A look at an accessible and inclusive 3mE bachelor environment
The 3mE faculty wants to have an inclusive environment with equal opportunities for all students, space for individuals and appreciation for differences. All students should feel at home in the programme and feel challenged and free to develop their talents. To learn more about the potentially unconscious yet undesirable dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, 3mE is conducting a survey asking bachelor students about their perception of inclusion and diversity and their sense of belonging to the faculty. We hope to identify potential blind spots and challenges so we can make our undergraduate education more diverse and inclusive.
This is an initiative of the Information Committee (advising on recruitment of prospective students) and is designed to map out the diversity of incoming students and use this knowledge to further improve information activities for prospective students. To achieve this, it is first of all important to understand the extent to which current students, regardless of their background, feel at home in their study programme. Understanding what makes underrepresented student groups feel at home or not will help us improve the recruitment of prospective students from these groups and optimise the education (climate) for all students.
The research will be carried out by external research agency Risbo (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and VU University Amsterdam by means of interviews in online focus groups and qualitative data collection by e-mail. The focus groups will be used to get an impression of students whose experience differs from that of the ‘traditional' student groups. Students are not approached on the basis of administrative personal characteristics and thus labelled as ‘minorities’. Instead, the research focuses on students who indicate that they do not belong to the ‘traditional’ student population. Through these students, an attempt is also made to come into contact with students who dropped out early.
A second form of data collection will take place prior to the focus groups, as students are being recruited for these focus groups. In the e-mail that is being sent to all 3mE bachelor students, students who are not interested in participating in a focus group can also answer a number of questions anonymously. The aim is to also learn from these students about their sense of belonging and their personal experiences, which will provide important additional insights into inclusion among different groups of students.
The Committee wants to examine what the perception of diversity is and the extent to which students feel at home or represented. Therefore, the Committee opted for qualitative instead of quantitative research.
The outcome of the research project is a report that – in addition to the results of the research – contains recommendations to make our bachelor’s education more accessible and inclusive. Moreover, this research will provide leads to further improve programme information, so that we can organise information activities in such a way that they address a diverse group of potential students. The study is expected to be completed in the summer of 2021.
- Maretta Jol
- Céline Bovy
- David Abbink
- Peter de Vos
- Peggy Eskikilic-Jong
- Willem Haverkort
- Poulumi Dey