Multilingualism in employee and student representation

International staff and students can stand as candidates for the representative bodies of Utrecht University. Are you an international with the ambition to join the employee and student representation? Or would you like to know what the best way is to deal with multilingualism in employee and student representative bodies (university council, faculty councils, education committees, student councils etc.)? On this page, you can find an overview of the facilities and tools that can help support linguistic diversity in the employee and student representation.

Tools and services

Coordinator Multilingualism & Participation

Multilingualism and participation sometimes asks for tailored advice to employee and student representative bodies who would like to know how to deal with a specific situation. Or, as an international representative you might also be in need of specific support to carry out your duties. Please contact the coordinator Multilingualism & Participation Frederike Groothoff for further information.

Receptive Dutch as administrative language (B1-C1)

In February 2023 a course on receptive Dutch that has been developed especially for international employee and student representatives will start again. In this course, you will learn everything about the Dutch meeting culture, administrative language, and how you can use luistertaal to have multilingual meetings. This means that special attention will be paid to the development of receptive skills (reading and listening) in Dutch. The duration of the course is about 20 weeks and there are two classes per week each of 1.75 hours. International staff members can apply via the development guide and international students that wish to enroll or receive more information can contact the coordinator Multilingualism & Participation Frederike Groothoff.

Toolkit Multilingual Meetings

We have a lot of meetings at the university. However, how do you tackle this with an international team? Do you switch to English? What do you do when not everybody is comfortable with that? In the Toolkit Multilingual Meetings, by means of seven animated knowledge clips, it is explained how you can have multilingual meetings (access with Solis-ID only for UU employees and student representatives, here you can click for the Toolkit in PDF-format). 

Workshop Multilingual Meetings

Through interactive role-play games and concise theory, employees learn to apply strategies to accommodate as speaker, hearer and active bystander in a meeting with co-workers who have different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Take a look at the workshop in the Development Guide for the up-to-date overview of trainings (access with Solis-ID for UU employees and student representatives). The workshop is for individual employees, but team managers can apply for a workshop for the whole team.

Working language in representative bodies

To support the language policy in representative advisory bodies a document will be shared with a checklist and a choice model for representatives to prepare their advisory body for a multilingual situation. The checklist is based on research and experiences of advisory bodies participating in the Multilingualism & Participation project. Needless to say, since representative bodies can differ widely, the checklist might not be fully applicable for every advisory body. Besides the checklist the document will also include the choice model inclusive multilingualism for representative advisory bodies. The choices in the model are based on the language levels of the participants in the body. Chapter 7 of the Language policy of Utrecht University (PDF document of the Language policy) deals specific with the working language in representative bodies.

Project Multilingualism & Participation

The Multilingualism & Participation project took place from September 2020 until July 2022. With this project Utrecht University aimed to encourage the participation of international staff and students. This project investigated multilingual situations within and outside UU and has developed the above tools and services. Jan ten Thije, professor intercultural communication and former coordinator of the project, and Kimberly Naber, researcher intercultural communication, explain in a DUB-article what the added value of a multilingual situation can be. Here you can read the final report of the project. A closing colloquium of the project Multilingualism & Participation was held on the 10th of June 2022. A report of this colloquium will be available soon, but the video of the colloquium can already be viewed. 

NWO subsidy: start CoRe-project January 2023 

The Multilingualism & Participation project will continue in the a new project with NWO open competition money: CoRe project: a Communicative Receptive approach to language learning and mutual understanding in multilingual academic contexts. The project starts in January 2023 and Prof. Dr. Rick the Graaff is project leader. 

More information

Curious about how the tools have been developed? Or do you have any other questions about multilingualism in the employee and student representation? Please contact the Coordinator Multilingualism & Participation Frederike Groothoff.