Office for Identity, Culture and Institutional Equity
In December 1990 about 20 faculty from the Upper Division established an ad hoc Committee on Valuing Difference. The teachers were responding to an increasing awareness of issues of difference they observed among their students. The work of this committee led to the recommendation for and hiring of the first Assistant Director of Admissions and Director of Diversity at HM in the fall of 1998. The responsibilities for this position were held by the Assistant Director of Admissions and it wasn’t until 2010 that the Office of Diversity, now known as the Office for Identity, Culture, and Institutional Equity or ICIE, was established. The office was charged with responsibility for furthering equity and inclusion at HM across all divisions of the school.
The HM mission statement refers to “a diverse community of students.” The diversity is reflected in the widespread geographic area, covering 150 zip codes in three states as well as international locations, from which our students come. Diversity at HM is also defined by data: 42% of our students self-identify as students of color and 14% of our students receive financial aid. We are a community in which fifteen languages are spoken and there is rich diversity in religious beliefs, learning styles, abilities and interests.
ICIE supports this diverse community by working with all constituencies of the school, administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and trustees. The work is guided by the Horace Mann School mission, the Core Values, and the Principles of Good Practice for Equity and Justice of NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools). We strive to affirm identity, make culture more explicit, create context for understanding through academics, and engage the community in meaningful dialogue around social justice and equity.
Our goal is to move with purpose and conviction toward greater inclusion. We define inclusion as policies, practices and programs based on a set of shared community values. We measure inclusivity by the degree to which people of all backgrounds, people of all perspectives and people of all beliefs have an equal opportunity to contribute, to belong and to achieve within the community. We believe that inclusion requires everyone to recognize, to respect, and to value difference.