Victoria University strengthens its standing as one of Australia’s most culturally-diverse universities with a strategy that celebrates cultural identity and prepares students to thrive as global citizens.
Launched on the World Day for Cultural Diversity, the strategy formalises VU’s role serving generations of new Australians in Melbourne’s west for over 100 years.
Today, VU is known as a microcosm of the world where students and staff from a vast range of ethnic, faith, language, and national backgrounds come to learn, teach, work, and conduct research.
VU Cultural Diversity Manager Dr Teresa De Fazio (a former Commissioner with the Victorian Multicultural Commission) said VU’s cultural diversity has helped it build a rich campus environment with a unique depth of socio-cultural capital and community connections.
VU will now embed a broad spectrum of culturally-inclusive and educational experiences into VU curricula and assessments so students learn, and staff teach, with multiple perspectives and practices.
Dr De Fazio said intercultural knowledge and skills – which cultivate curiosity, empathy, open-mindedness and respect – are vital for the 21st century workforce.
“Our students will have a competitive edge in the workplace since employers highly value graduates who can navigate challenges and opportunities from a range of cultural viewpoints and learn to critically view their own perspectives,” she said.
Sophia Van den Ham, a recent international community development graduate, chose to complete her degree at VU because it was already well known for the diversity of its students.
“Getting insights of students from around the world was extremely valuable, academically and personally. Many ex-classmates are now good contacts and friends I expect to keep into the future.”
Built on principles of connection, enrichment, and celebration, other initiatives of the strategy will:
- provide intercultural training and mentoring for staff and students
- build more culturally-inclusive physical spaces
- develop more education pathways for Non-English-Speaking-Background students and refugees
- connect international students more closely with curriculum and leadership
- join cultures and countries through collaborations and activities
- connect with community organisations around social cohesion and cultural awareness
- strengthen research focused on community-building and intercultural engagement
- participate in community events that support cultural engagement.
View VU's new Cultural Diversity Strategy 2018-2021.
* Photo: Features artwork Ms Citizen of the World by Heesco