Equity and Inclusion FAQ

You have questions, we have answers.

Our Office of Equity and Inclusion has compiled this list of answers to frequently asked questions about Exeter's diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

Feel free to contact us with any other questions you think we should consider adding.


DEI strategy and goals
What are the school’s goals for diversity, equity and inclusion work?

The broadest outline of our goals is found in our DEI vision statement. The Academy has defined the following goals as DEI priorities: 

  • Increase the number of BIPOC faculty by at least 50% by 2025. 
  • Ensure an inclusive, equitable community through comprehensive assessment; revise current policies, practices and systems where needed; and build lasting infrastructure and investment that transforms campus culture to reflect anti-racist principles. 
  • Develop and launch teaching and learning initiatives, professional development opportunities, research projects, educational exhibitions and events to foster and celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion to the fullest extent. 
  • Build a comprehensive understanding of the Academy’s history, as it intertwines with the institution and legacies of slavery, racism and inequality in our country, and how that history manifests in the experiences of BIPOC students and adults on campus. 

We will continue to define specific goals as we move forward in our work of becoming an anti-racist institution. 

Does the Academy have goals around hiring and retention of faculty of color?

Yes. In June 2020, we announced a commitment to increase the number of faculty of color by at least 50% over the next five years. We also created and filled two new positions tied directly to this effort: assistant dean of faculty and assistant director of equity and inclusion. The Trustee DEI Task Force works with the director of equity and inclusion, the dean of faculty and the director of human resources on the retention of faculty of color, with particular attention to issues of recognition of workload, on-campus housing, support for families in the local community, professional development and compensation.

How are students of color or students who are members of the LGBTQ+ community supported?

We provide support for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students from all offices on campus, with a particular focus from the Office of Multicultural Affairs. OMA provides programming and activities for students and is considered a favorite place to gather by many BIPOC and LGBTQA+ students. OMA creates programming and provides a centrally located lounge where students work on homework, hold meetings, meet with OMA staff and gather socially. The OMA faculty and staff serve as advisers to many students and are primary advisers for culture and affinity groups, including La Alianza Latina (LAL), the Afro-Latino Exonian Society (ALES), the Asian Advisory Board, the International Student Alliance and the International Student Alliance Board. OMA works closely with Student Activities to help plan and execute activities, including International Day, Asian Night Market, Asian Dinner, International Tea, the Students of Caribbean Ancestry Carnival, dinners sponsored by LAL and ALES, and more. OMA and Student Activities also assist students who seek to create new culture and affinity groups. 

OMA works with the campus community to foster greater understanding around topics of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, ability, religion, spirituality and other aspects of identity. 

The Office of Multicultural Affairs comprises the dean of multicultural affairs, the associate dean of multicultural affairs, the international student program coordinator, the LGBTQ+ student program coordinator, the Asian student program coordinator and the administrative intern. Learn more about them here

How can I learn more about Exeter’s progress around justice, equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives?

We report on DEI progress through multiple channels: the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ e-newsletter (WORD), emails sent from Academy leadership, monthly e-newsletters to alumni, The Exeter Bulletin, the DEI section of our website and the school’s social media channels. The Academy also periodically hosts webinars on DEI topics, including training and Harkness-style discussions, to which alumni are invited. 

Curriculum and programming
How does the school incorporate teaching and learning about justice, equity, diversity and inclusion into the curriculum?

Important work is underway in every academic discipline, built on substantial work done in prior years, to diversify course content and structure the curriculum to be more inclusive. For example, the Classical Languages Department revised its Latin textbook to represent a greater diversity of perspectives, including those that are female, enslaved, non-elite and non-Italian.

We also have specific courses dedicated to inclusion and equity, such as Mathematics of Social Justice, which covers mathematical methods needed to analyze the impacts of public policy, and The Intersection of Science, Health and Race in America, in which students explore race and racism in science and medicine in the U.S. from the 20th century to today.

How does the school create a culture of awareness around equity and inclusion outside of the classroom?

We have lots of programs, materials and spaces for students and adults, including: 

  • Leadership training for Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) clubs through the OMA Leadership Summit and for all student leaders through the Student Leadership Training program.
  • The Equitable Exeter Experience (E3) is a preorientation program for new Black, Indigenous and other students of color, high financial need students, first-generation college students and LGBTQ+ students. Current Exeter students are mentors to new students in this program.
  • The Core Values Project: Conversations About Anti-Oppression, Community Values and Justice is a weekly opportunity for students and adults to talk about how we, as a community, live the Academy’s core values. Building on the anti-racist work begun in 2020-21, students and adults meet in project groups that explore many topics, such as increasing diversity and representation in public spaces on campus and how to build a more inclusive culture in athletics. Read more about the Core Values Project here
  • OMA regularly develops programming around national events such as Black History Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, MLK Day and more. Programming can include visiting speakers, readings by faculty, special meals and OMA proctor-run events. 
  • Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) discussions for faculty and staff take place monthly.
Does the Academy have affinity clubs for students?

Yes! We have dozens of affinity clubs and cultural groups for students through the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and Counseling and Psychological Services. These groups support a wide array of identities, including ethnicity, gender, religion, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation and cultural appreciation.

Don’t see something that works for you? We can help students create new clubs and affinity groups! 

Does the Academy have affinity groups for adult members of the community?

Yes! We have many faculty and staff affinity groups, such as those for employees who are BIPOC, Muslim, Hispanic and Latinx, international or LGBTQ+. Several white anti-racist groups work to build their own cultural awareness and competency and to support various anti-racism initiatives. As with student clubs, there is flexibility around creating new clubs and affinity groups to meet the needs of our residential community.

How does the Academy encourage employees to learn more about issues around race and inclusion?

We host training sessions and ongoing workshops centered around DEI for adults in the Exeter community. We have an annual Exeter Diversity Institute, an immersive three-day workshop based on readings, videos and Harkness-style conversations that focus on race, racism and anti-racism in our school community and beyond. The Academy also runs monthly discussion-based workshops on Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. And the employee group Real Talk: Identity Informed Conversations With Colleagues meets biweekly throughout the school year to talk about identity. 

Community demographics
What is the demographic makeup of the student community?

In the 2021-22 academic year, 50.6% of students self-identified as students of color: 
Asian: 13.5% 
Asian American: 19.3% 
African American: 9.2% 
Black: 4.4% 
Hispanic/Latino: 8.2% 
Native American: 0.7% 
Two or more races: 17.2% 

What is the demographic make-up of Exeter’s faculty?

As of March 2022 our faculty, administrative faculty and faculty administrators self identified as:

Asian: 5.66%
Black or Asian American: 9.81%
Hispanic or Latino: 4.91%
Two or more races: 1.89%
White: 77.74%

Leadership and administration
What role do the Trustees play in decision-making relative to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion?

The Trustees of Phillips Exeter Academy are committed to making Exeter an anti-racist school. In 2018, they published a DEI vision statement that expresses how central DEI is to the school’s mission. In June 2020, they announced initiatives to institutionalize the practice of anti-racism at Exeter. They have identified DEI as an institutional priority and continue to work directly with Academy leadership to identify opportunities for reaching DEI goals and to support initiatives with funding and resources. 

The Trustee DEI Task Force, created in 2020, has as its first priority to “support and provide oversight of the Academy’s efforts to address racial bias, injustice and inequity in our community.” The group will also facilitate coordination to ensure that consideration of DEI priorities is infused in the work of all trustee committees. You can see the full charter for the task force here

The General Alumni Association board of directors has formed an Affinity Engagement Committee to help extend the school’s DEI-focused initiatives beyond campus. Through outreach to the alumni community and in partnership with the DEI Task Force, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Institutional Advancement, the committee aims to develop alumni affinity programming and explore ways in which our diverse alumni community can support the experience of our students.  

Does the school dedicate budget to support justice, equity, diversity and inclusion efforts?

Yes. We have dedicated funds that directly support students and faculty, and funds that support the development of programming in the justice, equity, diversity and inclusion area. You can see a brief description of several funds dedicated to DEI here. The Academy also allocates funds to particular program areas, such as the Office of Equity and Inclusion and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and uses discretionary funds to further our work in DEI. In many cases, students help us determine how best to use the funding. 

In June 2020, the Academy established a new principal’s discretionary fund to support the Academy’s anti-racism and DEI initiatives, to which all our trustees have contributed.

Do alumni ever get involved in efforts to help in the inclusion efforts?

Alumni get involved in DEI work through alumni committees such as the Affinity Engagement Committee formed by the General Alumni Association; by engaging in DEI workshops hosted periodically by Exeter faculty and members of DEI committees; through direct communication with trustees and school leadership; and by donating to DEI funds.