2020 PLAN

In 2020 the CDO Team prioritizes Support and Sustainability, and sharpens the focus on Discrimination and Decolonization.

Support is important because most of the people working on improving issues of equity, diversity and inclusion receive little or no compensation. Because the subjects are emotional and personal, they can also be draining.

Sustainability is necessary in order to embed EDI policies within the university. Discrimination needs to be exposed and perpetrators held accountable so the UvA becomes more inclusive. And the process of Decolonization breaks down barriers and educates about the past so we can better understand the present. In practical terms, this works out as being a facilitator, negotiator and promotor of change, and also someone who links people, a contact person within (inter)national networks, an expert and a stimulator.

In addition, processes involving social justice, intersectionality and decolonization are prioritized and explored.

The 2020 plan is organized along the following lines (CDO roles):
  • Driving forward the process of cultural change
  • Identifying, facilitating and stimulating certain initiatives, then realizing, protecting and cultivating them
  • Sharpening the focus of the university on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) issues.


Corona crisis

From the start of the Corona crisis, the CDO team and the FDOs realized structural inequalities were made more visible and worsened for marginalized staff and students, while new sets of concerns had arisen for other members of the academic community. We addressed these issues in our memo with concerns about equity, diversity and inclusion at UvA.

Driving forward the process of cultural change

What are the next steps in driving forward the process of cultural change? At this stage, it is crucial to identify how to embed EDI concepts within the existing organizational structure. What are the mechanisms that need to be developed to promote this process?

Expertise / related roles of the CDO Team
  • Developing language
  • Stimulating research (one example is the University of Birmingham expertise, with the aim of starting a research institute exploring how to anchor EDI in policy)
  • Expanding specific surveys so benchmarks and indicators can be better defined, including exit surveys for staff and students.

The nature of cultural change is that in order for it to become sustainable, it needs to grow organically, rather than be forced linearly. The CDO Team recommends that the workshops become mandatory for management, new teaching staff and all first-year students in the form of introductory courses.

Project ideas include:
  • Setting up a research program (in cooperation with the University of Birmingham) that focuses on how to embed EDI within an institute
  • Education: Decolonizing the curriculum
  • Provide mentors and role models among lecturers from under-represented groups and compensate them for their time
  • Change the selection process to include using multiple competencies for hiring more Black people and people of color
  • Enrich the education with developments and themes concerning migration, conflicts and slavery
  • Develop an EDI minor.

Focus points include:

  • Faculty initiatives and milestones can be referred to on a faculty-by-faculty basis within their corresponding reports.
  • Recruitment and hiring continue to need additional attention and increased commitment toward greater equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Coordination of the “Homework Hub” (working title). Partnering with homework guidance and mentorship organisations that support marginalized pupils and future students with the UvA, in an effort to fight educational segregation and build cultural and social capital for these pupils and students. We also are working on a program in which UvA students may earn credit for doing community work at these partner organisations.
  • Exploring avenues to combine Community Service Learning (CSL), which aims to provide students with credits for community projects, with organisations from the “Homework Hub”.
  • Social safety is an example of a theme the CDO Team is stimulating, in cooperation with the Social Safety Taskforce and Ombudsperson.
  • A Pathway for students from under-represented groups is being developed in which new students may attend Get Ready! during the week before they start at the UvA, and then can be referred onto the Academic Diversity Program (ADP). The final leg of the pathway will be Meet your Mentor, the new program of business mentors/professionals for master’s/ third-year bachelor’s students.
  • Connecting College and Community and the Week against Racism.
  • Co-hosting and co-sponsoring the Professor Shirley Tate event on 14 February 2020.

The 2020 plan includes prioritizing these subjects for discussion among the faculty education committees. Steps to take:

  • Working group meetings in February and March to envision next steps, including staff and students conducting research and engaged in decolonization.
  • Organizing and coordinating the Week against Racism with the HvA and Pakhuis de Zwijger. The goal is to open up the university towards the city and to raise more awareness within our institution about racism and discrimination and decolonization.
  • Researching other institutions such as Dutch museums, as well as non-Dutch universities already involved in these processes. The process of decolonization includes researching colonial histories and present histories, and how the material consequences still impact our societies.
  • Writing a Decolonization policy recommendation and Decolonization Toolkit, answering both the why and the how questions, meant to be used by the faculties as next steps as this process unfolds.
  • Conducting the important conversation is a crucial first step, and this needs to occur at all levels of the university. The Decolonization plan will include tips about how to promote this significant discourse. The aim is to eventually move beyond this discourse/talking phase. We need people to back their conversations up with actions.
  • Disrupting the fear of decolonization. As with many concepts that are in flux, fears that arise need to be faced and defined, then defused.
  • Communicating additional perspectives: Being “color brave in a color-blind context.” (Pravini Baboeram-Mahes from ECHO, Expertisecentrum Diversiteitsbeleid) Addressing race and what it means from as many perspectives as possible.
Also sharpening the focus of:
  • Anonymous reporting remains a priority in 2020. Research is being conducted and a recommendation will be made that the Executive Board adopt this practice.
  • Accessibility office—As the Accessibility policy is finalized, the CDO Team will be supporting the recommendation for an Accessibility Office for students and staff to go to for advice, and where the Student Disability Platform (SDP) exercises agency and provides (policy) advice.
  • Diversity Document by the Executive Board—follow-up, checking, and making sure the initiatives mentioned by the Executive Board in the Diversity Document move forward.
  • Each faculty creating their own faculty action plan. The CDO Team supports and facilitates this process with activities, including regular meetings with the FDOs and deans.
  • Working toward more and better statistics for benchmarks and indicators of EDI issues in cooperation with Institutional Research department, which is part of the UvA’s Executive Staff.