Terrel Rhodes

AAC&U Distinguished Fellow, Office of Curricular and Pedagogical Innovation

Terrel L. (Terry) Rhodes received his BA from Indiana University at Bloomington and his MA and PhD in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before moving into national higher education work, he was a faculty member for twenty-five years. Until his retirement in spring 2021, Rhodes was vice president for the Office of Quality, Curriculum and Assessment at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), where he focused on the quality of undergraduate education, access, general education, and assessment of student learning. He was also the inaugural executive director of the Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) project and the VALUE Institute as well as the director of the annual AAC&U Institute on General Education and Assessment.

Rhodes’ appointment as a Distinguished Fellow recognizes his many years of experience leading undergraduate curriculum development efforts, teaching public policy at the graduate and undergraduate levels, developing learning outcomes assessment plans, and forging inter-institutional and international collaborations with universities, community colleges, and high schools. In addition to his prior position as vice provost for curriculum and dean of undergraduate programs at Portland State University (PSU), Rhodes was professor of public administration. Prior to assuming his positions at PSU, Rhodes served in several roles at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, including associate vice chancellor for academic programs and special assistant to the provost for assessment. His teaching career began at St. John’s University in Minnesota.

At AAC&U, he initiated a project on faculty-driven assessment of student learning supported by the Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and the State Farm Companies Foundation entitled VALUE. VALUE shifted the judgment of quality for learning to faculty-developed rubrics through the direct assessment of the wide range of essential learning outcomes that are expected from authentic student work to demonstrate quality. Continuing the work of AAC&U’s Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College project, his office promoted the importance of clearly articulating the qualities of a well-educated person, creating coherent educational programs that cultivate those qualities, and assessing to determine whether they have been achieved and integrated through general education, the majors, and cocurricular and extracurricular work.

Rhodes also received grant support from the National Science Foundation under the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program and the HBCU-UP program; the US Department of Education for the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program; and FIPSE and several private foundations for projects related to the use of ePortfolios for transfer among and between two- and four-year colleges, faculty development, as well as collaboration on a Lumina-funded project on barriers to transfer students. 

Rhodes has published extensively on both undergraduate education reform issues and in his academic field of public policy and administration. His many books and articles cover such issues as integrative learning, ePortfolios, high school–college connections, and public policies affecting urban American Indian communities. He was member of the Ethics Section of the American Society for Public Administration.

Rhodes continues to serve as an educational consultant and outside evaluator with a special interest in curriculum development, assessment of student learning outcomes, and equity.