The Executive Board has appointed Prof. Semiha Denktaş as the new Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) of Erasmus University Rotterdam as of 1 October 2018. In this role, Prof. Denktaş will work to promote diversity and inclusion in research, education and all other aspects of the university. Denktaş succeeds Prof. Hanneke Takkenberg, who held the position of CDO since 2015.
According to Rector Magnificus Rutger Engels, Denktaş’ academic background and passion for diversity and inclusion make her the perfect candidate to fill this important position. Her academic work focuses upon inequality, vulnerable groups and the changing of behaviour.
Rector magnificus Rutger Engels: “Diversity and inclusion are important themes for our university. Important objectives have been achieved in recent years under the leadership of Hanneke Takkenberg, such as increased awareness for diversity and the appointment of Diversity Officers at the faculties. However, there is still work to be done. I want to work together with Semiha Denktaş and the Diversity and Inclusion Office to tackle this.”
'We do have the responsibility of thinking critically about the standards that we want to set'
Semiha Denktaş, Chief Diversity Officer
Semiha Denktaş: “Diversity and inclusion are not merely issues faced by universities. As an academic community, we do have the responsibility of thinking critically about the standards that we want to set, to be very clear about the values that we uphold and to bring the issues of diversity and inclusivity to the fore in public debate.”
About Semiha Denktaş
Prof. Semiha Denktaş (Istanbul, 1973) studied Clinical & Health Psychology at Utrecht University and Integration & Migration Studies at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She obtained her PhD on the subject of The Health and Healthcare use of Elderly First Generation Migrants in the Netherlands.
Denktaş played a seminal role in the establishment of the Erasmus University College, serving as Head of the Social & Behavioural Science department from 2013 to 1 September 2018. As of 1 September 2018, she leads the Behavioural Change pillar at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences Rotterdam (ESSB).
She has a vast amount of experience in large-scale, multi-disciplinary research programmes. In 2017, she started the Behavioural Insights Group Rotterdam (BIG’R) and HEALTHY’R together with the Municipality of Rotterdam. She continues to serve as Academic Director of these collaborations. Through these vessels and under her leadership, various research projects are being conducted in Rotterdam to examine and achieve behaviour change. These include behavioural studies aimed at promoting improved mental and physical health, with a special focus on marginalised and vulnerable groups.
Denktaş is a board member of Female Academics Moving toward Equity (FAME) of the Erasmus University Rotterdam; a group focused on the participation and empowerment of women in all academic ranks. She is also a board member of the “Coalitie Rotterdammers voor Mekaar” (Coalition of Rotterdammers for Each Other); a Rotterdam-focused coalition that engages its network to detect threats to social cohesion and strengthens and combines existing forces and initiatives to increase social cohesion.
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