Quality together – Learning about equality, diversity and inclusion

Benchlearning visit to EPFL Lausanne gave valuable insights into EDI practices when we prepare for the upcoming quality audit.
Julisteita EPFL:n kampuksella
Large posters on the EPFL campus display important EDI themes: equal opportunities, diversity, listening to others and taking care of each other.

Aalto University has chosen equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) as a special theme for the quality system audit the university is participating in during this academic year. Part of the auditing process was a benchlearning visit to Lausanne – a group of Aalto’s EDI experts travelled to the renowned EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. The idea was to discuss and exchange best practices and gather insights on equality, diversion and inclusion.

‘Switzerland puts a lot of effort into advancing equality in universities, after a somewhat slower start in social equality issues compared to Finland,’ shares Iina Ekholm, project manager for Aalto’s quality audit.
‘During our visit, we communicated with many EDI experts and academics, and we found it very useful to share what strengths, challenges and enhancement areas we have in our respective countries. Both universities are working hard to improve gender balance and to foster an inclusive culture.’

Students are active

Students at EPFL have taken on a very active role in the work for equality, diversity and inclusion. Aalto’s Ida Salin, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and student Veera Ollikainen, a representative of the student union AYY, were impressed by how enthusiastically students work together with the university administration.

‘They collaborate in wide culture development projects, like awareness building, culture survey,  and collaboration networks. Perhaps we could implement low-threshold support groups at Aalto as well,’ they say.

‘The EPFL student association follows up statistics on inappropriate conduct and they are actively working towards a culture of respect. They also offer movie nights on this theme with a guided discussion after the movie. Maybe we could have those as well,’ Ollikainen adds.

Discovering unconscious biases

Provost Kristiina Mäkelä and Professor Rizlan Bernier-Latmani at EPFL discussed how to work in different organisational levels. ‘Professor Bernier-Latmani’s school has a group of 35 voluntary academics and students from diverse backgrounds working together to advance EDI. For example, a professor member of this group participates in departmental tenure track committees and help to spot unconscious biases and to tackle them.’

We will hopefully see many new EDI-related activities at Aalto as a takeaway of this visit. As a quick example, Ida Salin has already created content about inclusive language use on Aalto’s website.

The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC, Karvi) will audit Aalto University's quality system in January 2023. The audit will assess the appropriateness, functionality and effectiveness of the university's quality system. The audit focuses on the university's operating methods, i.e., the processes by which it pursues its goals.

Your contacts regarding quality audit and EDI

Ida Salin

Ida Salin

HR Specialist, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Read more

Aalto University campus

Quality system audit 2022/2023

to University's quality system was audited early in year 2023. The quality label is valid until May 2029.

Aalto Handbook
  • Published:
  • Updated:
URL copied!

Read more news

Campus, Cooperation, University Published:

Summmer break in HR service point and new opening hours starting from 6 August 2024

HR service point is closed on 28 June - 5 August 2024. New opening hours are tuesday - thursday at 12.00 - 15.00 starting from 6 August 2024.

Please note that the opening hours will change starting from 6 August 2024.
Kaksi mieshenkilöä juhlapuvuissa kiltalippujen edessä
Awards and Recognition, University Published:

68 doctors, five honorary doctors - see photos from the conferment of Doctoral Degrees in Technology

The Ceremonial Conferment of Doctoral Degrees in Technology 2024 took place on Friday 14 June at Dipoli.
Fajr Asghar (left) and Vilma Svynarenko (right)
University Published:

TET interns Fajr Asghar and Vilma Svynarenko explored everything from solar cells to Täffä’s spaghetti in Aalto

Fajr Asghar and Vilma Svynarenko first calculated the efficiency of solar cells and then wrote an article on renewable energy.
A group of people walking along the linden alley in summer
Cooperation, Research & Art, University Published:

Strong overall result: 27.5 million euros from the Research Council of Finland

A total of 52 Aalto researchers received Academy Research Fellowship and Academy Project funding. The total funding awarded to Aalto University amounts to 27.5 million euros