KWI – Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaftliches Intitut Essen, KWI)

Research areas

Project Religious Diversity on German Campuses: Institutional Prerequisites and Perspectives

Project Director: Volker Heins
Contact: Linda Supik
Funded by: Mercator Foundation
Duration: October 2015-September 2016

Policies of diversity and internationalization are of increasing importance in higher educational insti-tutions in Germany. This project focuses on religion and religious beliefs as one dimension of equality and diversity among others such as gender, migration background, nationality, disability, sexual orientation and age. Diversity policies aim to provide equally good study conditions for all students and to cater for their diverse needs. Our main research interest is to assess institutional measures taken by university and college administrators to accommodate the growing group of Muslim students who practise their belief.

Questions arise concerning religious neutrality of the academy, universities as role models for society, freedom of religion, the norm of equality and non-discrimination, study success rates and the internationalization of higher education. Some of these questions are philosophical and constitutional; others are quite practical and relate to everyday study and working conditions on the campus for students and university members of all faiths or none.

The project consists of an explorative qualitative survey among members of Muslim student associations, and a representative nationwide baseline study of provisions taken to accommodate the needs of Muslim students in higher education. We intend to publish academic papers as well as a policy paper that will contain recommendations and practical examples from higher education institutions in Germany, Britain and the US.