Rector’s Column: Inclusive Language at the PLUS

A university is a space for dialogue and communication, for constructive cooperation and generating knowledge. We need to use language that emphasises equality and is non-discriminatory to make the PLUS a productive and respectful place for teaching and learning. However, practising inclusive language is often complex and creates uncertainty.

A key measure of our diversity audit was to create a language guide, the so-called “Sprachbox”, put together in a participatory process by an interdisciplinary working group. The aim was to identify specific needs and, on this basis, to develop practical recommendations for day-to-day communication. As language is continuously evolving, the idea was to create a growing toolbox for inclusive and anti-discriminatory language use, available online and in print. A short guide in poster form, in-depth literature references and a video presentation were also created, accompanied by information on contact persons both at the PLUS and external counselling centres. A draft version was presented at the 3rd Dialogue Forum and in the Rectorate. The Sprachbox was then sent to the deans’ offices, departments, the Students’ Union (ÖH) and the group of FGDD representatives with the request to collect feedback for the working group. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your constructive feedback!

The final version contains brochures on the following five topics, which will be presented to you in more detail at the upcoming PLUS Talk on 21 June at 13:00:

  • Sprache & Diversität zur Einführung (in German)
  • Sprache & Diversität: Grundlagen und Anwendungen (see page 28 for English guidelines)
  • Sprache & Diversität in der Lehrpraxis (in German)
  • Sprache & Diversität in der Wissenschaft (in German/English)
  • Sprache & Diversität: Ressourcen (in German)

I would therefore like to invite you to participate in our webinar, where Christine Steger, Sabine Bruckner and Judith Hartl from the FGDD office, as well as the linguist and moderator Persson Perry Baumgartinger, who helped create the Sprachbox, will present the individual components of inclusive language.

As always, there will be the opportunity to ask questions in the chat.

I look forward to welcoming you to next week’s PLUS Talk!

Kind regards,

Hendrik Lehnert