Dr. Rhodes, first, welcome to ACC.

Dr. Rhodes: Thank you.

What’s your first impression?

Dr. Rhodes: My first impression, you know, as I walk from campus to campus, I go to campuses and visit and I get the opportunity to visit with a lot of faculty and staff and students and community members, is that there’s such a passion that exists at ACC and such an interest in making sure that students can complete what they start – that they can make it to achieve their dreams.

You have said several times that that’s what we’re all about, our student success.  What would you say are the keys to that success?

Dr. Rhodes: Well, I have to think back about my own career to try to identify what were the success points.  I’d say first and foremost, it’s all about relationships, and it has to do with creating an environment to where students feel like they belong, and that happens with all employees at all levels. And that is building a mentor relationship or a relationship to where you know people.  Students say when they leave here, “They knew my name. They knew me.”  And great teaching. If you ask students what makes a difference in their success, it is that classroom experience and that relationship that they have with a faculty member.  I think back about my own experience and I started out at a community college, went to a community college my very first year.  Probably the most critical year in my higher education experience was that one year at a community college because I was transformed by one teacher; one teacher made a difference. He took an interest in me, created that mentor-like relationship. Prior to that year, if you asked me if I liked history I would have told you, “Not exactly, it’s not my favorite subject,” but this professor happened to be a history professor and he made learning come alive. He made history come alive for me.

Of course, students have to play a role, too.  What would be your advice to students when it comes to their success?

Dr. Rhodes: Advice to students is, number one, be persistent.  Finish what you start.  Attend classes, every class is important.  Probably the most important class of the semester is the first day.  Read the syllabus, make sure you understand what the expectations are, and if you have any problem any time during the semester, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  If you need tutoring or any type of assistance, there are tutoring labs. There are plenty of resources to help students succeed, but they have to take advantage.  They have to take that step.

Well, thank you very much for your time and again welcome to ACC.

Dr. Rhodes: Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here and I love ACC.  I am ACC.