Principal Investigators: Prof. (FH) Dr. Elisabeth Kübler (Head of the team), Prof. (FH) Mag. (FH) Roksela Miha (Lecturer and researcher), Prof. (FH) Mag. (FH) Martin Samek (Professor and researcher)
Sponsor: Magistratsabteilung 23 der Stadt Wien (Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Statistik)
Duration of the project: October 2011 – March 2014
The Mobiliversity project engages with diversity-induced conflicts arising from transnational mobility of students, academic staff and researchers. This unfolds against the backdrop of increasing highly skilled migration, which is both desired by the business sector and stipulated by government policies. By offering English-language degree programs in business administration, Lauder Business School (LBS) is recruiting students coming from more than 40 different countries as well as an international faculty. In so doing, LBS permanently has to confront diversity-related challenges in teaching routines and management procedures. Following the guiding principle of employability, we aim at preparing LBS students for professional careers in the international/intercultural environment of Austrian corporate businesses and non-profit organizations.
The project team is active in the areas of applied research, student workshops, dissemination, and transfer to teaching and management.
a. Applied research
The first project stage is dedicated to an exploratory study (focus groups and qualitative evaluation forms) among LBS students, in order to uncover their diversity experiences on three levels: a. their studies at LBS (the microcosm), b. the urban space of Vienna (the mesocosm), and c. in interacting with Austrian authorities (the macrocosm). Subsequently, selected members of the faculty, academic and executive administration staff are invited to in-depth interviews, in which they report on their experiences on LBS’s intercultural campus and on how they perceive challenges typically faced by students.
Furthermore, the Mobiliversity team supervises the Roadmap to Austria project (Project Based Learning, IML 2012), contributed to the survey Mobility of Students at Lauder Business School and MODUL University Vienna and developed the New to Vienna Glossary to facilitate the students’ arrival in and initial adaption to life at LBS and in Austria.
Based on the data generated and on best-practice examples of comparable institutions, the team designed a series of workshops, which are being attended by LBS students, lecturers and administrators. All newly entering students are invited to a one-evening Welcoming Diversity Workshop taking place at the beginning of each academic year. As opposed to this, the Spring Diversity Workshops stretches over four evenings (three workshop sessions and a concluding event) in the months of May and June. It seeks to reach out to volunteers from all cohorts who wish to reflect more thoroughly on diversity matters.
The workshops do not merely address diversity-related conflicts but also proffer a participatory platform to devise solutions. Particular emphasis is being placed on the moderation between intercultural diversity and (perceived) norms of the surrounding host society. At the conclusion of the first workshop cycle, evaluation interviews with participants were conducted. Moreover, expert members of the LBS faculty reviewed the workshop concept in a group discussion.
In the medium term, LBS will incorporate the workshops into its regular study curricula and wishes to market the workshop format to other providers of tertiary education and companies.
An overview of the workshop concept and its objectives can be downloaded in the download section of the sidebar.
The Mobiliversity team uses different channels to inform the LBS community and external partners on its progress. First, the periodical Variety Fair, which contains a main essay, student contributions, book reviews and various updates, is published approximately three times a year, and circulated in print and electronically. On a regular basis, the Mobiliversity Blog showcases the team members’ experiences with and thoughts on diversity.
In the final project phase, the blog will be transformed into a dynamic information and reflection tool for current and prospective LBS students, faculty and staff. This product combines elements of a handbook with artistic and social media features, and will grow beyond the formal conclusion of the Mobiliversity project.
d. Transfer to teaching and management
The relations between the project on one hand, and taught courses and higher education management on the other are bi-directional. All Mobiliversity team members lecture, supervise bachelor works, coach master theses, and are committed to curricular development. They not only transfer insights and findings from the project to the above-mentioned activities, but also collect incidents of diversity challenge presented by LBS students and fellow lecturers. Moreover, an increasing number of students opt to scrutinize the subject of diversity in more depth as part of their bachelor works and master theses.
With the expertise accrued, the project collaborators are regularly being contacted by LBS’s management in various diversity matters.