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The term “diversity” refers to the diversity or dissimilarity of people and includes both visible and invisible characteristics like gender, nationality, cultural diversity, different age groups, ideology, religion as well as people with disabilities. As a management task in companies or universities the term refers to respecting and acknowledging variety with respect to employees and students.

Diversity is one of humanity’s greatest riches. Diversity means: Doing something together in terms of interactions of different people. It is about appreciating diverse potentials and about perceiving it as something positive, to perceive it more strongly and to think of it as a reciprocal enrichment. In the field of education diversity (management) targets overall social objectives, i.e. the fruition of educational justice and equal opportunities, but also the utilisation of the diverse potential of students in teaching.

Diversity is a concept that is not only present in the economy, but also in universities, various organisations, in administration and also in the non-profit sector. Nevertheless, the concept is met with a fair amount of scepticism in Germany. No doubt, this is, partially, because of the change in perspectives. Encountering ‘the other’ fascinates us. However, dissimilarity may also lead to non-understanding and frustration. With some people it may also cause insecurity – fear even.

It should be clear that togetherness of ‘the own’ and ‘the other’ is not free from conflict. However, those conflicts should not be chronically and the togetherness not solely be reduced to its differences.

The potential exists in the ability to recognise that a creative and appreciative handling of diversity can lead to something new from which society at large may profit. It is about a permanent process in which all participants can learn from one another, provided that is what they want.

Diversity is connected to numerous challenges, but also to wide-ranging possibilities. The biggest challenge in this context is to slowly move away from coexisting side by side and towards an action-oriented existence as one.

The Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society signed the Diversity Charter in December 2010. As a result, the university now belongs to a group of approximately 900 companies and public institutions that see the introduction of a corporate culture based on recognition and appreciation of diversity as a key factor for their success. In the course of this, the university takes diversity into account in its culture and processes, informs and sensitizes its employees, and regularly reports on current trends, conferences, projects, and numerous activities.

Diversity Concept

The issue of diversity is nothing new to the Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society. The diversity aspect is already grounded in the strategy of the university in many different places. The University of Business and Society Ludwigshafen has been audited nationwide as one of the first “family-friendly institutions of higher education” in 2002. Since then it has been re-audited four times. Furthermore, the Ludwgshafen University of Business and Society  signed the charter of diversity already in 2010. By doing so it has pledged itself to ensure a work environment that is free from prejudice for all of its members. In June 2014 the new mission statement of the university was passed. As a central control mechanism it forms the crucial base, next to the audit “family-friendly institution of higher education” and the “diversity charter”, in order to derive objectives and measures for the diversity concept. Moreover, guided interviews with members of the university from all areas have been conducted.

The following central diversity strategies are  anchored in our mission statement:

  • The promotion of equal opportunities and appreciation
  • The development of education- and socio-political commitment in the idea of an open institution of higher education
  • The promotion of compatibility of work and/or study in different circumstances
  • The support of educational advancement
  • The development of diversity appropriate individual support and councelling offers for students
  • The acquisition of socio-political responsibility as a public institution
  • The promotion of internationalisation of teachers and students
  • As well as the promotion of healthy studying and working conditions within the university.

Those strategies have been specified in objectives and operationalised through practical measures within the university’s field of action.

Figure: The university’s fields of action                                                                                                            

Definitions of fields of action analogous to the  Diversity Audit „Vielfalt gestalten“ (diversity audit “Shaping Diversity”), but addition of fields “Research and International Issues”

The presented concept (development status December 2014) was passed in the senate on 28 January 2015. With respect to quality management the objectives and measures presented in the concept are supposed to be evaluated and further developed on a regular base.


Contact person

Petra Schorat-Waly

Profile picture Petra Schorat-Waly