Aalto University

Practical tips for fostering diversity

A flourishing academic community is built upon a diversity of talent, backgrounds, and experiences. We can all contribute to fostering an inclusive community.
Aalto people

Do you want to help Aalto University build an open and accepting community for everyone? This page provides an updated collection of tips, inspiring reads, and practical support materials to guide you towards maintaining diversity and inclusivity as part of your everyday life at Aalto.

  1. Discuss
    A simple yet powerful way of fostering diversity and inclusion is discussing these issues openly within our own teams. If you are a manager, you can lead by example and bring up these issues in conversation with your team, encouraging an open dialogue. In addition to regular gatherings, team development days provide a good forum for discussing what diversity and inclusion mean within your team as well as how to support them. You can use exercises such as the privilege walk to facilitate discussion.
  2. Acknowledge existence of unconscious bias
    It’s important to become aware of the concept of 'unconscious bias'. The phrase 'unconscious bias' refers to our tendency to make automatic assumptions about others based on our own backgrounds and experiences. If not acknowledged, unconscious bias may easily lead to unintended discrimination which can cause racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequalities. Biases affect us even when we have good intentions, especially when making decisions regarding other people. This is a compelling ~2 minute video by The Royal Society which captures the essence of bias in academia.
  3. Learn
    Learning about diversity and inclusion makes us better equipped for fostering a good community. Read books, listen to podcasts, or have discussions with your peers – whatever works best for you. Increasing understanding of diversity enables us to better implement its values in our everyday lives. To start with, you can find a mini-library filled with inspiring materials below.
  4. Reflect 
    Reflecting on our own thoughts and actions in our everyday life is important. Can you recognise your own biased thinking patterns? To support reflection, you can use the Implicit Association Test by Harvard University. The IAT test measures and breaks down the individual associations we make between people and their identities, helping us to become better acquainted with the stereotypes we hold as implicit.
  5. Speak out
    Have you ever been in a meeting in which one of your colleagues undermined another participant, perhaps by making reference to their age? Have you ever taken part in a recruitment committee conversation about candidates and heard a member of the committee express stereotypical comments, for example about an individual’s cultural fit? This kind of language can be detrimental when it comes to recruitment process, as it gives irrelevant information weight, hindering our ability to evaluate suitability objectivity. Aim to respectfully tackle biased language by firmly and non-judgmentally confronting that which you don’t find acceptable. It's easier to identify bias in others than in yourself.
  6. Tackle biased evaluation
    Evaluating people in job interviews or promotion discussions is one of the focal points of the inclusivity and diversity initiative. The way we evaluate others at work can either enable or stifle diversity and inclusion within our community. This checklist on less biased evaluation may be useful if you have an interview or promotion discussion coming up. Why not display this checklist on a screen in a committee meeting or at start of an interview or promotion discussion?
Students

Diversity refers to all of the ways we differ, e.g. education, age, gender, nationality, personality traits, or academic disciplines.

Inclusion refers to establishing an environment of involvement, respect, and fostering a sense of belonging for everyone, where our different backgrounds and perspectives are seen as a strength which contributes to a healthy and productive working environment.

Handbook on diversity in recruitments

This handbook is intended for use throughout Aalto community, especially in supporting us making excellent recruitments that foster both excellence and equality. This first version of the handbook will be edited further in the spirit of continuous improvement.

Handbook on diversity and equality in recruitments
Handbook

Tips, toolkits and inspiring reads for fostering diversity

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Aalto

We aim to provide a non-discriminatory, gender-equal and accessible environment in which employees and students with diverse backgrounds and duties receive equal treatment and are free to participate without discrimination in university activities.

Read more
Kuvassa eri-ikäisiä ja erimaalaisia ihmisiä työskentelemässä yhdessä. Kuva: Aleksi Poutanen

Preventing harassment and inappropriate conduct

According to Aalto's Code of Conduct, equality, impartiality and mutual respect are the basic principles for the entire Aalto community.

Read more
Kuva uudet opiskelijat

Aalto scholars within the field

Rebecca Piekkari, Professor of International Business, Department of Management Studies, School of Business

Saija Katila, Senior University Lecturer, Department of Management Studies, School of Business

Seonyong Hwang, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Management Studies, School of Business

News

Ulkokuva Kauppakorkeakoulusta. Kuva: Unto Rautio / Aalto-yliopisto
Cooperation, University Published:

MONTA group aims at advancing diversity and inclusion at the School of Business

Katja Toropainen, the founder of Inklusiiv and graduate student of the School, also makes a call for more discussion and sharing of best practices about diversity in organizations.
Aerial picture of Otaniemi during the summer
University Published:

School of Science Diversity and Equality Plan for 2020 published

Equality plan available on our governance page follow-on from discussions from the end of last year
Kuvassa professori Risto Sarvas, etualalla näkyy kaksi Otaniemen lukion opiskelijaa
Cooperation Published:

Upper secondary school students become professors on Day of the Girl

An initiative between Aalto University and Otaniemi Upper Secondary School gives students the possibility to draw attention to technology- and society-related topics that they see as important.
Women of Aalto -verkoston kokoontuminen
Cooperation Published:

Women of Aalto network seeks to promote equality in society

Proceeds from the Pink Ribbon Gala event in October will be used to support Finnish cancer research.

Key contacts

 Kristiina Mäkelä

Kristiina Mäkelä

Provost
 Anna Hynynen

Anna Hynynen

Diversity Officer & HR Specialist
  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!