top dog

Brainy Rice University institute named No. 1 think tank in the world

Rice's Baker Institute has done it again. Courtesy of Rice University

Furthering its reputation as a world-class educational and intellectual hallmark, Rice University has ascended to the top of yet another ranking.
The school's Baker Institute for Public Policy has been named the No. 1 think tank in the world, according to the 2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report published January 28. This is a leap from No. 2 overall last year.

Additionally, its Center for Energy Studies (CES) was again named the top energy and resource policy think tank and was recognized as a Center of Excellence for being ranked No. 1 for three consecutive years, per a press release.

Rice's Baker Institute is also ranked No. 15 out of 110 of the top think tanks in the U.S. overall. It is also listed among the best think tanks globally in the category "Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedures."

Also on the prestigious list are the London School of Economics and Political Science (No. 2) and Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, U.K. (No. 3).

Meanwhile, CES is followed in the regular rankings by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, U.K., and the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan.

Founded in 1993, the Baker Institute houses fellows and scholars who conduct research on domestic and foreign policy issues. Core fields of study include energy, the Middle East, Mexico, health policy, public finance, private entrepreneurship and economic growth, international economics, presidential elections, science and technology, China, space policy, and drug policy, according to the school.

CES was founded in October 2012 and provides policymakers, corporate leaders, and the public with quality, data-driven analysis of issues that influence energy markets, per Rice. The Baker Institute Energy Forum is considered an integral part of CES by the university.

"The rise of the Baker Institute and our Center for Energy Studies to the very top rankings in this year's Global Go To Think Tank Index is the culmination of what we created over a quarter of a century ago and of our adherence to excellence in data-driven, nonpartisan research and policy recommendations on public policy issues that reach decision-makers in the private and public sectors," said Baker Institute director Edward Djerejian, in a statement. "I commend all our fellows, scholars and staff, as well as our Board of Advisors and Roundtable members, for this outstanding achievement."

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

What's an employee group and why do you need to know about it during Hispanic Heritage Month? This Houston expert explains. Photo via Getty Images

Making a name for yourself in corporate America is no easy task. It is especially hard if you are the first generation in your family to attend college in this country and the first to take a stab at climbing the corporate ladder. The secret behind those who successfully make it to the top is access to a strong support group.

Finding the right support system, one that provides professional and personal mentorship and one that you identify with culturally, can help you navigate the business world and help you achieve your career goals.

Many Hispanic/Latino professionals have found that support system in employee groups, or EGs.

What are EGs and how can they help Hispanic professionals succeed?

EGs are employee-led groups that foster inclusivity and build community. The purpose of the group is to provide personal and professional support to its members, who usually share certain characteristics in common – like being Hispanic, or those who simply have interest in learning about a culture that is not unique to them.

AT&T has 14 EGs, including HACEMOS, which was established in 1988 and is dedicated to supporting Hispanic employees and the communities they live in. There are 36 HACEMOS chapters across the country supporting more than 8,500 members. The Houston chapter currently supports 278 members – all in different phases of their career.

HACEMOS members believe that “Juntos HACEMOS más,” which means “Together we do more.” Under that guiding belief, members work together to support each other in advancing their careers. Through HACEMOS, AT&T employees can participate in various professional development learning opportunities and have access to one- on-one mentorship sessions with members from the leadership team.

For many members, the group offers a safe environment to engage and learn from other professionals who understand their personal and professional hurdles from a cultural point of view.

At a personal level, the support I receive from HACEMOS has helped me to better understand and be proud of my heritage. HACEMOS has embraced my “Latina” identity, encouraging me to continue using my Spanish skills to serve our Latino customers within AT&T.

EGs provide members with a sense of community and belonging. 

Most EGs have a community aspect to them that allow members to work together to address needs in their communities. HACEMOS members in Houston take pride in organizing, volunteering, and participating in various initiatives that provide support to the most vulnerable members of their community.

This year, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Houston HACEMOS Chapter will be hosting events throughout the city, helping support our youth and instill the importance of continuing their education and striving for success. Our national group is actively volunteering on efforts to help close the digital divide (the gap between people who have reliable internet access and those who do not) which is more likely to impact people of color, especially Hispanic families.

EGs create a win-win for employees and employers. 

EGs are beneficial to employees and employers. It’s true, EG members are engaged and develop strong relationships with their colleagues from other departments resulting in a collaborative environment.

Also, the company benefits from the knowledge and skills EG members gain through the various workshops and learning resources. In addition, EG members serve as brand ambassadors in the community for the company while they participate in community volunteer events.

So, if the company you work for currently does not have an EG you identify with, it’s easy to build your case to launch one. And if your company has an EG you identify with, then I encourage you to join it today – I can ensure you, it will be a rewarding experience that can help you advance your career.

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Erika Portillo is the Houston HACEMOS president for AT&T.

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