On Oct. 19, 2017, Rhodes College established the Alpha Iota Gamma Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), an international honor society that recognizes and promotes excellence in education. Twenty-five students were inducted in a ceremony conducted by Rhodes educational studies faculty and KDP executive council member Dr. Clinton Smith of the University of Tennessee at Martin.
KDP was founded at the University of Illinois in 1909 as the Illinois Education Club. In 1911, the group renamed themselves Kappa Delta Pi from the Greek words to represent knowledge, duty, and power. Past members have included Eleanor Roosevelt, Michael Apple, and John Dewey.
To become a member, students must be majoring in educational studies, be in their junior or senior year of study, and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Rhodes students in KDP also will begin working in local area schools and communities as part of the service commitments all members make upon joining.
“An opportunity for service opportunities revolving around education is ideal. Rhodes has a wealth of knowledge that can easily be shared,” says Ryan Rosenkrantz ’19, a member of Kappa Delta Pi. “I work at Dunbar Elementary, and the family engagement specialist and I will be meeting soon to discuss getting volunteers from the honor society to help there. We also have been in contact with a law school student from the University of Texas at Austin looking to implement restorative justice practices in Shelby County Schools, and will soon work with the Refugee Empowerment Program to look at ways KDP might be able to help them.”
"In just three years, the Educational Studies Program has gone from a minor to a robust major with three tracks and an honors society," says Dr. Zachary Casey, assistant professor of educational studies. "This rapid growth has been driven by Rhodes students committed to the education of future generations, and to socially just approaches to responding to injustice and inequities. KDP will support these ongoing commitments, while serving as a distinction for those students whose academics and service mark them as outstanding future educators."