Katrin Unger: On the move in matters of diversity & leadership at universities


On the 12th German Diversity Day (#DDT24), an exciting series of events for managers at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz on diversity-conscious and discrimination-critical leadership came to an end.

Two big concepts that needed to be brought to life. The format was initiated with a kick-off, three thematic forums and conclusion by Dr. Maria Lau, Head of the Equality and Diversity Office, and Elke Karrenberg, Head of the Human Resources Development Department. The idea: to create a cross-departmental space for critical reflection, trusting dialogue, joint learning and a more sensitive leadership practice in everyday working life. And last but not least, to bring committed leaders from very different areas of the university into contact and network.

For over a year, Katrin Unger from compassorange accompanied the series as moderator and with impulses on recruiting and everyday discrimination – occasionally reinforced by Sujin Noël with her expertise in team leadership (leading in diversity).

With success: In addition to an increased awareness, the period also saw the first concrete implementation steps, such as revised tender procedures, which have already contributed to a more diverse field of applicants.

Overall, it became clear once again that learning and development in the field rarely happen by themselves. They need attention, regular care and nurturing. Because essential, serious changes – and these are needed in the face of diverse social imbalances – take place outside our comfort zones. They are often associated with uncertainty, with small and large efforts, with the risk of failure or making a mistake; they are often uncomfortable, sometimes they require courage and overcoming, and always – even if we enjoy the changes – they also cost energy.

And yet: it is worth it. Let’s stay tuned.