The DTU Approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
DTU is a place for those who can and will – or those with the will and the skill. The efforts within diversity, equity, and inclusion at DTU (DE&I at DTU) is organised as an umbrella programme designed to ensure close coordination of efforts and learnings. The programme is thus compliant with the EU Horizon requirement of a Gender Equality Plan (GEP) at an institutional level.
At DTU, we believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion is about much more than gender, equality, or nationality and have therefore chosen to expand the plan to encompass ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ as a whole. We are committed to cognitive diversity, stemming from the wide range of experiences and personal and professional experiences we all carry as our own luggage. Only by embracing that diversity is about how we perceive and are perceived can we work toward inclusion. Therefore, intersectionality is also on top of our minds, when engaging in diversity talks and efforts.
Diversity is an important steppingstone towards equity and inclusion, which is our primary goal at DTU. Not only should we have a diverse pool of students and employees, but more important, all our students, employees and candidates should feel and experience that DTU is just as much a place for them as for anybody else.
By working with awareness, training, and structural balances, we involve everyone at DTU in becoming inclusive. From the organisational level we provide the necessary support and work with the structural and systemic biases. At departmental level we reflect and report on our progress, and set our own targets, adapted to our departments’ findings.
What is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at DTU (DE&I at DTU) and why do we do it?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion at DTU (DE&I at DTU) is organised as an encompassing programme with close coordination of efforts and learnings. While all the efforts and initiatives covered by the DE&I umbrella exists in their own right and are designed by the people and departments that holds the expertise, DE&I at DTU ensures cross organizational learnings and collective monitoring, so that we can develop as an organisation, rather than isolated departments. That way, we can combine our efforts and use synergy to anchor diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the organisation.
This is possible by having one point of coordination. Through the program, together we can identify organisational and departmental needs and provide diversity expertise where necessary, while the subject experts can take lead or collaborate with likeminded initiatives.
A specific target of diversity, equity, and inclusion at DTU is to ensure that our research departments, general staff and students are equipped to meet the diversity and inclusion demands of today and tomorrow – in management as well as research. By compiling our efforts into one program, DTU ensures that the development of the right managerial, relational, and inclusive competences is available and supports the departments in their particular needs. We do so by anchoring the efforts at department level through the management yearly cycle and asking each department to reflect upon their own progress and needs. At DTU we support the departments, while also learning from their reflections. Diversity, equity, and inclusion starts at management level, and at DTU we will address our own imbalances, develop our own diversity competences, and ask that our Heads of Departments do the same.
DTU Executive Board’s Commitment
As President, Provost, University Director, and senior vice presidents of DTU, we herewith express our full commitment to the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts included in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at DTU (DE&I at DTU). We wholly support the development and management of the proposed plan to increase our diversity and to ensure an inclusive university environment and achieve equality and equity. By supporting the implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion at DTU, we will ensure the provision of the necessary services and resources both during the duration of the individual projects and overall program as well as continuous efforts afterwards.
We are committed to excellence in research and to developing solutions for the major challenges of society. We believe the innovation and foundation needed to achieve these solutions are founded on diversity and inclusion to bring a wide range of perspectives together. By bringing brilliant minds together from all walks of life and eliminating barriers, we strive to deliver Europe’s greatest engineering programs and excellent research and technology for society and people.
Through collaboration across research, education, innovation, entrepreneurship, and science management, DE&I at DTU provides a platform for addressing specific challenges that technical and engineering sciences face in attracting and retaining a diverse pool of talented researchers, employees, managers and students, and in producing research and innovation sensitive to the reality of the many, rather than the few. We are committed to making measurable progress to identify and tackle the obstacles to diversity, equality, equity, and inclusion, and implement changes to reduce these obstacles on an institutional level as well as culturally.
We recognize that diversity, equity, and inclusion at DTU represents an extremely ambitious strategic endeavor, and we are committed to ensuring its success. This requires us, the top management, to give our full support to the implementation of DE&I at DTU, and to the retention and further consolidation of a broad understanding of diversity and with the purpose of a genuine inclusive environment to all. To this end, we will support the implementation of DE&I at DTU as well as in the thematic projects and initiatives targeting the appointed actions within ‘Organisation,’ ‘Career Progression,’ ‘Training,’ ‘Leadership’, ‘Gender Dimension in Research, Innovation and Teaching’ and ‘Communication,’ and ensure the necessary engagement. We will actively show our support to the agenda, and encourage middle management, employees, researchers, educators, and students to do the same.
The programme organisation builds on the principle of anchoring, diversity in its members, close collaboration and coordination, dynamic participation and agility. All parties are equal and mutual partners in ensuring a more diversity, equity and inclusion aware and balanced DTU.
We do this by having one point of coordination in each department and frequent dialogue between all stakeholders. The programme steering committee will consist of head of departments and other decision makers. In order to develop the content of the programme as close to home as possible, the committee will also reflect diversity in its members by being dynamic in nature. This means that the members of the steering committee will participate for a fixed period to leverage their knowledge and skills according to the programme portfolio, and new members will join to bring fresh perspectives and expertise as we gain new knowledge and learnings.
- Rasmus Larsen, Provost, and program owner
- Pia Lyhne, HR Director
- Maja Yhman, Program Manager
- Katja Clausen Toft, Co-program manager and Equal Opportunities Officer, Subject matter expert (SME)
DTU Diversity Secretariat
- Pia Lyhne, HR Director
- Katja Toft, Equal Opportunities Officer
- Anne Nicolaisen, Program Manager
- Maja Yhman, Program Manager
- Anders Jacobsen, Subject Matter Expert (SME)
- UN Women Gender Diversity Roundtable
- DKUNI Taskforce
DTU Diversity Secretariat runs a Forum for Inclusion and Diversity (ForDI). ForDI is composed of a broad selection of employees and students across DTU with diversity as a parameter. ForDI is headed by Program owner Provost Rasmus Larsen and functions as a discussion forum, where the DTU management can discuss selected DE&I issues with representatives from the organization.
DTU diversity Secretariat also runs DTU Community for Inclusion and Diversity (CODI). The community is a free space for all interested employees and students to meet and discuss issues of diversity and inclusion with others, who share their daily lives at DTU. CODI also hosts events 2-4 times a year. CODI functions as an open member driven forum, and the debate is set by the members, but within an inclusive and respectful framework.
Several departments and administrative units, including the student union Polyteknisk Forening (PF), already have dedicated resources on DE&I awareness and initiatives. Some are employee driven and locally anchored, some driven by department management, and some cut across DTU carried by employees.
Below is an overview of initiatives that are new, ongoing or in their initial stages. The overview reflects an ongoing effort at DTU for the next 5 years and onwards.
The overview is responsive and dynamic, meaning that through continuous development and learning, we will monitor and adjust our efforts, according to progress and guiding targets.
New initiatives may therefore be included in the plan and others initiated later. The stakeholders and resources will likewise also reflect this, as we progress towards our goal of a DE&I aware and balanced DTU.
DTU will provide courses, training and regulated policies to managers, employees, and students according to the project plan. DTU will also continuously evaluate our structural processes to improve and counter the effects of inherent system biases. DTU will focus on awareness raising, knowledge building and adjusted behaviour. Through the training and policies, DTU will thus build the base for cultural as well as structural change.
The efforts must be anchored in our daily work lives to be effective, and the changes must be adapted locally at the department level. At the same time, DTU must continuously learn and adapt also our centrally driven approach to the needs and matureness in the organisation, and adjust accordingly, while also taking in new perspectives derived from our research staff.
To learn and adapt, DTU will monitor the effects yearly according to the DTU Diversity Report, and evaluate the progress achieved and which initiatives can support a stronger progress. See figure below.
To anchor the effort at department level, each department will on a yearly basis perform the same report and reflect methodology (figure below) based on their own prioritized initiatives and reporting. It will be a yearly requirement in the annual management cycle, with required entries in the department action plan. The DTU Partners from HR Strategic development will support the departments in doing so.