Diverse approaches - Diverse resources

Inclusion and participation

Fostering an inclusive environment in which people can work, study and conduct research is a way to reduce the barriers preventing them from participating on an equal footing. It can give individuals from all backgrounds access to higher education and university life. Dismantling environmental and/or attitudinal barriers allows people, especially those with a disability, to play an active role in designing their own living spaces at university.

Making the University more inclusive

The Equal Opportunity and Diversity Unit is keen to highlight the needs of all University members with a disability and make its (digital) services more accessible in order to ensure that everyone can teach, research, work and study free of discrimination and with equal opportunity.

The unit is devising strategies and measures for creating an environment that enables all University members to harness and unleash the potential inside them.

As a university that values diversity and sees it as a beneficial resource, the University of Bonn is committed to eliminating discrimination and ableist structures.

Finger streichen über Blindenschrift
© Colourbox
News regarding Inclusion
Order new posters and postcards to advertise quiet and retreat areas

As part of the "Inclusive University" funding initiative of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, quiet and refuge rooms for students have been set up at the University of Bonn. In order to make these spaces appealing, we have had posters/postcards designed that draw attention to the university's counselling services on the subject of inclusion and (mental) health.

Impressions of the workshop discussion "Inclusion and participation"

Representatives from all status groups at the University of Bonn took part in the workshop discussion "Inclusion and Participation" to discuss various facets and their own perspectives as well as ideas for potential changes at the University of Bonn in the area of "Inclusion and Participation" using the World Café method.

"Inclusion Guides" advise the University of Bonn on accessibility issues

Since September, the University of Bonn has been participating in the "Inclusion Guides" project of the Hildegardis Association together with other institutions and companies.

Review of the Science Festival '23

At the University of Bonn's Science Festival on 9 July 2023, there was a varied stage programme, a family science rally and lots of exciting activities.

Join the INKLUSION working group

In line with the principle of “nothing about us without us” that underpins the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, we call on students, teachers and staff with a disability to share their views and invite them to join us:

Do you have a disability, a chronic illness or a mental health condition that is causing you to encounter barriers at the University of Bonn? Do you have some ideas for how these barriers might be reduced or removed entirely? Would you like to help develop an inclusion and participation strategy as part of the INKLUSION working group? Then why not get in touch with us?

A woman is communicating in sign language
© Colourbox

Q&A: Facilitation for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses (BOCKS)

Studying at the University of Bonn is not yet barrier-free. Many historical buildings are listed or rented. They are not designed for disabled access, and subsequent efforts to achieve barrier-free access are often difficult or successive due to monument and fire protection regulations as well as general financial bottlenecks.

In order to take accessibility into account from the outset when making future procurements, rentals and construction measures, a guideline on standards for structural accessibility has been developed. In addition, a "barrier-free concept" must be submitted with a building application in order to assess the structural, technical and organisational requirements of barrier-free accessibility that are relevant for consideration in the approval procedure. In the course of the planning procedures, the representative for severely disabled persons and the representative for students with disabilities are also involved.

The requirement to strategically anchor the topic of accessibility as a binding cross-sectional task of the administration is included in the inclusion strategy.

The Equal Opportunity and Diversity Unit is in discussion with various organisational units in order to make the CampusAPP, which is currently being developed, barrier-free and to integrate a barrier-free wayfinding system. An overview of barrier-free rooms, sanitary facilities and access points is to be incorporated. Various financing options for the acquisition of appropriate recording software and the generation of resources for maintenance are currently being examined. You can find information on supports for navigating the campus here.

The representative for students with disabilities, Ms Becker, provides comprehensive information for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses on her website and also points out the various counselling services and contacts at introductory events for students.

On the part of Human Resources Management, there is an initiative to train counsellors who have no educational, psychological or therapeutic training yet in their counselling skills. As part of a Healthy Campus Bonn pilot project, for example, counsellors are being educated on mental illness and mental health so that they can react adequately in emergency situations and provide referral counselling (further training for MHFA first aiders).

Faculty-specific contact persons for students with disabilities are available in four of the seven faculties; an expansion to all faculties is being sought.

The Equal Opportunity and Diversity Unit has initiated workshops to raise awareness of the needs of students with disabilities among counsellors at the university; further workshops on the topic of Ableism and Autism Spectrum Disorder are being planned.

Wherever accessibility cannot be guaranteed for all, appropriate provisions (e.g. compensation for disadvantages) must be made. The awarding of accessibility accommodations is always individual and situation-related and depends on the impairment. Therefore, before submitting an application, it is strongly recommended that you seek advice from Ms Becker or the subject-specific study advisors in order to increase your chances of obtaining accommodation.

General assistance and information on accessibility accommodations can be found on the website of the representative for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses; a sample application and an information sheet for issuing the specialist medical certificate are available there. Since granting accommodations is a decision relevant to examination law to ensure equal opportunities, the submission of suitable evidence is required.

Due to the more differentiated description of diagnoses and needs, the examination authorities prefer evidence from specialists (including psychotherapists licensed by health insurance funds). If, in exceptional cases, this evidence can only be provided by general practitioners, this is usually possible with an appropriate explanation - and, if necessary, also with a statement from the representative for students with disabilities.

When drafting or amending the university's own examination regulations, care is being taken to ensure that they contain regulations that compensate for disadvantages - both for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses and due to maternity protection regulations - in accordance with § 64 Para. 2 No. 5 HG NRW. If you feel that further regulations are necessary, the departments or Dept. 9.1 (Academic Planning and Capacity Matters) will certainly be happy to receive your suggestions and, if necessary, coordinate with Ms Becker.

The training of lecturers and teachers in raising awareness for the needs of students with disabilities and chronic illnesses is also included in the inclusion strategy. The first training measures on the topic of barrier-free teaching are already in planning.

An inclusive university

The Inclusive University funding program of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the University of Bonn is geared toward developing measures that help students with disabilities and/or a chronic condition to study without encountering disadvantages and complete their degree program successfully. You can find details of the funding program and the application and selection procedures here.

Contact persons for students with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses

For students with a disability, chronic or mental illness and/or partial performance disorder, studying offers additional hurdles that do not have to be overcome alone. In addition to the representative for students with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses, there are other contact persons at various institutes who offer you support with all questions and problems relating to your studies and are committed to ensuring that you can successfully complete your studies.

Here you can find a list of all contact persons at the University of Bonn who you can turn to.

Colourful wooden cutouts of symbols for people, some of ehich are in wheelchairs
© Colourbox
An airplane on a map of europe
© Colourbox

Additional Erasmus+ funding for students / PhD students with disabilities / chronic illnesses

Students and PhD students who wish to spend a semester abroad in Europe can receive financial support by the Erasmus+ programme. Additional funding is available for people in "diverse" life situations. This includes people with a disability or chronic illness, students going abroad with a child, working students / PhD students and also first generation students.

You can find more information here (german).

Advice on assistive technologies from the “Kompetenzzentrum digitale Barrierefreiheit.nrw”

The “Kompetenzzentrum digitale Barrierefreiheit.nrw,” a digital accessibility center of expertise for North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), will be organizing two different monthly meet-ups on assistive technologies for students, starting in March.

  1. Students who use assistive technologies will be able to discuss the best way to make them part of their degree program and share their experiences with experts and fellow students.
  2. Advisors who are keen to exchange their own ideas about the potential ways of using assistive technologies can contribute and get information and answers to their questions.

Please see the PDF entitled “Sprechstunde für Studierende” (“Drop-in session for students”) for details of the peer-to-peer sessions for students. Information for advisors working at universities in NRW can be found in the PDF entitled “Sprechstunde für Beratende” (“Drop-in session for advisors”).

The events for students are set to be held on the last Monday in the month and those for advisors on the first Monday. Updated dates will be published on the Kompetenzzentrum.nrw website.

A person with a hearing aid
© Colourbox
Two students are reviewing notes together
© Colourbox

Buddy programs

The early days of a degree program bring numerous changes and challenges and are a time when students need to take a lot of responsibility for themselves and structure their (own) routines. Inclusive University Sports and the Department of Philosophy run “buddy programs” for people with autism spectrum disorder or a mental health condition in order to help them find their way—physically and mentally—around the University, organize their studies, interact in social settings and build up a network of useful contacts.

Advice and support services

Students who encounter barriers during their degree program can seek confidential advice from the Representative for Students with Disabilities or Chronic Illnesses that will be focused on finding solutions. The representative serves as an advocate for the needs of students with health problems, gives them advice on preparing for life at university and on the support and individual compensatory measures available during their studies, and provides assistance in the event of a conflict.

Studying with a disability (german)

The representative of severely disabled employees and her deputies advise and represent severely disabled colleagues and their peers with the aim of inclusion at the workplace.

Learn more

The General Students’ Committee (AStA) at the University of Bonn is also committed to supporting students with a disability and/or a chronic condition. As well as offering consultations, it organizes regular “Stammtisch” meet-ups for students with a disability or (chronic) illness (abbreviated as “BOCKS” in German). The BOCKS department ensures that the needs of students with disabilities are included in the debate on University policy.

AStA services for students with a disability or chronic condition

The advisor for inclusion is appointed by the employer and supports and monitors the employer's compliance with its legal obligations. One of the tasks is to ensure that the employer fulfils the obligations of all regulations concerning the protection of severely disabled people. Thomas Rosenkranz is your contact at the University of Bonn.

Department of personnel management

The Studierendenwerk Bonn can give students with a disability and/or chronic condition advice on issues relating to funding, scholarships, integration support services, care and assistance as well as finding accommodation.

Learn more

Digital accessibility

More so than anything else, participation in University life means being able to access its activities and services. Access to information and technologies also has to be designed in such a way that everyone can use them. To identify and eliminate digital barriers and prevent them from arising in the future, the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Unit will be developing a sub-strategy for digital accessibility going forward. The design of websites, forms and documents is key, as is the development of an accessible campus app.

(Digital) barrier report tool

We are looking forward to receiving your help in making the unit’s web page more accessible by reporting any barriers that you encounter.

Feel free to contact us here.

A screenshot of the navigable campus app map
© Universität Bonn

Navigable campus map showing accessible paths

Students attending the “Location-Based Services” seminar designed an app that provides a navigable campus map showing accessible paths and access routes.

Accessibility plan in the Department of Law (AStA)

The AStA’s Social Services department has created a floor plan that shows accessibility in the Department of Law.

AStA app with floor plans of rooms

The AStA at the University of Bonn has produced an Android app that also displays floor plans of the University Main Building, the Nassestraße canteen and the Department of Law complete with their addresses, opening hours and GPS locations.


Avatar Lindenberg

Julia Lindenberg

Project Coordination Inclusion and Participation

Dechenstraße 3-11

53115 Bonn

Other handouts and studies

Information and Advice Center for Studying with Disabilities (IBS)

Here you can find all you need to know about getting admitted, embarking on your studies, completing your degree program and sourcing funding.

Study entitled “Situation von Frauen mit Schwerbehinderung am Arbeitsmarkt”

This study takes an intersectional view of participation in working life, focusing specifically on women with a severe disability.

Study entitled “LSBTIQ*inklusiv NRW”

This quantitative study investigates the everyday life and problems experienced by lesbian, gay, bi-, trans-, intersexual and queer people living with different forms of disability.

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