The Faculty History Project documents faculty members who have been associated with the University of Michigan since 1837. Key in this effort is to celebrate the intellectual life of the University. This Faculty History Website is intended as a component of the effort to document the extraordinary academic achievements of Michigan’s faculty in building and sustaining one of the world’s great universities. It provides access to a comprehensive database of information concerning the thousands of faculty members who have served the University of Michigan.
Find out more.

The Bentley Historical Library serves as the official archives for the University.


William C. Rhodes
Regents' Proceedings 230

William Conley Rhodes, Professor of Psychology and Education, and Program Director for Psychology at the Institute for the Study of Mental Retardation and Related Disabilities, retired from active faculty status December 1981. He was well recognized for able teaching, scholarship concerning mental health concepts and practices, and extensive publications.

A native of Louisiana, he began his academic career at Emory University, receiving an A.B. in 1948 and an M.A. in Experimental Psychology in 1949; his Ph.D. was from Ohio State in Clinical Psychology in 1953. His first position was Director, Division of Mental Hygiene in Georgia. In 1956 he became Director of the Peabody Child Study Center at Peabody College. During this period he became involved in the nationally recognized innovative program for rehabilitation of emotionally disturbed children, Project Re-Ed. His specific responsibility was evaluation of program efficacy. He also assumed responsibility for Peabody's Community Psychology Program. His next role was an Assistant Section Chief, Child Mental Health, in the National Institute of Mental Health, where he served from 1963-1967. He then moved to The University of Michigan where he held appointments in the School of Public Health, School of Education, and the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health Center as well as roles as Professor of Psychology and Program Director for Psychology at ISMRRD.

Dr. Rhodes is nationally recognized for leadership in community mental health interventions. His contributions range from specific demonstration projects to regional coordinated efforts based upon an ecological model. While his main focus has been on the mental health of children and youth, the range of his innovations covers infancy through old age. His teaching reflected a blend of direct program commitment and an objectivity born of intensive scholarship applied to issues underlying program efforts. Rhodes was a national leader in the movement of mental health activity from a medical model to a community-ecological model.

His dual concern for the philosophical and psychological nature of deviance eventually led him to write what is considered a landmark series. This is a five-volume work, A Study of Child Variance, published by the University of Michigan Press. A child variance series starts with two volumes: Conceptual Models and Intervention Models. An historical and conceptual analysis of service delivery follows in the next two publications. Finally in the culminating volume, Rhodes looks to the future and provides guidelines for national planning as well as specific procedures to apply his concepts in a wide variety of situations.

The Regents now salute this distinguished Mental Health educator by naming him Professor Emeritus of Psychology.