Fall 2020 Plan

More than ever before, we believe that a challenging, personal, and flexible education in the liberal arts and sciences is the best preparation for a rapidly changing and complex world. We further believe that world events are proving our point. Today’s students will need to understand their world through the sciences, the social sciences, the humanities and the arts in order to solve the world’s most complex problems, rebuild a world economy, and promote a just society.

We sincerely hope that we will be able to gather together for orientation this summer and start classes after a transformative Welcome Week experience. That is our preferred plan. However, we are also planning for several contingencies, including a flexible academic calendar and a January arrival option. We are also planning for extensive measures regarding our residence and dining procedures to ensure the health of our community when we do return, with special attention paid to those who may be ill or immunocompromised.

While we much prefer to be together on our beautiful campus, today Rhodes students are meeting in small classes of 5 to 20 students; taught by a subject expert dedicated to their intellectual growth; and attend class with really smart classmates who are challenging each other to become talented thinkers, writers, and speakers. Rhodes students are having one-on-one conversations with faculty outside of class, and they are banding together in new and interesting ways to collaborate in their learning. They are challenged beyond what they think they can do and are rising to the occasion. And our faculty are writing about these experiences with our students in a new web series called Remote - but Close.

In this unsettled time, we continue to accomplish our vision: 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. Nothing about our current circumstances changes our commitment to our students now or in the future.

Our core values

One can tell a lot about a college by the way they treat their community, especially in challenging times. As the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread, we knew we had to put the health and safety of our students first. Rhodes led the way in Memphis and made the difficult decision to ask students to move home and shift to remote learning. From the beginning, we offered students with nowhere to go the option to remain on campus. We provided technology support to those who would not have resources to be successful in remote learning. Our students, faculty and staff have found smart, creative, and compassionate ways to help each other during this transition, truly embodying the Rhodes spirit. While we are unfortunately far apart, we are still one community.

The current international pandemic requires new thinking and new approaches to learning, teaching and research, new approaches to service to our larger community, and new approaches to fulfilling our commitments to each other. With this in mind, we pledge to:

  • Keep health and safety concerns of student, faculty and staff at the forefront of our decision making.
  • Maintain academic excellence and overall quality of the Rhodes student experience.
  • Maintain the strength and quality of our faculty and staff.
  • Maintain our institutional commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Continue to build a strong Rhodes for the future.

Rhodes is small enough to be nimble in decision making and large enough to make a difference in Memphis and across the world. We are a place where individual voices can be heard and community minded so that we can work together on big problems.

While the world has changed, our values have not. Our commitment to creating a community of belonging where each student is at the center of the Rhodes experience endures.

To that end, the Admission staff stands ready to help in any way possible. Staff members can connect you with faculty, current students, current parents, alumni and professional staff. We invite to attend a live class or, if you prefer, a recorded class. We have visit options, a virtual campus tour, 360 views of campus, podcasts, and recordings of student and faculty panels. We want to make sure you feel comfortable and secure, knowing that Rhodes is the best possible fit for you and your unique contributions.

Rhodes is a student-centered college and we are committed to working one-on-one with our students. We are also available to discuss hardships, financial and otherwise. We have a financial aid appeal process that an admission staff member can lead you through. Please go to contact your admission counselor or email adminfo@rhodes.edu with any questions you might have.

Our Plan

The uncertainty of the pandemic means that we are planning for the fall on multiple tracks. Our preferred plan is to fully open campus in late summer—allowing an on-campus orientation for new students and opening of school for all students to proceed on schedule. We plan to start classes on August 26th after a robust Welcome Week for our new students beginning on August 20, 2020.

Common sense requires that we imagine several scenarios that incorporate a number of variables. Below are initiatives for which we are currently planning.

  • A Flexible Academic Calendar– Our fall academic calendar will be flexible and able to respond to developing conditions. Our available tools include a later start, two or more learning “blocks,” as well as a floating fall break. We will keep all of these options on the table as long as possible.
  • Robust Student Support
    • Residence Life – Residence hall and dining services practices and procedures will ensure the healthiest possible living arrangements for all who live on campus.
    • Student Health Planning – Our campus plan for residential students who become ill or are immunocompromised includes testing, quarantine options, and coordination with healthcare partners in Memphis.
    • Career and Graduate School Advising Services – Rhodes is well positioned to build career and graduate school readiness in a disrupted economy. Our faculty advisors, our close-knit alumni network, and our student-focused career center stand ready to support you. You will also be able to tap into our network of Memphis-based companies and non-profit organizations as well as the relationships we have built with graduate schools, medical schools, and employers throughout the country and the world.
  • New Student Orientation: Open Rhodes – Once a student makes a commitment to attend, that student will begin to receive a great deal of information regarding orientation, housing and the start of the semester. This summer we will offer a three-part orientation experience. Our orientation program will feature virtual and in-person experiences to help our Class of 2024 students prepare for the transition to the Rhodes Community in fall 2020. The full schedule is here.
  • January Arrival Option – While everyone is affected by this crisis, we know that every student’s needs are not the same and want to work with you based on the specifics of your situation. We want to welcome you into our community when it is best and safest for you to join us. We understand there may be students who will not be able to arrive on campus in the fall due to family circumstances, international travel restrictions, or personal health reasons. We will provide an option for remote learning during the fall and an on-campus orientation in January. For students who cannot participate in the fall learning opportunities, we will offer courses next summer to help students catch up.
  • A Plan for All Students – What hasn’t changed are our standards of excellence and the care that defines our community. We will continue to provide an outstanding learning opportunity for all students no matter their location or health concerns. As a smaller college we are able to respond to individual needs with flexibility and support.

What to Expect Next

Make your Commitment to Enroll – To make your enrollment commitment, please log into your Admission Portal using your login credentials. If you need to reset your password, please contact dataservices@rhodes.edu. This deposit is applied to the balance of your billing statement less whatever financial aid and scholarship you may have. If making your deposit is a financial hardship, please contact your admission counselor, or email adminfo@rhodes.edu.

Open Rhodes – Once your make your enrollment deposit, more specific Open Rhodes information will be coming your way. Go to the Open Rhodes website to learn more.

Roommate Selection – You will receive details about how this works once you make your enrollment commitment. Roommate selection happens in early July and notification begins then. You can learn more at our FAQ page.

Athletics – We are working with our conference members to establish reasonable schedules, policies, and health guidelines. This is an ongoing planning process that has moving parts beyond our campus. We will do our very best to provide opportunities for students intended varsity and intramural athletics.

Other Important Resources

Attend a Phonecast with Rhodes President Marjorie Hass – April 21, 7:00 p.m. All admitted students and parents will be invited to participate. Details to follow.

Achieving Our Best – the Rhodes Strategic Plan – 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 Financial Position – Rhodes has balanced its budget for 46 consecutive years and was recently rated A2 by Moody’s Investors Service. Rhodes is rated A+ by Standard & Poor’s.

News About Rhodes – Articles about and written by Rhodes faculty, students and staff are found here.

Concluding Thoughts

We are doing our best to make the student experience excellent by the highest standards.  This is an evolving situation, of course, and we invite your feedback and questions. We are committed to answering your questions within 24 hours. Write to us at adminfo@rhodes.edu or contact your admission counselor.