General Case Studies

This page is part of the Inclusion Case Studies from the Inclusion Framework.
The case studies below relate to broad-ranging inclusion-related practices that are not focused on a specific theme or group.

Please note that the following information is correct at the time of writing (November 2022), but is subject to change.

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Equality Action Plan

In 2019-2021, VUB executed an Equality Action Plan with 10 key actions, focused on inclusive recruitment processes (especially for more senior positions), implementation of training programmes, a curriculum scan, and activities to raise awareness and bring about culture change.

This work was carried out by the newly formed Equality Team, a central executive group overseen by two full-time staff and including academics and administrators from other departments, as well as ad-hoc project researchers or students carrying out internships. This team works co-creatively with the VUB community to ensure that equality-focused actions represent that community, and that they align with other institutional strategies.

The 2019-2021 Action Plan was submitted to Actiris, the public employment service in Brussels, whose diversity consultants supported VUB in carrying out an internal audit. Inter, a centre of expertise in accessibility and Universal Design, assessed the VUB campus to gauge how inclusive it is for disabled students. An expert group consisting of VUB staff and students (as well as external stakeholders) were also consulted in this process.

VUB successfully obtained the Actiris Diversity Label, and several objectives of the initial Equality Plan were achieved: new bias education and training courses were implemented, a curriculum scan was carried out (see the VUB case study in Anti-Racism [link]), and substantial progress was made in terms of awareness-raising and data-monitoring.

VUB is now implementing the Equality Action Plan 2021-2024, with six strategic objectives:

  • A bias-proof recruitment policy and equal opportunities in career (development) with attention to a healthy work-life balance.
  • Anti-racism, decolonisation and diversity in the classroom and the curriculum, with a focus on themes and voices that are currently missing, and a critical reflection on the impact of colonialism on the university.
  • Support for students from under-represented groups in their pathway to academia and the employment market. 
  • Inclusive campuses with accessible working and learning environments where everyone is treated with respect.
  • Community-building and participation within the VUB and cooperation with external partners around the VUB equality policy and the themes of equality, equivalence and inclusion. 
  • To measure is to know. The monitoring of diversity parameters will be continued and expanded.

The Equality Action Plan further elaborates on each of these objectives, describing specific actions to be carried out and commitments made by university departments and services (including senior leadership). Students are also encouraged to develop and implement their own projects, and can apply for financial support to do so.

There are regular evaluation and review processes to determine the progress of the Action Plan. For example, faculties make an annual report to the Academic Council on their progress towards gender equality targets, and work with the HR advisor for equality to consider the causes of (and possible solutions for) under-representation. 

Some actions are carried out in collaboration with the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB): for instance they participate together in Belgian Pride, and recently initiated a joint research initiative focused on urban and sustainability issues.

VUB Equality Network

The VUB Equality Network (VEN) is a network of partners and actors – from inside and outside the university – who bring together expertise and highlight actions on inclusion and equality. At the same time, it is a safe place where people can find each other, exchange experiences, and talk about issues such as equality, inclusion, racism, and discrimination.

The overall aim of the VEN is to act as a megaphone for the problems and solutions that its members come up with, to connect and support them, and to co-create VUB’s equality policy. The network connects the various groups, but above all ensures that their important work is seen and heard at the university and has an influence on policy.

The network began to grow in response to discussions about racism, when it became clear there was a need for more voices to have a say on VUB policy. The VEN identifies itself as a ‘critical thorn in the side’, a space in which the VUB community can contribute co-creatively to the inclusion-related work of the institution. By breaking down boundaries between the university and its members, the VEN also encourages intersectional collaboration between these stakeholders.

In the same way, the VEN aims to be an accessible contact-point for students and staff who wish to signal problems or simply access information about policies and support structures. The VEN can work with these stakeholders to solve practical problems, get issues included in relevant agendas, or arrange connections with external organisations.

CY Cergy Paris Université

Diversity Fresco (ESSEC Business School)

The Diversity Fresco is a serious game used to facilitate collective intelligence workshops. It was designed by ESSEC Business School in 2020, in collaboration with Belugames. The programme is overseen by Chantal Dardelet, Director of the Centre Égalité Diversité et Inclusion and Executive Director of Sustainability at ESSEC. The programme content draws upon the latest research in cognitive sciences and social psychology, and has been developed based on the academic expertise of Professor Junko Takagi, who heads ESSEC’s Leadership & Diversity Chair.

The Diversity Fresco workshops, which build on the pedagogy of the Climate Fresco, take a step back from the unconscious cognitive mechanisms and biases at work when two ‘different’ people meet, and make it possible to understand the impact of these biases in terms of discrimination. By making us aware that our cognitive biases give all of us the potential to discriminate, or be discriminated against, the Fresco opens the way to the deconstruction of these stereotypes to invent another relation to otherness and diversity, and to create more inclusive practices. The Fresco trains future leaders to see diversity as a source of constructive conflict and new opportunities. 

After the initial workshop, there are follow-up sessions on finding practical solutions to the challenges that have been explored. The Diversity Fresco’s impact is evaluated through user feedback on the richness of the debates, discoveries, change of gaze, understanding of cognitive biases, and the ability to question oneself.

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The Diversity Fresco has been implemented for more than 6500 users, including staff, students, and alumni of ESSEC, representatives from other Higher Education Institutions, and staff from non-academic companies who work in Human Resources or Corporate Social Responsibility. The programme will now be deployed more broadly, in France and internationally, among a wide range of institutions and across multiple sectors. The cards, and the accompanying activities and games, can be adapted for use in different cultural contexts, and organisations can arrange for their staff to become trained facilitators.

CY Sup

CY Sup (short for ‘Supérieur’, or ‘Higher’ Education) oversees first-cycle undergraduate studies at CY Cergy. It has a strong emphasis on inclusion, nurturing the diversity of the student cohort, supporting the transition into second-cycle studies, and providing training and guidance regarding employability.

One major initiative is the LyLi Network (short for ‘Lycée-Licence’ or ‘school-bachelor’), which focuses on the transition between the last years of high school and the entry into undergraduate studies. The network comprises members from various organisations across different sectors in the Paris region. LyLi and its partners are particularly focused on supporting high school students who find the transition to university challenging, or have difficulty accessing certain study programmes, because they have a disability, or they have dropped out of school, or they are hampered by gender stereotypes. The network provides students with advisory support and other resources depending on their needs: for instance it can help students to learn coding skills in order to give them access to technical professions. To date, LyLi comprises 17 institutional partners, collaborates with more than 100,000 students across 70 high schools, and aims to expand its coverage to every high school in the region.

The LyLi network is carried out jointly with the Regional Orientation project for the Accompaniment of the High School-Student Continuum (ORACCLE). This project is part of a government programme to invest in educational innovation, and is coordinated by the Ile-de-France Digital University (UNIF), supported by the Sorbonne Paris Nord University. It federates all the universities of Ile-de-France including CY Sup, the University of the Antilles, the three academies of Ile-de-France, the regional council of Ile-de-France, ONISEP, and guidance and employment partners in the Ile-de-France region.

CY Sup also works with the Elles Bougent network, founded in 2005 by industrial groups looking to recruit more female engineers. Today, the network comprises thousands of members and runs hundreds of events each year, enabling middle and high school girls to learn about technical professions and connect with inspiring mentors.

University of Ljubljana

Online Portal: Higher Education in Slovenia

Students apply for a place at university using the national online portal eVŠ – Visoko šolstvo v Sloveniji (or ‘eHE – Higher Education in Slovenia’). The portal informs students about their rights and benefits provides information about various aspects of studying, including scholarships, food subsidies, subsidised living, health insurance, etc., as well as information for international students. It includes step-by-step instructions and video guide.

A specific number of places are reserved, at each university, for foreign students and Slovenian students living abroad (who do not hold Slovenian citizenship). Scholarships are available to support these students, as well as those studying ‘deficit professions’ (for which there is a gap between supply and demand in the labour market).

Support for high-performance students or athletes

In certain courses, such as computing, students with a higher level of base knowledge are able to work in a separate group and address more demanding topics. This enables them to fulfil their potential and develop at their own pace. With the agreement of the tutors and mentors, students can also undertake additional courses that involve professional or research work in laboratories, or with external organisations such as NGOs in need of computer assistance. These activities can contribute towards the students’ course credits.

In the Faculty of Economics, the most able and ambitious students are able to join the TOPEF association (TOP meaning ‘best’ and EF standing for ‘Faculty for Economics’). Activities focus on connecting students with businesses, to foster stronger relationships between the university and external stakeholders. The over-arching goal is to aid the development of the Slovenian economy through these networking activities, and by giving students more competitive value in the labour market. Activities are normally run once a month, and there is an annual hackathon, the Innovative All-nighter, which connects 300 students and eight major companies.

Students at the University of Ljubljana can obtain a special status if they have a disability, or if they are athletes, artists, participants in international competitions, or parents. For example, students involved in sporting activities can receive certain accommodations, allowing them to engage with their studies remotely. The university arranges a yearly reception event for those who have achieved outstanding results in sport, and the Faculty of Economics (which places a great emphasis on health promotion) has received a certificate from the Olympic Committee of Slovenia in recognition of its sport-friendly provisions for students.


The INOVUP project was co-funded by the European Union and the Republic of Slovenia, and led by the University of Ljubljana (with project partners from the University of Primorska, University of Maribor, and Faculty of Information Studies in Novo Mesto). It ran from October 2018 to September 2022.

INOVUP aims to introduce more flexible, modern forms of learning and teaching in Slovenian universities. Through seminars, workshops and lectures, INOVUP helps to improve the teaching competencies of academics and other university staff, which in turn has a positive impact on the competencies of future graduates. In addition to this general aim regarding skills development, INOVUP also promotes lifelong learning, student and staff mobility, and equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship.

During the three years of the project, INVOUP delivered more than 300 training sessions on innovating teaching and learning, involving more than 7700 members of staff. In March 2022, the project was recognised by the OECD and the European Commission for its positive achievements in implementing new (and permanent) training and support for higher education staff, and especially for its inclusive use of digital support mechanisms during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a strong impetus to continue developing these achievements beyond the end of the project. 

Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona

Equality Week

Equality Week is a regular event at UPF, usually occurring in November, March, and May. During the week, various activities are available including talks, round-tables, and debates focused on a range of inclusion issues. These activities give visibility to the issues and to university and non-university experts or associations committed to tackling them.

Equality Weeks are often scheduled to coincide with worldwide events such as International Women’s Day, International Day Against LGBTIphobia, and International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. As shown in the past schedules just linked to, awareness-raising events cover many different themes, are hosted using different in-person venues and online platforms, and often extend over more than one week.

Solidarity Fair

The Solidarity Fair (Fira Solidària) is an annual event overseen by UPF’s Solidarity Unit. The aim of the fair is to enable all members of the university community (and the general public) to connect with participating social organisations.

Participating organisations represent various causes, with some offering opportunities to get involved in local projects in Catalonia and others facilitating global cooperation. Attendees can find out about current projects, become volunteers, and help to create a communication network between the organisations and the UPF community. 

Summaries of past editions can be found online. The 2022 edition featured over 30 visiting organisations and a round-table on the Service Learning methodology, which is applied in a number of UPF activities on a curricular and extra-curricular level.

The Solidarity Unit also run a stand at the fair, informing people about the projects and activities they organise throughout the year, and how they can take part.

Every year, after the event, participating organisations complete an evaluation survey to consider how the next edition can be improved.