10 years IGaD – Anniversary of the rectorate’s administrative department for gender and diversity management at RWTH

Ten Years Rectorate Staff Unit IGaD © Andreas Schmitter

On Friday, 13 October 2017, the rectorate staff unit Integration Team – Human Resources, Gender and Diversity Management, in short IGaD, celebrated its tenth anniversary. Numerous representatives from research and teaching, the central university administration and the university committees, cooperation partners and former colleagues followed the invitation to the RWTH guest house.


Since 2007, the IGaD has acted as a driver and creative mind for an innovative and vibrant university culture that addresses equality of opportunities and protection against disadvantage in all areas of higher education, with the aim of providing careers regardless of personal characteristics and circumstances. Ten years IGaD, ten years gender and diversity management at RWTH – an amazing occasion to review successes and challenges and to look into general future developments.

  Welcoming Speech of RWTH's Rector © Andreas Schmitter

RWTH's rector Prof. Ernst Schmachtenberg as well as Prof. Doris Klee, vice-rector for human resources management and development, pointed out the importance that IGaD has had in the improvement of equal opportunities in the past years. They also stressed that they wish this successful line of work to continue in the future:

“Please continue with the successful work as usual. We need your important impulses, especially with regard to the current excellence competition.”
  Manuela Aye looks back on ten years IGaD © Andreas Schmitter Manuela Aye looks back on ten years IGaD

Manuela Aye, head of unit, outlined the milestones in the work of the recent years, including the two-time acquisition and implementation of the female professor program, the expansion of the TANDEM mentoring programs and, in cooperation with the Gender Equality Office, the creation of the Gender Equality Concept for the RWTH.

After a musical interlude by the Aachen singer Ellen Gürtler, Prof. Klee discussed the importance of gender and diversity management in past and future excellence initiatives. Prof. Manuela Günter, vice-rector for equality and diversity at the University of Cologne, shared her insights and experiences as a guest speaker.

  Panel talk 10 years IGaD © Andreas Schmitter Panel Talk with Manuela Aye, Prof. Jörg Feldhusen, Prof. Manuela Günter, Prof. Doris Klee, Prof. Carmen Leicht-Scholten and Prof. Ernst Schmachtenberg

Prof. Günter and Prof. Klee discussed key challenges and necessary developments for an equitable science system together with Prof. Carmen Leicht-Scholten from the Chair of Gender and Diversity in Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, who successfully built up the IGaD from 2007 onwards and chaired it for several years. The discussion as well as the whole event was moderated by Prof. Jörg Feldhusen, dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

At the end of the celebration, many guests took the opportunity to exchange ideas with each other while enjoying some finger food and a glass of sparkling wine.

As in the past 10 years, the IGaD will continue to be committed and consistent in its efforts to promote an open university culture in which the diversity of people is positively addressed and their potentials valued. In addition to a large number of other projects and activities, the IGaD's five-year series on "The changing University - Perspectives on Gender and Diversity" has made an important contribution to this goal. The next event, which will take place on January 22, 2018, will focus on "Career paths in science after the PhD". Everyone interested is welcome.