Strategic Plan

Achieving our Best

The strategic plan sets the priorities and direction of the institution as Rhodes College heads into its next decade.  Voices from every corner of the Rhodes community contributed to this plan, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees in the fall of 2019.  The strategy represents a renewed commitment to the Rhodes Vision.

The Rhodes Vision

Rhodes College aspires to graduate students with a life-long passion for learning, a compassion for others, and the ability to translate academic study and personal concern into effective leadership and action in their communities and the world.

Our Best Day

We are first and foremost a community that inspires profound transformation among our students to foster lives of exceptional purpose and success.


The Next Decade

While we believe our best days lie ahead, the challenges related to the future demographics of our country and the economics of private higher education are real.

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Our Competitive Advantages

Our curriculum is shaped by a faculty committed to undergraduate teaching excellence in the arts and sciences, original research, innovation, and creativity across the disciplines.

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Our Goal and Strategy: The Rhodes Edge

We will align our business model with our mission so that we can pursue national excellence in residential liberal arts education while remaining a college of approximately 2000 students. In doing so, we will commit to the Rhodes Edge, an educational and residential experience that ensures our graduates are

  • Intellectually ready to tackle the world’s most pressing problems.
  • Leadership ready to create equitable and prosperous communities.
  • Career and graduate school ready to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.

By honing the Rhodes Edge, we will add value to the undergraduate experience so that talented students, faculty, staff and our alumni are increasingly willing to invest in Rhodes. Further, we will maximize our other revenue streams through endowment growth and the development of new revenue generating programs in order to reduce tuition pressure on our students.

Four focus areas will guide our decision-making and investments over the next decade.

Focus Areas


Charles Diehl, president from 1917 to 1949, said  “realizing that the good is ever the enemy of the best, we did not seek merely the good, but the best. There was ever before us the idea of excellence. It was our purpose to launch here an institution which would endure for centuries, and which would command the respect and quicken the pride of succeeding generations.”

We engage in strategic planning to ensure that our best days are ahead, and that the Rhodes community is called to its best, every day. Meeting our ambitious goals will require expanding our community of supporters and fully engaging those who are committed to Rhodes College. As we set priorities, we will look first to focus and align current operating budgets. Many of our goals can be achieved through a college-wide effort to operationalize our strategic goals within the programs and projects we already fund. We expect that over time, these realignments will make Rhodes an ever more attractive choice for talented students.

We will also prioritize initiatives that aim to generate new net revenue. Many of these will require initial investments. We will manage these risks with care, making sure that our initial investments are thoughtful, that we monitor results, and that we are prepared to adjust or even withdraw in response to changing market conditions.

As new resources emerge—from growing recognition of Rhodes’ value among prospective students and families, from new revenue generating initiatives, and from fund-raising—we will be able to fund additional aspects of our plan.

Our plan provides us with a map toward a bright future. We will make use of this map as we make decisions over the next decade. But we will also remain attentive to emerging opportunities and risks not foreseen by this plan and will be prepared to make flexible adjustments as warranted by external conditions.

Our best days are ahead.