Fostering Potential, Learning from Diversity

WU sees diversity as an enrichment, an opportunity, and a resource, which is why we encourage diversity among our students, faculty, and staff.

Commitment to Equality

At WU, diversity among all the people working and studying here is seen as a source of innovation and creativity that must be utilized and encouraged. We stand for an appreciative and productive approach to diversity and are proactive in promoting equal opportunities for disadvantaged groups.

WU’s first Equal Opportunities Plan was presented in June. In this document, we define our understanding of equality and explain why developing a comprehensive diversity management system above and beyond legal anti-discrimination regulations is a key issue for WU. At the same time, we describe how we will implement equal opportunities in practice.

Barrier-free Communication

What are the most important features of an accessible, barrier-free event? How can text-based documents and presentations be optimized for people with disabilities? What do teachers need to do in the classroom to make sure that all of their students get the most out of their teaching?

The new web page “Barrier-Free Accessibility at WU” addresses these questions and more, and gives valuable tips for creating a barrier-free environment for everyone. The page also includes information about contacts at WU and support services for people with disabilities.

“It is important to us to foster an atmosphere of appreciation and mutual respect at WU. That also includes removing barriers, be they prejudice, insecurity, or incomplete information. It takes continuous work to reach this goal, and it is not a process that will be finished by tomorrow or the day after. The ‘Barrier-Free Accessibility at WU’ page is one more step on our journey towards being an inclusive, barrier-free university.”
Michael Lang, Vice-Rector for Human Resources

Tutoring Positions for People with Disabilities

To help promote diversity and inclusion at WU, we advertise tutoring positions for people with disabilities on a regular basis. In the 2018 summer semester, seven of these tutors helped teachers prepare and organize their classes and provided student support.

Internships for Refugees

WU has been committed to helping refugees for years and offered special internships for refugees for the fourth year in a row in 2018. Applications were open to asylum seekers with an academic education, but they were not required to have completed their degree.

The interest in these internships is always high. Many refugees appreciate the opportunity to work in the field they are educated in. In the 2018 summer semester, three interns, two women and one man, were selected to support our researchers in their academic work in the Demography Group, at the Institute for Information Systems and New Media, and at the Institute for Gender and Diversity in Organizations. In the 2018/19 winter semester, we welcomed three new interns, who supported teams in the competence centers for Emerging Markets and CEE and Nonprofit Organizations and Social Entrepreneurship, as well as in the Interdisciplinary Institute for Management and Organizational Behavior.

To date, 28 refugees have had the opportunity to do an internship at WU. Feedback from former interns shows that these internships are a good stepping stone into the Austrian labor market: Many of them are now working in the legal and banking sectors, one has successfully opened his own candy shop in Vienna’s 16th district, and another former intern works in WU’s IT-SERVICES section.

“As a public university, we are aware of our responsibility and will continue to show our solidarity. We offer refugees positive experiences as co-workers and team members, which helps bolster their sense of self-esteem."
Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger

Chair of Immigration Law Forum

The Immigration Law Forum of Universities Austria is a network intended to facilitate the implementation of legal regulations pertaining to immigrants as unbureaucratically as possible. Representatives of the relevant authorities meet with university representatives to address specific issues.

​Vice-Rector for Human Resources Michael Lang took over the chair of the Immigration Law Forum in July. The first meeting under his chairmanship was held at WU in September.

Religious Diversity at WU

The WU Denominations Plan summarizes how WU wants to deal with religious denominations on campus and in everyday university life. The first ideas will be implemented in the coming months.

Working Together