Studying at the EUR has always been for all students, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or (cultural) background. But if you look at the teaching staff, most of the time you’ll see older, white men. That’s something Hanneke Takkenberg wants to change. In ten years, every student should be able to identify with the EUR and the education.

Takkenberg has been Chief Diversity Officer at EUR for the last year and half. Although she agrees that diversity will have a huge impact on university education in the coming ten years, she appeals for the use of another term. “I’d prefer to talk about inclusiveness. By that I mean that all students, whatever their gender or cultural background, can identify with our education programme. That’s broader than merely increasing our focus on diversity.”

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Package of measures

According to Takkenberg, a package of measures is needed to ensure a considerable improvement in inclusiveness by 2027. “Role models are very important. I remember only having older, white male tutors when I was a student myself. In ten years’ time, teaching staff must reflect the demographics of the student population. Ideally, all students should be able to identify with someone they have contact with during their studies.”

Furthermore, Takkenberg also wants to change education itself. “Both in terms of form and content. Many students aren’t comfortable sitting in packed lecture halls and don’t feel part of the university. Smaller scale, but also the right forms of digitisation, must boost that sense of inclusiveness among students. And the content will change in 2027 too. Erasmus University is longer a university for Janet and John, that’s what we need to realise.”


It’s not only the university that can help improve inclusiveness. Takkenberg feels that the students also have a responsibility. “As a student, you need to be open and want to be involved. This process requires dedication from everyone. Only then can you change things as a university.”