Equity initiatives

Director of Equity and Inclusion Stephanie Bramlett provides an update on Exeter's DEI work.


Stephanie Bramlett
May 10, 2022
Stephanie Bramlett and Kevin Pajaro-Marinez

Director of Equity and Inclusion Stephanie Bramlett (right) speaks at the 2021 Equity and Justice Dinner as Assistant Director of Equity and Inclusion Kevin Pajaro-Marinez looks on.

It’s hard for me to believe that I am already wrapping up my fourth year at Exeter. I’m grateful to take this moment to reflect upon some of the ways Exeter has grown to become a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), Dean of Faculty (DOF) and Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) teams have evolved and expanded over the past few years. The additions of an Asian student coordinator and an LGBTQA+ student coordinator in OMA, an assistant director in the OEI and an assistant dean in DOF have increased the bandwidth of our offices and the opportunities for broad engagement with the community. An exciting slate of programming is now offered, including a Lunar New Year celebration, Black History Monthgala, Dia de Los Muertos, a webinar series and the OMA Leadership Summit.

We’ve also created ample opportunities for students to learn about diversity, equity and inclusion within the curriculum. The Core Values Project: Conversations about Anti-oppression, Community Values and Justice is a joint Office of Equity and Inclusion and Dean of Students project that builds on the antiracist mini courses developed last year. Discussion group facilitators work in pairs to pitch project ideas, and their peers select a discussion group that interests them. Some of this year’s Core Values Projects include Balikbayan: The Return Home, Exonians in the Philippines Study Away Proposal; An Artistic Exploration of Queerness: Showcasing Queer Identity Through Art and Performance; and Windows and Mirrors: Multimedia Representation of Anti-oppression, Community Values and Justice at Exeter.

New classes were also added to the Courses of Instruction, including MAT40J:Mathematics of Social Justice, INT535: Asian American History and Literature and EXI545: The Intersection of Science, Health and Race in America.

I am confident that our students are graduating with the critical-thinking skills they will need to be successful in an increasingly global and interconnected world.

The Office of Institutional Advancement has worked with members of the General Alumni Association Board of Directors to bring a series of affinity-based networking opportunities called Identity + Affinity to the alumni community. In late February, a Black Alumni Affinity Programming Committee produced a fantastic program, “For Us, By Us: The History of 164 Years of Black Excellence at Exeter,” in which Alexanderia Baker Haidara ’99 presented her historical research. Big thanks to GAA director Una Basak ’90 and the members of the planning committee, including Haidara, Ciatta Baysah ’97, Julian Bobb ’90, Lori Lincoln ’86, Lars Ojukwu ’03, Mike Oneal ’74 and Russell Washington ’89. The Identity + Affinity Series continues with programming for Asian American/Pacific Islander, LGBTQA+ and Hispanic/Latinx affinities.

I’ll be joining IA “on the road” this year to bring Core Values Project discussions to alums and parents all around the country. You will have the opportunity to experience the same types of conversations we are having here on campus.

Looking ahead, we will host the Exeter Diversity Institute, or EDI, this summer, with educators from all over the country coming to campus to discuss how to navigate identity and promote equity in school communities and at the Harkness table. In August, we’ll have an EDI for Academy employees, and we’ll welcome a talented and diverse cohort of new colleagues to PEA.

September will kick off the second year of the Equitable Exeter Experience, a pre-orientation program for students of color, students with high financial need, students who are the first in their families to go to college and students who are members of the LGBTQA+ community.

One of my favorite things about Exeter is that we are never comfortable with staying the same. We are always looking for ways to grow, progress and improve. I’m proud of this community and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for us.

Editor's note: This article first appeared in the spring 2022 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.