often unconscious. It is my belief that education is the key to facilitating change, and educational institutions must be willing to discuss issues calmly and openly. It’s encouraging that the CoP was led by students. Diversity and inclusion should not be imposed from above. This doesn’t mean the Board (Executive Board, ed.) doesn’t have to do anything. There has to be a clear code of conduct and a clear overarching message. Students need to be aware of the diversity of people they come into contact with and understand how prejudices can hinder a person’s career. It is partly our responsibility to ensure that students and lecturers make a conscious effort not only to point out discrimination, but also to clearly state that it is wrong.’


‘Why Internationalisation?’ sessions: join the conversation about internationalisation at Inholland
The ‘Why Internationalisation?’ sessions will be held alongside the CoP meetings. Jannerieke, a member of the ‘Why Internationalisation?’ project team: ‘Together with colleagues from different faculties and staff departments, we set up a number of co-creation sessions about the “why” behind internationalisation. Why is this theme so important to Inholland? We are working towards a new vision on internationalisation for our university, so the first CoP with international students came at a perfect time.’ 
Three sessions between now and November

Three online half-day ‘Why Internationalisation?’ sessions are scheduled for Thursday afternoon, 30 September, Tuesday morning, 12 October and Thursday afternoon, 4 November. Participants are expected to attend all three sessions. Jannerieke: ‘We warmly invite colleagues and students to help build our future-proof vision, which will serve as a blueprint for internationalisation at Inholland and will be included in the strategic plans for the years ahead. The focus is on increasing awareness and embedding internationalisation in our strategy. Eventually, it should no longer be an issue. Register now! 

Next Community of Practice for Diversity
The next CoP meeting will be held on 25 November. Curious to know what it’s about? Subscribe to the mailing list and stay up to date on the CoP for Diversity meetings.