College of the
Faculty Profiles


Ruth Rhodes, Professor of English, Del Norte Campus

What do you love most about teaching at CR?

Being an English Professor is like being a personal trainer: You help students build muscle where they need it most, not only so they can succeed in other classes, but also so they can empower themselves to read more carefully, think more clearly, and write more powerfully. These skills change people's lives. These skills also change the way people see themselves--and others. They open up whole worlds of possibility. There's nothing more rewarding for a teacher than to be part of a person's transformation.

Is there anything else you would like your students to know about you?

I don't just teach writing, I'm a writer, too. I write plays, essays, short stories, and novels. I understand the frustration of not being able to say something right--to have a great idea, lose it, and struggle to find it again. I feel your pain when you work and work on something, maybe late into the night, and you just can't get it right. And I know what it feels like to hand over a piece of writing to someone else for judgment.

But even though writing can be painful and difficult, it can also be a liberating and powerful outlet. Good writing has the power to change the world. When we write well, we reach out to other human beings in an intimate, intellectual act, revealing our deepest and clearest thoughts. And because good writing endures long beyond the life of the writer who penned it, when we write well, we reach towards eternity.

Ruth (Ruthe) Rhodes grew up in the small town of Edinboro, Pennsylvania, and comes from a long line of teachers. She received her BA in English in 1992 from Binghamton University, part of the State University of New York. She earned an MA in English from Case Western Reserve University in 1995. From 1995-1997, Ruthe served in the US Peace Corps in Kenya, teaching English, building libraries, and coordinating a variety of environmental education activities for teens. Her interest in the outdoors and environmental education led her to work as a Resource Educator in a variety of National Parks, including Denali, Mount Rainier, Olympic, and the National Park of American Samoa. Often in those jobs, Ruthe was asked to write: wayside exhibits, park newspapers, a Commercial Services Plan, and even a snorkel-safety brochure. Ruthe's passion for writing led her to teach part-time at South Puget Sound Community College, and then, starting in 2005, at College of the Redwoods as a full-time English professor. In 2009, she was awarded Professor of the Year at Del Norte, and in 2012, she received the Eugene Portugal Award for her work on the musical "This is Crescent City."