Fontys ICT builds more inclusive organisation
One of the important mottos of Fontys ICT is that everyone at our institute can be who you are and become who you want to be. To promote inclusion and diversity within the organisation, the team ID+ (inclusion & diversity) was created in 2022, as a new part of Student+. Getting the topic on the agenda is of course a challenge, as is shaping a more inclusive organisation. After all, you can't do that alone; you need friends for that. Critical friends, who think along and collaborate on the Fontys ICT of the future.
High on the agenda
Social Safety has been designated as an annual theme within Fontys, and there were plenty of recent questions about educational innovation in ICT in the media. These are some of the factors that encouraged the ID+ team to adopt a bottom-up approach to the issue of inclusion and diversity. An approach where people in the middle of the organisation can spar about the challenges and opportunities within the organisation. Via an open call in the Fontys ICT Update (the weekly internal newsletter), ID+ invited colleagues to join as 'critical friend'. Once a month, they meet to discuss a theme ID+ is working on. This is done with an open mind and without judgement, and provides an opportunity to exchange perspectives and think about feasible solutions. The first meetings have now taken place, with social safety on the agenda in both sessions.
The concept of critical friendship is based on the idea that employees can use their expertise, unique perspective and experiences to contribute to an inclusive and diverse working environment. Inclusion and diversity are big topics, where it can be difficult to determine where and how to start change processes. People from different positions within their own organisation can do a good job of bringing this to light. They themselves are often looking for handles and concrete actions, explains project leader Senne de Ruiter: "Achieving change, alone or as a team, is enormously difficult without a connection to the organisation. As colleagues leave their roles and titles at the front door in these meetings, emphasis is placed on equality and respectful communication. The content of critical-friends meetings is confidential, creating a safe environment where people dare to speak out. We notice from the positive feedback that it is pleasant for colleagues to contribute to a dynamic educational environment in this way."
In June - the last meeting before the summer break - the topic is Inclusive Leadership. What does that mean for our institute, what is already going well, where are the opportunities? Would you also like to work on this within your institute, do you have input on this topic, or would you like to join us for a look or sparring session? Then contact team ID+ via project leader Senne de Ruiter.