Gerdes seeking to promote innovation, belonging to the Rhodes Living Learning Community – UofSC News and Events

As the new faculty dean of the Rhodes Fellows Living Learning Community, John Gerdes is expanding students’ horizons in information, design and computer science.



Innovative technology and design, academic advancement and its students are things John Gerdes is passionate about. As the new dean of the Rhodes Fellows living learning community faculty, Gerdes hopes to create a supportive atmosphere that encourages curiosity and supports the creativity of his students.

Gerdes brings years of information technology experience to his new position and wants to help meet the needs and interests of each of his students. Rhodes is a diverse community, which includes 52 majors from across the university. Together with the other Rhodes staff, it provides unique avenues for collaborating to expand their academic horizons in information, design and computing.

“I had a very positive experience as a college student and I look forward to repaying it by offering my students a similar experience,” says Gerdes, who is also an associate professor at the College of Engineering and Computing. “I had teachers who were worried and would interact with me, so I got to know them. That first experience impacted my entire career. I hope to do the same for my students. “

The program is “truly meant to be the one-stop shop for anyone looking to advance their skills, be they political scientists or biological scientists, artists or engineers.”

– Amelia Quint, Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Rhodes

The Rhodes Fellows living learning community allows students to take ownership of their ideas in a pre-professional, creative and collaborative environment. Students experience the community and membership benefits that come from a traditional campus life experience. In addition, the program facilitates faculty relationships, student services, and university research, and provides fellows with tools, experiences, and personalized guidance that lead to better grades and graduation rates.

The program is “truly meant to be the one-stop shop for anyone looking to advance their skills, be they political scientists or biological scientists, artists or engineers,” says Amelia Quint, assistant dean of the Rhodes Faculty.

Rhodes Fellows have exclusive 24/7 access to the on-site Rhodes Makerspace, a creative home that is “part of an engineering workshop, part of an art studio”. With its wide range of equipment and technologies, it is one of the few places of its kind in the country.

The makerspace is equipped with microcontrollers, 3D printers, laser cutters, sewing machines, video equipment, 360 ° lens image capture and other technologies to allow students to investigate, pursue and bring their ideas to life – something Gerdes is particularly excited to see it materialize.

“The opportunities are truly limitless,” he says. Past colleagues designed and built a full-size arcade unit with over 50 classic games, recorded podcasts, and created a new card game. Fellows also have access to exclusive university research scholarships and grants to fund their independent projects.

“We always want to see students shine and what we are able to produce in the makerspace, whether it is prototypes for new projects, whether it is the start of new research projects or artistic achievements, these are the kinds of things that they really set us apart, “says Quint.

Gerdes is thrilled to present opportunities for students to get involved with modern technology that expands their interests in areas that were not previously open to them. Teaching an introductory technology course, engaging expert speakers from different fields, and conducting a technology-focused curriculum are on her list of plans. Most importantly, Gerdes wants students to know they have the support to achieve their goals.

“He is very passionate about serving students and looks forward to getting to know them and building a strong relationship with our student body that will grow over time,” says Quint.

From hosting a tournament to sharing his love of chess to establishing an open door policy for discussion, Gerdes wants to support his students’ academic, professional and personal growth and learn with them along the way.


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Topics: Faculty, Experiential Learning, Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science

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