The survey has ended. If you already filled in the questionnaire, we thank you very much. Please keep an eye on our website for the results, which will be published in the coming weeks.

Twenty magazines at research universities and universities of applied sciences have joined forces and created a survey that is being distributed at each participating institution. In total, around half a million staff and students in the Dutch higher education sector will have the chance to take part in this survey. The survey on diversity and inclusion is an initiative of the Kring van Hoofdredacteuren Hoger Onderwijs Media (Circle of Editors-in-Chief of Higher Education Media).

Diversity politics

Strooisel enquete diversiteit onderzoek hoger onderwijs – Eveline Schram (2)
Image credit: Eveline Schram

Ries Agterberg, president of the Circle, explains why this theme was chosen: “It is highly topical, as recently demonstrated by a lecture, of the Minister of Justice and Security who said that wokeness at universities is a threat to academic freedom. Is that the case? To what extent do staff and students think diversity policy is necessary, and how far can you take diversity policy? Is higher education going too far, or is it not moving fast enough? Our aim in conducting this survey is to find out what staff and students think about diversity and inclusion and how they feel about the policies at their institution.”

The survey includes questions about what you expect from Erasmus University when it comes to diversity and inclusion. What do students and staff think about the measures that have been taken thus far, such as the new rainbow path on campus? How do they feel towards questions about pronouns in lectures and the arguments for or against decolonising academic education?

Heated debate

In 2020, there was a heated debate in the Dutch House of Representatives on a National Action Plan for greater diversity and inclusion in higher education. There were two sides to this debate, broadly speaking. One said: you should not focus on diversity and origin, since quality is the only thing that matters. The other said: sometimes, quality does not come through because certain people are disadvantaged. Furthermore, who determines what quality is? What are the opinions of the people involved: staff and students in higher education?

The survey also provides the opportunity for participants to share their personal experiences. “Are there staff and students who feel excluded or discriminated against? And how do you find a balance between including one person and not excluding another?”, asks editor-in-chief of Erasmus Magazine Wieneke Gunneweg in the latest episode of EM TV.


The study is broader than just this survey. The participating media publications are also examining the policies at research universities and universities of applied sciences. How much time and money is spent on diversity and inclusion, and what are the key issues and discussions?

We will be publishing the results of the investigation on the Erasmus Magazine website at the end of this year.

This project was made possible with support from the Incentive Fund for Journalism, an organisation that supports research journalism in the Netherlands. The Circle has received 100,000 euros for this initiative. The survey was developed based on conversations with editors from all participating magazines and was created by research agency Newcom. All responses will be processed anonymously. If they wish, respondents may indicate that a journalist from their institution can contact them to further discuss their experiences.