Two blended-learning training programmes (one for teaching staff and one for administrative staff) were developed. Each programme consists of a face-to-face workshop and an e-learning component.

The training programmes were set up to improve participants diversity competence and to sensitize them towards the issues certain student groups are confronted with, recognizing a lacking sense of belonging as a reason for academic (under)performance, but mostly, enabling them to come up with strategies to cope with students’ various needs without “othering” them. Dealing with participants’ unconscious bias and illuminating the crippling role stereotype threat plays in the progression of students is of central importance.

The training (especially the face-to-face part) puts a strong focus on exchange and discussion between colleagues to reflect on one’s own perspective but also to receive advice in how to deal with challenging situations regarding student diversity from other participants and listen to their experiences. Participants’ different backgrounds and disciplines may contribute to various good working solutions, thus drawing out issues and opportunities to enhance professional development.

Learning outcomes

Staff should be enabled to create a heterogeneity-sensitive teaching & learning environment which supports the social and academic integration of all students (especially in the transition phase) and helps to strengthen students’ sense of belonging to their HEI.

Participants will get to know tools and methods that make it easier for students to adapt to university life and that help to increase the social interaction of (all) students. They will be better equipped to deal with different forms of student crisis and will also get some input how to take better care of the own well-being.

The programme curriculum can be downloaded here.

The e-learning courses are freely available via FH Upper Austria’s Moodle platform (use the option – join as a guest, no password is needed).

The courses consist of four modules:

  • Theoretical foundations
  • Empathetic environment
  • Staff wellbeing
  • Tackling serious problems.

The modules are accompanied by a reflective journal that helps participants to record their thoughts and reflections based on questions they will encounter throughout the modules.

The on-site training took place in May, 2023. Find some impressions and further information on the training here.