What is Inclusive University?
This is an umbrella organization, which was established following both an approach and a strategy called Inclusive University. This programme has been operating as an institutional improvement strategy at the University of Pecs (UP) from 2018.
What is our aim?
Our aim is to develop academic excellence through promoting and enhancing diversity, improving accessibility, and providing educational services for groups which are underrepresented in higher education in Hungary. The following groups are:
(1) socially disadvantaged students
(2) Roma students
(3) disabled students and
(4) foreign students.
In the long term, our intention is to establish equal access and participation; increase the number of students; decrease the number of dropouts and ensure the successful labour market entry, by concentrate on, evaluate and create visibility for the existing good practices.
What are our activities?
First, a Coordination Office - which is also a Community Space - was established for administrative, operational colleagues, strategic experts and university students. It will function in the future as a trans-gradual and trans-disciplinary workplace for research, development, training, and practice, alongside with operational tasks. The community office also functions as a venue for community events.
In Pecs, a group of strategic experts and researchers has been focusing on inclusion for more decades. They wrote a book - in Hungarian and in English - titled Inclusive University (2015) which was based on their scientific work and empirical studies.
Steps forward praxis
In the summer of 2018 a group of students of the Wlislocki Henrik Roma Student College translated and adapted a guide by the Houston University titled: Diversity Activities Resource Guide. This book helps for teachers, pre-service teachers and trainers - who work either in public or in tertiary education - to create an inclusive learning environment.
The content of this book is based on those activities, which deal with diversity as a value, and try to draw students' attention to this attitude. The original guide is a collection of some activities, but this book is something more, because we added detailed educational and psychological content; the optional steps of the activities, and reflections after each task. The book covered the following topics: identity, nationalities, Roma communities, disadvantaged groups, disabled groups, etc. The activities help to understand some key concepts e.g. prejudice, discrimination, racism, diversity, privilege, value, power etc.
Our researchers and teachers regularly participate in different international conferences and roundtable discussions (e.g. Tempus Public Foundation). Hopefully, in September 2019 Inclusive University as a policy will be implemented in the Organizational and Operational Rules of the UP.
In the autumn of 2018 we designed a survey, which reveal the successful institutional examples for "good practices", student colleges, scholarships, programs, and partnerships. These programmes try to ensure inclusiveness at different faculties of the UP.
The survey was carried out by the Inclusive University Office, and was sent by the Vice Rector to the Deans of each faculty. We asked participants about how and to what extent their faculty support some of the above mentioned focus groups.
In the spring of 2019 we are going to organize two roundtable discussions for the leaders of these programmes.
In December, 2018 we organized a Flashmob for diversity at the University of Pecs. Our aim was to emphasize that university students are diverse, but we consider diversity as a value. We invited students and teachers from each faculty. The event was documented by a drone. In the spring of 2019 we are going to organize hiking around Pecs and an international board game party with the help of our students.
Our students participate in a student-mentor programme called Synapse programme in the academic year of 2018/2019. They not only help for secondary school students in their studies, but they encoruage them to apply to the university.
University of Pécs (UP) Faculty of Humanities, Institute of Education Sciences
Address: 7624, Pecs, Ifjúság Str. 6. B/114