Director of the Center for Community College Leadership and Professor of Educational
Leadership and Policy Analysis, ETSU
Richard Rhoda is the Director of the Center for Community College Leadership and Professor
of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at East Tennessee State University.
Dr. Rhoda began his career with the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) as a member of
the research staff in 1973. He has served as interim president at Austin Peay State
University and Nashville State Community College, vice chancellor and acting chancellor
of TBR, held several roles with Tennessee State University, and served on the faculty
at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Rhoda received his bachelor’s degree in history from
Vanderbilt University, his master’s degree in education from George Peabody College
for Teachers at Vanderbilt, and his Ph.D. in higher education administration from
Vanderbilt. Rhoda served on the boards of the University of Tennessee, TBR, State
Board of Education, TSAC, Board of Trustees of the Baccalaureate Education System
Trust and Tennessee Foreign Language Institute. His civic activities include serving
as chairman of the board for the Center for Nonprofit Management, chairman of the
board of the Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee, as a member of the Downtown Nashville
Rotary Club and Leadership Nashville Alumni Association. Rhoda and his wife, Nancy,
live in Nashville and have two grown children, Meredith and Nicholas. Dr. Rhoda is
one of the longest serving state higher education executives in the country.
Dr. Bethany Flora
Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis in the Clemmer College
Bethany Flora is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
in the Clemmer College of Education at East Tennessee State University where she also
serves as the Associate Director for the Center for Community College Leadership.
Prior to her faculty appointment, she served as Assistant Provost at Virginia Tech,
overseeing searches and periodic reviews for deans and academic vice presidents, crisis
recovery and response efforts, faculty development and advancement, and other academic
initiatives. Prior to 2007, Flora worked as the Director of Graduate Recruitment and
Retention at Radford University and served as Radford University’s Site Director at
the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center. She began her higher education career
working for Northeast State Community College’s Workforce Investment Act Grant in
Sullivan East High School. Before entering higher education administration, Flora
worked in a Fortune 500 manufacturing company for four years as a production control
specialist responsible for inventory control and production scheduling on all manufacturing
lines. Flora holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Virginia
Tech, M.A. in Organizational Management from Tusculum College, and B.A. in Business
Administration from The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.
Dr. Emily House
Chief Research Officer for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC)
Emily House is the Chief Research Officer for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission
(THEC). In this capacity, Emily develops and executes THEC’s research agenda, investigating
issues in higher education related to access, affordability, retention, and completion.
Her team publishes the set of annual legislative reports for which THEC is responsible,
and responds to requests from legislators and policymakers for data and information.
Emily facilitates THEC’s involvement with the Tennessee Longitudinal Data System,
and works very closely with Governor Haslam’s staff to design, implement, and evaluate
the effects of various Drive to 55 initiatives, including the Tennessee Promise and
Tennessee Reconnect programs. Emily holds degrees in public policy from Cornell University,
Vanderbilt University, and the University of Michigan, and has a PhD in education
from the University of Michigan.