LIMA — Rhodes State College will see an increased emphasis on diversity issues when it begins classes on Aug. 26.
“We have very strong values … very strong statements about wanting to be inclusive and achieve a level of diversity that makes everyone feel comfortable about coming out here. But statements, you know, are not the same as actions,” Dr. Cynthia Spiers, president of Rhodes State College, said Tuesday.
“What we’re trying to do is to identify actions that we can take within the community. We are looking at how to enhance our roles relative to diversity, inclusion, equity. This has been a national issue that has risen to the surface quickly.”
On Wednesday morning, Dr. Darnell Williams, senior pastor of New Life Church International, will speak on the topic of “Social Justice-Conversation and Beyond.”
“We will begin to start conversations to look at what we can do to help the community and how we can do that together,” Spiers said.
Rhodes has made many changes as it prepares for next week’s beginning of classes.
“I feel safe that we’re all walking through this together and are ready for fall classes, which start Aug. 26,” Spiers said.
Students will be taking classes through a hybrid method, some online and some in-person.
“We are only bringing back students in critical labs, and a few of the lecture courses that have a lab attached because we’re trying to stay at a low-density campus,” Spiers said.
While regular students start next week, those in the College Credit Plus program won’t start until later in September.
Enrollment numbers remain unclear until they know how many of those CCP students will participate.
“Right now, we are in a standstill to know exactly where we will end up,” Spiers said.
Spiers also credited the Year One At Home program for helping students.
“We actually have 26 students who enrolled, who were going to go to the universities but because of everything that’s going on (with COVID-19), they’ve decided to stay at home. We’re really excited to get those students and but then we will transfer them back to their university because that’s their primary goal to get a four-year degree,” Spiers said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.