FH Upper AustriaUniversity of Applied Sciences

Scientific background

The HEAD Wheel of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria

Based on scientific findings, the HEAD Wheel (short for Higher Education Awareness for Diversity) was designed to serve as a frame of reference for a holistic diversity management that embraces five interconnected diversity segments (demographic, cognitive, disciplinary, functional and institutional diversity). In framing this complex matter along the lines of a wheel, it is sought to visualise all diversity aspects that are relevant for higher education institutions (HEI) and, in doing so, shed a holistic light on diversity management and its incorporated measures at the tertiary level. 

Institutional diversity as the fifth diversity segment points to the advantage of inter-organisational diversity that strives for a systemic externally oriented societal orientation. While companies are predominantly driven by an economic strategic approach when interacting with each other, universities also promote mutual exchanges of experience for the sake of a societal contribution. Hence, collective learning together with increased effectivity of the targeted measures takes centre stage when a common social goal is pursued.

The HEAD Wheel as a whole can be understood as a constructivist diversity mainstreaming that seeks to address all paradigms of diversity management in a holistic manner and as such promotes social sustainability - as defined by the third mission mandate for sustainable transformation that institutions of higher learning should engage in.