Equity and Inclusion

DEI Statement

In the 21st century, our pursuit of knowledge and goodness, united in usefulness to our ever-changing world, requires us to redefine how we achieve excellence in education. We must harness perspectives from every quarter to encourage adults and students to think critically, realize and challenge their assumptions, and collaborate to forge a greater understanding of the world. This means developing an inclination toward, and facility with, diversity of thought, perspective and experience. This also means cultivating the empathy, understanding, and respect necessary to open one’s mind to those thoughts, perspectives and experiences that differ from one’s own. Excellence today requires nothing less.

The Trustees of Phillips Exeter Academy commit to ensuring that Exeter is a diverse and inclusive community where each person has the tools to flourish. Diversity and inclusion are critical to sustaining and strengthening our tradition of excellence in all aspects of life at Exeter - academic, programmatic and organizational. Fostering an experience where all participants feel they can bring their full selves forward is not merely aspirational, it is fundamental to our educational mission and method. Our commitment to our community is to do more than assemble a diverse population of students and adults: our commitment is to teach the skills, model the behaviors, provide the resources, and cultivate the environment of inclusion that is required to unlock the richness of that diversity. Only through inclusion can diversity act as a catalyst to dispel ignorance and fear, and create space to achieve equity and excellence. Only when we put these values into action, by both our words and our deeds, can we construct authentic bridges across differences and empower all individuals to become their best and fullest selves, both at Exeter and throughout their lives.

Our Harkness pedagogy is grounded in the belief that we are all better equipped to learn and to lead when our thoughts are tested by others, particularly by those whose thoughts or identities are different from our own. Only when we skillfully engage our differences - whether they are grounded in race; ethnicity; national or geographic origin; religious, philosophical or political beliefs; gender or gender identity; sexual orientation; age; physical ability; family structure, socioeconomic status or life experience - will we find a path to that greater understanding of the world and how we can be of service to it.

Professional Development Opportunities and Resources

Exeter Diversity Institute (EDI)

Exeter Diversity Institute is open and free of charge for all PEA employees. Participants experience a Harkness classroom as a student, studying literary and historical texts; leaders will model classroom approaches that facilitate in-depth conversations about privilege, race, equity, and belonging. Participants also have opportunities to participate in special interest workshops that could cover a wide range of topics from courageous conversations with colleagues to understanding implicit bias, to how to support international students in the dorms.

Real Talk: Identity-Informed Conversations with Colleagues

Real Talk: Identity-Informed Conversations with Colleagues brings colleagues together from across the Academy to share ‘real’ reflections about how they experience life from the vantage point of their respective identities. The Real Talk cohort meets biweekly and over lunch throughout the academic year. The “REAL” element of these conversations is an invitation to offer personal experiences and perspectives that aren’t typically shared with colleagues. Real Talk stemmed from a desire to foster meaningful connections between colleagues through intentional dialogue, and to encourage greater consideration for how members of this community navigate their daily experiences. It also provides an opportunity to learn how and when to probe personal experiences.

Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Conversations and JEDI Labs

JEDI Conversations are bite-sized (one hour) engagements open to all employees on select Wednesdays at 3pm. Participants may join the conversation in-person or virtually. JEDI conversations are a way to introduce new vocabulary, build community through cross departmental discussions, and learn more about Exeter’s commitment to DEIJ and antioppression. Participants are highly encouraged to keep the conversations going between meetings- maybe with colleagues or maybe with family and friends.

JEDI Lab is opportunity for folks to come together to share their approaches to JEDI topics, seek feedback from community members, and collaborate with each other. Examples of ideas to bring to JEDI Lab include: making space in department meetings to share learnings from DEIJ professional development, strategies for holding yourself and others accountable to equity practices, or how to leverage the diversity of groups for better decision making. Participants don’t need to have the answers— just a willingness to share your questions and advice with the group.

Department Specific

The Office of Equity and Inclusion also offers department specific workshops, trainings, and thought partnership throughout the campus.