The Rhodes Edge will be achieved on a stable financial foundation. Rhodes depends on tuition, gifts to the Annual Fund, draw from our endowment, and major gifts and grants to provide scholarships, fellowships, study abroad, faculty support, and capital for new buildings and other projects. To accomplish our goals, each of these revenue streams must expand. We are committed to remaining an intimate campus of approximately 2,000 undergraduate students. The college’s financial health will depend on increasing the perceived value of the Rhodes experience among prospective families and a willingness among the Rhodes community to financially support the college to a far larger extent. Increasing philanthropic support of Rhodes is vital to our future success. New programs for post- baccalaureate learners will become a revenue opportunity for Rhodes. Additionally, we must prepare for an uncertain future in which political, economic, and technological change could radically disrupt the way Rhodes and its sister institutions function.
We will invest in:
- Developing New Revenue Streams: We will adopt an entrepreneurial mindset toward the development of new revenue-generating programs. Already we have developed a master’s degree in Urban Education and a post-baccalaureate certificate for aspiring medical professionals Health Equity that can serve as templates for other concepts. Both programs build on our institutional values, unique approach to the liberal arts, our location in Memphis, and afford Rhodes the opportunity to become the national leader in these respective areas. We will also pay special attention to other models, much like our successful Summer Writing Institute, that focus on high school age students to complement our undergraduate student recruitment efforts.
- Building and Sustaining an Outstanding Workforce: Our faculty and staff are at the core of how we carry out the mission of the college on a daily basis. To better support our existing staff, we will support faculty and staff development and will aim to bring salaries in line with appropriate benchmarks where needed. We will also identify strategic staffing opportunities that allow the college to better serve students as we implement the Rhodes Edge.
- Telling Our Story: We will increase demand for a Rhodes education and invite new philanthropic investment through enhanced marketing and communications. The lifeblood of Rhodes is the new generation of talented, diverse students who choose to join this community each fall. The competition for these students intensifies each year as college costs grow, real family income remains stagnant, colleges become more aggressive in recruitment, and net student revenues continue to be flat to declining. In this environment, telling our story more clearly and telling it better than our competitors becomes a necessity.
- Planning the Campus’ Future: A new campus master plan will envision a campus and surrounding neighborhood where the students of tomorrow will learn and live. The plan will build on our architectural distinctiveness, our residential nature, and our academic program as well as principles of environmental sustainability. We will address key facility enhancements as identified in campus space studies regarding academic, athletic, and student life needs. These include enhanced environments for the arts, psychology, business, science labs, career services, athletics, multicultural and interfaith space, and the development of additional space for student interaction. We will improve the physical connection between West Campus and the traditional campus. Master planning will guide us to imagine a more welcoming, “Memphis- facing” campus.
- Cultivating Community Partnerships: Our location in the heart of Memphis offers both strategic advantages and special responsibilities. Our vibrant setting provides new opportunities to expand our mission cooperatively with interested non-profits, businesses, and local governments. We will collaborate with our neighbors to enhance the areas surrounding campus and seek opportunities for engagement.
- Enhancing Efficiency: We have committed to implementing Workday, a 21st-century administrative computing platform. Workday provides an opportunity to refine our business processes, improve efficiencies and effectiveness for all students and faculty, enhance the work of staff, improve the student-faculty advising practices, and facilitate better communication across the community. Such a commitment will allow the college to further develop efforts in sophisticated data analytics, communications, and support services.
- Preparing for Uncertainty: There will be a committee of the Board, chaired by the President or her designee to identify and investigate the “big unanswered questions” facing the college. We must keep our eye on broader trends that could upend that market and require the college to change in more radical ways and take bigger risks.