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Emerita Professor and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences 

Terry Rhodes
(Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dr. Terry Ellen Rhodes, Professor Emerita, served as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences from February 2019 through June 2022, as senior associate dean of fine arts and humanities from 2012-2019, and as chair of the music department from 2009-2012. Rhodes long championed the value of the arts and humanities to a well-rounded education throughout her 35 years at Carolina.

As dean, Rhodes oversaw the largest academic unit at Carolina with nearly 17,000 undergraduate students and 2,500 graduate students, and more than 70 academic departments, curricula, programs, centers and institutes. She oversaw the final work on launching the new undergraduate curriculum IDEAS in Action (fall of 2022).

Initiatives that she introduced as dean include:

  • Reckoning: Race, Memory and Reimagining the Public University, a shared learning experience that supports student inquiry and dialogue on issues of heritage, race, post-conflict legacies, politics of remembrance and contemporary projects of reconciliation.
  • Countering Hate: Overcoming Fear of Differences, a collection of programming and courses that will enable the university community to explore the phenomena of antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of intolerance and prejudice.
  • Southern Futures, an initiative designed to make Carolina the place to which the nation and world turn to understand and imagine the South’s future. It will involve collaborations across campus, create an international nexus for conversation and spark creativity and innovation in Southern communities.

Rhodes also oversaw the launch of the College’s new Program for Public Discourse. Its purpose will be to help build our capacity for civil debate, dialogue, discussion and conversation — in a uniquely Carolina way. She was principal investigator on the Humanities for the Public Good initiative from the Mellon Foundation, which seeks to bridge the silos between academic research, teaching and the communities they serve. She also was co-P.I. on the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative, which created partnerships and collaborations around digital teaching, research and outreach in the arts and humanities.

Rhodes led the steering committee for Carolina’s Human Heart: Living the Arts and Humanities, a yearlong celebration in the 2016-17 academic year that showcased the important role that the arts, humanities and qualitative social sciences play in helping us address the major issues of our time.

Throughout her time as a leader in the College of Arts & Sciences, Rhodes sought to strengthen scholarship and increase diversity and inclusion. She created the position of associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion and launched the effort of putting together a College DEI strategic plan. She received the University Diversity Award in 2011.

Rhodes graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Carolina in 1978 and is a proud Carolina parent. Joining the faculty in 1987, she served the University in a variety of roles, including as a member of the voice faculty, UNC Opera Director, Chair of the Music Department and Faculty Marshal.

Rhodes is a soprano who performed across the United States and in more than 20 countries throughout Europe, Central and South America. A native of Raleigh, Rhodes earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Carolina and her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York. As a Fulbright Artist-in-Residence/Lecturer at the Conservatory of Music in Skopje, Macedonia, she taught voice and performed throughout the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Rhodes also has performed in many European summer music programs, including in Spoleto and Tuscania, Italy and in Varna, Bulgaria.