Inclusive European student mobility being developed in Unite's new project IDEM
The new Erasmus+ project "IDEM - Inclusion, Diversity, Equity in Mobility" aims to develop concrete solutions over the next three years to offer as many students as possible the opportunity to participate in exchange and mobility programmes between Unite! partner universities.
These are students who are still under-represented in traditional physical mobility programmes such as Erasmus+. When preparing to study abroad, they are very often confronted with structural constraints that make it much more difficult to realise experiences abroad. Discriminatory barriers and access challenges, either real or perceived, mean that many of these students do not even consider participating in mobility programmes during their university education.
During its first meeting in March 2022 on the UPC Campus in Barcelona, the IDEM team worked on planning the modules for its upcoming training in Grenoble (28th – 30th June, 2022) and on defining the methodology and organization of the IDEM’s pilot mobility programmes.
IDEM will create and work on two pilots, both focusing on students experiencing discrimination by barriers in accessibility and outreach as prioritised by the new Erasmus + Programme. Aalto University and TU Darmstadt will work to enable exchange and mobility for students with special needs arising from health problems and disabilities. INP Grenoble together with UPC and ULisboa will concentrate on students experiencing among others, barriers due to cultural differences, and socio-economic barriers. The Pilots are planned to start in the summer of 2023.
According to Benedetta Gennaro, Head of the International Student Services and Refugee Integration Unit at the Technical University of Darmstadt, these pilots will offer "concrete help to other European universities to develop more flexible mobility programmes that recognise individual differences and respond to the specific needs of these groups".
The project is coordinated by the Technical University of Darmstadt, in collaboration with INP-UGA Grenoble (France), Aalto University (Finland), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - Barcelona Tech (Spain) and Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal). The project foresees that IDEM will have an impact on both students and partner universities through the implementation of a mobility model that will simplify the bureaucracy of the current exchange systems making them more agile and oriented to short- and long-term mobility, as well as to blended mobility.
The project will provide tools to address the mobility needs of all students taking into account the needs of students with disabilities, difficulties, and disadvantages. Bootcamps (collaborative working sessions) will be organised, where iterations and reflections on diversity, inclusion and equity in the European Higher Education System will be promoted. These three concepts of diversity, inclusion and equity are the basis for building a university community that fosters mutual respect and promotes the empowerment of all students. The bootcamps will stimulate an open discourse to learn from each other on how to establish truly democratic living, learning and working conditions in European universities.
These bootcamps and discussions will also serve to design and share a toolkit to provide higher education institutions with comprehensive resources to help them identify and include the different dimensions of diversity and inclusion in the planning of university strategies.
IDEM contact at Aalto University is Anna Mäkilä