President, Chatham University

Rhonda's research and outreach efforts focus on community quality of life and well-being. A specialist in community development and planning, her career achievements were recognized with induction into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP). At Purdue University, she serves as the inaugural Dean of the Honors College, and a Professor in the Agricultural Economics Department. Honors include serving three times as a Fulbright Scholar - as the 2006 UK Ulster Policy Fellow Fulbright Scholar in Northern Ireland, a 2012 Fulbright Senior Specialist to Panama, and most recently a 2015-2016 specialist again to Panama – all three times working closely with stakeholders in local communities on development projects.

Rhonda is author or editor of numerous books focusing on making the places we live better for all, including The Handbook of Community Well-Being (2017, Springer); The Handbook of Community Development, Perspectives from Across the Globe (2018, Routledge); Sustainable Communities, Creating a Durable Local Economy; Community Development Indicators Measuring Systems; and the text, Introduction to Community Development. One of her most recent book is The Happiness Policy Handbook with Laura Musikanski and Jean Crowder. She is editor of the series Community Quality of Life and Well-Being published by Springer in partnership with the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies,, and editor of Community Development Research and Practice, a book series by the Community Development Society and Routledge, She and Seung Lee are founding editors of the International Journal of Community Well-Being, Her work in community indicators and well-being has spanned several decades, she served on the Board of Directors for the Community Indicator Consortium, and as a researcher with the Community Well-Being Institute, housed in South Korea,

She formerly served as Senior Sustainability Scientist with Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability, as well as director and professor in the School of Community Resources and Development; and founding Director of the University of Florida's Center for Building Better Communities. She holds degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Southern Mississippi.

As a planning and economic development specialist, community quality of life and well-being comprise the focus of Rhonda's research and outreach activities. She is author or editor of 25 academic books, including Introduction to Community Development and Local Food and Community Development. Rhonda is former editor of the journal, Community Development, and is founding editor of the book series, Community Development Research and Practice and Current Issues in Community Development, both in conjunction with the Community Development Society and Routledge. She is founding editor of the International Journal of Community Well-Being, published by Springer. 

Selected Publications

  1. Brennan and R. Phillips (eds.) (2019). Culture, Community and Development, London: Routledge. 

Kee, Y., Lee, S.J. and Phillips, R. (eds.) (2019). Perspectives on Community Well-Being. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. 

  1. Phillips and P. Kraeger. (eds.) (2018). Community Planning and Development, four-volume reference set in Critical Concepts in the Built Environment series, London: Routledge,

Phillips, R., Plunkett, D., and Ucar Kocaolgu. B. (2018). Place Attachment in Community Renewal and Development, Journal of Community Practice, 26(4): 471-482

  1. Phillips and C. Wong, (eds.) (2017). Handbook of Community Well-Being Research, in the series, Handbooks of Quality-of-Life Research, Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, Top 25% downloads for Springer,
  2. Holden, R. Phillips, and C. Stevens. (eds.) (2017). Community Quality- of-Life Indicators: Best Cases VII, in the series, Community Quality-of-Life and Well-Being, Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer,
  3. Kenney, B. McGrath, and R. Phillips. (eds.) (2017). The Routledge Handbook of Community Development, London: Routledge,

Christensen, B. and Phillips, R. (2016). Local Food Systems and Community Economic Development through the Lens of Theory, Community Development, 47(5): 635-651

Phillips, R. and Stein, J. (2016) Heritage and Community Regeneration in Northern Ireland: Finding Points of Coalescence in the Development Planning Process, Journal of Community Practice, 24(1): 4-17,

Phillips, R. & Pittman, (Eds) (2015). Introduction to Community Development, 2nd Edition. London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

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