6 people sit at a table. One woman writes with a marker on a large poster.

Building the inclusive university culture,
from ideas to implementation.

A training programme

March 30 – April 1, 2022

Hosted by InComm – Feel at Home
@ TU Graz, Austria

Students, professors and administrators from universities across Europe gathered in at the Graz University of Technology in Austria to discuss the following topics:

  • Communication with the new generation of students
  • Creating the inclusive community in the international classroom
  • Building an inclusive community – a community management training
  • Creating an inclusive community by supervising students in their PhD
  • Implementing action back at home universities

Together we aimed at building the inclusive university culture, starting with our ideas to eventually drawing an implementation plan. This training programme was interactive, intense and inspiring!

Snapshots from the Event

Many thanks to: Photography © Nadia Hagen

Programme Overview

TimeWednesday, 30.03.Thursday, 31.03.OR2nd Option for 31.03.Friday, 01.04.
MorningWorkshop 2: Creating the inclusive community in the international classroom

Sarah Schantin-Williams, TUG
ORWorkshop 3: Creating an inclusive community by supervising students in their PhD

Verena Schwaegerl-Melchior, Barbara Boettger, TUG
Workshop 4: Building an inclusive community – a community management training

Erik de Jong, TU/e
LunchOpening & Welcome LunchLunch Break Talks & Ice Breaker Activity
AfternoonWorskhop 1: Communication with the new generation of master’s and PhD students

Sarah Schantin-Williams; TUG
Workshop 2: Creating the inclusive community in the international classroom

Sarah Schantin-Williams, TUG
ORWorkshop 3: Creating an inclusive community by supervising students in their PhD

Verena Schwaegerl-Melchior, Barbara Boettger, TUG
Wrap-up & Implementation: We do care about colleagues/students/ourselves so what now? Getting started with implementing ideas

Barbara Boettger,
Sarah Schantin-Williams, TUG
EveningSocial ActivitySocial Activity:
“Meet my Culture” event
Social Activity:
Graz – City Tour

Workshop Descriptions

Onion of Diversity is an Ice Breaker Activity where you can get a group of participants to interact and get to know each other better. Here you can form 2 circles, one on the inside one on the outside. Each person will need to face each other and ask one another questions provided by the team organizer. Once the team organizer says stop, the participants will move in opposite directions to start a conversation with somebody new.
Ice breaker_oninon of diversity
The last twenty years has seen seismic shifts in technology and communication. Social media, public debate, and movements in values have created new paradigms, particularly at universities where new generations are bringing new approaches to interaction and learning. Education professionals, whether teaching, supervising or administrating, are now often faced with these generational differences within their daily interactions. How can we best harness this situation to help build an inclusive university culture? This half-day workshop introduces the key issues and looks at approaches we can adapt in the university world.
InComm Training Graz 2022_Welcome Presentation For brief overview of the workshop, please see the Workshop Outline
Creating the ideal learning environment at any university requires a multitude of different skills from teaching professionals. As our lecture halls and seminar rooms become more international, awareness of what we need to create the best kind of educational culture becomes paramount. Professors and lecturers now routinely lead groups of international students through their learning process. This brings additional challenges as managing different learning styles and attitudes of students towards university work and life can be culturally dependent and vary significantly from student to student. In turn this can affect the dynamic and productivity of the learning environment. For brief overview of the workshop, please see the Workshop Outline
Striving to become more international, universities are shifting their focus on recruiting international PhD students. But how can these become part of our universities and feel welcome and eventually at home at our institutions? PhD supervisors play a key-role in this process and are often left alone with this important task. As universities, we are obliged to offer support to academics in their role as supervisors and mentors and as key players in creating an inclusive community for PhD students with or without an international background. In this workshop we will co-design a workshop for PhD supervisors which can be held at your university. The aim is to use our collective intelligence and experience to draft the perfect training module for this target group.
InComm_PhD workshop outline; InComm PhD Supervisor Canvas
The communities at our universities are rapidly becoming more international and more diverse. Community management is all about creating involvement from all people at our campuses, students, teachers and staff alike. This one day workshop will focus on how to draft and implement a community strategy with a first set of projects to implement for proper onboarding.
InComm Training Graz 2022_Friday_Building the inclusive community
So what now? Are you familiar with the feeling after an intensive training programme that you are full of great ideas, but there is no time to sit down and think about the first steps you need to take to implement some of the ideas at your university? In this session time will be specifically dedicated to thinking/talking about implementation and drafting a first implementation plan to put in place back at your home university.

Guest Speakers

Sarah Schantin-Williams

Picture of Sarah Schantin-Williams

Sarah Schantin-Williams is a business communications specialist and lecturer in intercultural social competence at the Technical University in Graz.

Sarah has both an academic and corporate career. Her business experience was gained whilst working over twelve years in organisational change and communication management in the international media industry.  For over a decade, Sarah has taught university students and now lecturers in creating inclusive international cultures and corporate communication. Her Masters degree is in Anthropology and Cultural Politics from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Verena Schwaegerl-Melchior

Picture of Verena Schwaegerl-Melchior

Verena is an expert in higher education didactics with a disciplinary background in romance linguistics and Foreign Language Teaching and additional qualification in systemic coaching.

Since 2019, she has been responsible for the TU Graz Teaching Academy, i.e the in-house didactical training programme. Verena has taught linguistics courses at several universities and is currently working as a trainer and coach for the teaching staff at TU Graz. After earning her master’s degree in French, Italian and German as a foreign language in Germany and Italy, Verena gained her PhD in Romance Linguistics at the University of Munich.

Erik de Jong

InComm project member Erik de Jong

Erik de Jong M.Sc. is the Community Manager at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).

The main task of the Community Manager at TU/e is to make all students and staff feel welcome at the university and, more specifically, to make international students and guests part of the TU/e community. Working through the whole organization, the community manager is supported by a steering group and has an annual budget to support the activities. His work includes developing policies, improving procedures, organizing community events, providing support to activities and events, improving communication channels and connecting people.

As Community Manager, Erik de Jong is TU/e’s coordinator for the InComm project. He is able to collect knowledge and experience from the whole organization and then directly implement knowledge in the university’s infrastructure.

Barbara Boettger

InComm project member Barbara Boettger

Barbara Boettger started her professional career as an advisor for student mobility at the University of Graz. This was when she began designing intercultural workshops for University of Graz exchange students to study with a colleague. Over the last 10 years, Barbara Boettger has designed and held many intercultural trainings for students and university staff at various institutions. Currently, she is working at Graz University of Technology where she is in charge of intercultural awareness trainings for both incoming and outgoing students, as well as specialized seminars for buddies. In 2015 she became a certified trainer for intercultural trainings. Aside from these intercultural trainings, Barbara Boettger is also responsible for the strategic partnerships the TU Graz holds with different international partners. She serves as the contact person for the Liaison Office in Shanghai.