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Diversity

The VU strives for 'inclusive excellence' whereby students, teachers, lecturers, and employees within VU use mutual differences to stimulate more creativity and talent development.

Society and with it our university community has a wide variety of gender, sexual orientation, nationalities, cultures, ways of thinking and religions. In addition, a lot of attention is paid to employees and students with disabilities. We train and educate our students to deal with these differences. So that they, as professionals, are able to view matters from a broader perspective, and as future leaders can make the difference in society.

Diversity at VU Amsterdam

  • What is the Diversity Office?

    What does the Diversity Office do?

    Diversity is a spearhead of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. A Diversity Office (DO) was set up in 2019 to give structural attention to this part of our mission. Four Diversity Officers, in coordination with a Chief Diversity Officer, are active in areas where diversity plays an important role: education, research, HR policy and campus & community (student policy). Within the portfolios there are interfaces with gender, cultural and religiously related issues that are part of our social safety. The DO has a close collaboration with the diversity networks of VU Amsterdam such as VU Pride and WO&MEN@VU.

    How can I contact the Diversity Office?

    Questions can be sent to divers@vu.nl.


  • Diversity and Corona

    The Diversity Office of VU Amsterdam has made an analysis of the potential consequences of the Corona measures for education and students. Within VU Amsterdam, the student participation council has already pointed out the risk that the Corona Crisis will lead to increasing inequality between the various student groups. Among other things, Science Guide (4 May 2020) pays attention to the memorandum [in Dutch] that is widely distributed within and outside VU Amsterdam.

  • Survey: Belonging@VU

    In the spring of 2019 students of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam filled out the 'Belonging@VU' survey, about the feeling of belonging of the divers VU student groups. Based on their participation in the survey we have published the Belonging@VU report.

  • Strategy plan Diversity Office 2021-2024

    Read about our plans for the upcoming years (2021-2024) here.

  • Diversity in education

    Projects within this pillar 

    • Mixed Classroom Educational Model
      Varying perspectives, experiences, communication styles and learning styles are a rich resource. To strengthen the learning of all students, at VU Amsterdam, we implement teaching according to the VU Amsterdam Mixed Classroom Educational model. This educational approach capitalizes on differences. Aim is not to reach compromise between different perspectives, but the usage of the differences and possible tension between perspectives to stimulate critical thinking, develop analytical skills, and generate creative solutions. For more information about the three-phase model, strategies, learning goals and practical teaching activities see the Mixed Classroom website.
      Contact: Siema Ramdas & Marieke Slootman
    • Bonding & Bridging: Diversity in Study and Student-associations 
      VU Amsterdam has a large number of study and student associations; from the religious Islamic Student Association (ISA) to the future economists of the association AUREUS. Diversity sometimes needs a push; Because different study and student associations work together actively, students build on their cultural skills and broaden their network. An example of this connection is the student association DOCS, which is dedicated to diversity, openness, culture and students.
      Contact: Wim Haan
  • In, through and outflow of students

    We supervise students in three study phases, focusing on the intake, study time and preparation for the labor market; Good preparation is half the job.

    For a vwo student, the transition from high school to a university can be huge. Especially for 'first generation' students, whose parents have not studied, we try to reduce the step from high school to VU Amsterdam. During their studies, we motivate our students to get the best out of their study time. In addition, we prepare our students for the labor market. After all, good education is not a guarantee for a good job.

    Student 5 vwo:
    "Because of Be Prepared I started to think more about who I am and what I want. I has changed my life."

    Projects within this pillar

    • Be Prepared
      Be Prepared is a three-day empowerment program for 5 vwo students, especially for those who are the first to study in their family. We help these students think about their own strengths and weaknesses, about the choices they can make and on how to reflect on their own behavior. It is also about learning to deal with the expectations of others without losing the connection with their own environment.
      Contact: Pre-University College (Loes Mulders)
    • Better Prepared
      Better Prepared is a three-day empowerment program. Following the Be Prepared program, students are introduced to the academic world during the VU introduction days.
      Contact: Pre-University College (Loes Mulders)
  • Anti-Racism Statement VU Amsterdam

    Read here the statement that VU Amsterdam has issued in response to #BlackLivesMatter protests in 2020. 

  • Networks

    VU Pride 
    VU Pride is the LGBT network for VU students and employees that provides empowerment by sharing visibility, knowledge, experiences, networking, advice and a listening ear.
    Contact: pride@vu.nl

    VU Pride is the LGTBQ network within VU Amsterdam for everyone who wants to contribute to a study and work environment in which everyone's orientation and gender are accepted. Keep an eye on our page for more information.

    Do you have ideas, suggestions or questions? Fun! Mail us at pride@vu.nl!
    Be sure to follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

    Would you like to help organize events or think about LGBTQ issues at the university? Even better! Sign up quickly.

    Wo/men Netwerk@VU 
    The wo/men network@VU aims to improve the position of women in the workplace, as long as it is still unequal to that of men. Promoting diversity, equal opportunities and tackling gender-specific stereotypes and roles within the organization is important when it comes to the quality of our employees: men and women. The network, therefore, refers to quality: allowing the best people to excel in their working environment - without letting them be limited by gender bias or discrimination. Especially for VU women, they organize network meetings and further development and mentoring programs. Of course, it is important for every VU employee to feel involved and included. Because of this thinking along and participating in this network is enthusiastically encouraged at VU, naturally for both women and men.
    Contact: women@vu.nl

    FAM
    FAM aims to serve as a community for students from different backgrounds. In an informal setting, students with comparative interests will get to know each other and form a ''family’’ group that they can fall back on during their entire time at VU Amsterdam. The cohesion of the Families is stimulated by various activities that strengthen the sense of belonging of our students on campus and stimulate personal growth through academic workshops, lectures on topics of social justice issues and giving-back activities. FAM is one of the granted students-4-students projects by the Ministry of Education in the Netherlands.
    Contact: contact@befam.nl Follow FAM on Facebook or Instagram.

  • Collaborative partners

    Diversity is cooperation. With other universities and secondary schools to municipalities and businesses; On both a national and international scale, Diversity VU works together with various partners, including:

    University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
    “Build Equity for all”, is the motto of UCLA when it comes to diversity. UCLA is known for its close connections with community and society. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, therefore, works closely with UCLA in the field of research and exchanges.

    ECHO
    We work together with Echo, a center of expertise in the field of diversity in (higher) education and the labor market. Among other things, the 'Meet Your Mentor' project is one of the fruits of our collaboration.

    Pre University College
    For the Be Prepared program, we work closely together with Pre University College (PUC), a partnership between 23 secondary schools from the Amsterdam region and VU.

    Amsterdam Agreement higher education
    21 September, the Executive Board of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and five Amsterdam based higher educational institutions, have signed an agreement in favour of diverse, inclusive and societally engaged higher education. The institutions are collectively committing to ensure an inclusive and just society, in which there is no room for racism or discrimination.  With the ‘Amsterdam Agreement higher education’ they express their dedication to setting concrete and measurable goals. These goals emphasize the opposing of inequality of opportunity, pursuing better representation, accessibility, involvement in the city, shared knowledge production and a safe learning and working environment for everyone. It is the first time that Amsterdam based universities, arts schools and universities of applied sciences are uniting in this way. Read the agreement here (in Dutch).