Diversity needs room to thrive, and that's why the University of Stuttgart dedicated an entire month to Diversity Day last year. Throughout the month of May, university institutions and their partners held 15 events: Events and lectures, hands-on activities, and exhibitions. The idea was inspired by an initiative from the European Commission - the EU Diversity Month.
Prof. Wolfram Ressel, Rector at the University of Stuttgart, and Prof. Silke Wieprecht, Vice Rector for Diversity and Internationalization, support the initiative and emphasize the importance of diversity for the university. "Diversity enriches our university, and this makes it one of our greatest strengths," says Ressel. "With our diversity strategy, we have also adopted a slogan, namely: Intelligent through diversity." This was also the motto of Diversity Month 2022: "Intelligent through diversity. Through diversity to success".
Fairness at work, at university, in society and in information systems
Diversity not only contributes to success, but also to the capabilities of an individual or group. In various presentations, for example by the School for Talents or the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, the speakers shared their findings from studies and practical experiments. These revealed that individual characteristics, such as social or economic background, also influence an individual’s capabilities. Researchers discovered that diverse groups are able to make decisions twice as fast as homogeneous groups.
In addition, a large part of the events for Diversity Day focused on the interplay between technology and diversity. In the broadest sense, this includes workplace conflicts or difficulties that students faced during the pandemic.
In a narrower sense, however, the speakers focused on technical systems for everyday use. But although these might be very convenient, there is also a need to exercise caution, explains Prof. Steffen Staab from the Institute for Parallel and Distributed Systems (IPVS) at the University of Stuttgart. "We need a broad understanding of information systems, and it is also important to consider the context," says Staab. "Technologies are prone to stereotypes and discrimination." Decisions made by a system must therefore always be assessed critically. Especially when it comes to application processes or one's own credibility.
Stories, podcasts, and artwork creatively reflect diversity
Numerous multimedia contributions demonstrate how creative stories can be generated with the help of a tool. For example, "Twine," a tool from the Makerspace at the University of Stuttgart, is fed with keywords and uses these to create personalized stories.
At the beginning of the event, Vice Rector Wieprecht asked participants what diversity means to them. Wieprecht emphasized that one insight that became clear from the many presentation and events is that "when people network and bring their skills together, these synergies create brand new opportunities."
Diversity Day 2022
The University of Stuttgart participated in the 10th Diversity Day, which was observed across Germany on May 31, 2022. A total of 13 activities were held in May and June around the motto "Intelligence in diversity. Success in diversity."
The Rector, Prof. Wolfram Ressel, and the Vice Rector, Prof. Silke Wieprecht, acknowledged the University of Stuttgart's work for equal and inclusive living conditions for the benefit of all. Diversity is an essential part of the university strategy.
The poster exhibition showed how creatively diversity can be designed and perceived during the Opening Event at the Vaihingen Campus on May 31, 2022, which was a joint collaboration with the Stuttgart University of Art and Design, and is impressively displayed in this video.