rice rises again

Rice University rises with plan to significantly grow student body

Rice will see a big increase in students in the coming years. Rice.edu

Houston's list-topping Ivy League of the South hub is set to see significant growth. Rice University's board of trustees has approved a plan to enlarge its undergraduate student body by 20 percent, the school announced. That means some additional 4,800 students by the fall of 2025.

To accommodate this expansion, Rice will open its 12th residential college and expand the number of students living on campus by approximately one-third — to 3,525.

Rice calculates that its number of graduate students (3,500) is expected to grow, which will bring the total number of undergrad and grad students to about 9,000 by fall 2025. The undergraduate student-faculty ratio would remain roughly the same: about six faculty members for every undergraduate student, the school adds in a press release.

With the newly announced expansion in enrollment, Rice's student body will have grown by around 80 percent over 20 years, per a press release.

This expansion isn't unprecedented: The school notes a roughly 35-percent increase in undergraduate enrollment between fall 2005 and 2013, as well as enlargement in graduate programs.

Not surprisingly, demand for a Rice education is high, as the school reports that the number of students applying to has grown around 75 percent over the last four years. The growth was aided by the Rice Investment, a financial aid program launched in 2018 that significantly expanded support for domestic students from families with incomes up to $200,000.

For example, in 2004, Rice received about 11 applications for every entering student; by 2020, the ratio had grown to roughly 28 applicants for every student opening. Almost 30,000 students applied for fall 2021, marking an increase of 26 percent from the previous year.

Students can expect new construction on the campus, including a new engineering building, a new building for the visual and dramatic arts, an additional residential college, and an expanded student center. The familiar and beloved Rice Memorial Center (the ol' RMC to generations of students) will be replaced; construction will begin in the first quarter of next year.

The school's new three-story, 80,000-square-foot student center will incorporate all of the RMC's current functions, a multicultural center, and gathering and event spaces. The facility will be designed by the international architecture firm Adjaye Associates, which spearheaded the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Business-minded new students will also be able to take advantage of the university's first undergraduate major in business, which will be offered beginning this fall. Current freshmen and incoming undergraduates are also eligible. Faculty and curriculum will come from the Rice's top-ranked Jones Graduate School of Business.

New students can also take advantage of Rice's newest initiatives, including, per the school:

The Welch Institute at Rice University
Thanks to a massive, $100 million commitment from the Robert E. Welch Foundation (the largest single gift in school history), the institute will accelerate the discovery, design, and manufacture of the next generation of basic materials.

Carbon Hub
The hub, announced in 2019. will direct $100 million of basic science and engineering on an array of technologies, several of which have already been proven in the lab, to create an energy future with zero carbon emissions.

The Rice University National Security Research Accelerator laboratories
A partnership with the Army Futures Command and the Army Research Laboratory represents a new model for collaborative research on critical technologies to enhance national security, a release notes.

"Rice's extraordinary applicant pool has grown dramatically despite the challenges posed by the pandemic," David Leebron, Rice president, noted in a statement. "With the previous expansion we greatly increased our national and international student applications, enrollment and visibility. We also dramatically increased diversity on our campus, and we were able to extend the benefits of a Rice education to many more students. As before, we must undertake this expansion carefully in order to assure that we retain the best aspects of Rice culture, student experience and sense of community."

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Here's what Houston research news dominated this year on InnovationMap. Photo via Getty Images

Editor's note: As 2022 comes to a close, InnovationMap is looking back at the year's top stories in Houston innovation. In many cases, innovative startups originate from meticulous research deep within institutions. This past year, InnovationMap featured stories on these research institutions — from their breakthrough innovations to funding fueling it all. Here are five Houston research-focused articles that stood out to readers this year — be sure to click through to read the full story.


Texas nonprofit cancer research funder doles out millions to health professionals moving to Houston

These cancer research professionals just got fresh funding from a statewide organization. Photo by Dwight C. Andrews/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Thanks in part to multimillion-dollar grants from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, two top-flight cancer researchers are taking key positions at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Pavan Reddy and Dr. Michael Taylor each recently received a grant of $6 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

Reddy is leaving his position as chief of hematology-oncology and deputy director at the University of Michigan’s Rogel Cancer Center to become director of the Baylor College of Medicine’s Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. C. Kent Osborne stepped down as the center’s director in 2020; Dr. Helen Heslop has been the interim director. Continue reading.

Rice University deploys grant funding to 9 innovative Houston research projects

Nine research projects at Rice University have been granted $25,000 to advance their innovative solutions. Photo courtesy of Rice

Over a dozen Houston researchers wrapped up 2021 with the news of fresh funding thanks to an initiative and investment fund from Rice University.

The Technology Development Fund is a part of the university’s Creative Ventures initiative, which has awarded more than $4 million in grants since its inception in 2016. Rice's Office of Technology Transfer orchestrated the $25,000 grants across nine projects. Submissions were accepted through October and the winners were announced a few weeks ago. Continue reading.

Houston researchers create unprecedented solar energy technology that improves on efficiency

Two researchers out of the University of Houston have ideated a way to efficiently harvest carbon-free energy 24 hours a day. Photo via Getty Images

Two Houstonians have developed a new system of harvesting solar energy more efficiently.

Bo Zhao, the Kalsi Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Houston, along with his doctoral student Sina Jafari Ghalekohneh, have created a technology that theoretically allows solar energy to be harvested to the thermodynamic limit, which is the absolute maximum rate sunlight can be converted into electricity, as reported in a September article for Physical Review Applied.

Traditional solar thermophotovoltaics (STPVs), or the engines used to extract electrical power from thermal radiation, run at an efficiency limit of 85.4 percent, according to a statement from UH. Zhao and Ghalekohneh's system was able to reach a rate of 93.3 percent, also known as the Landsberg Limit. Continue reading.

Texas A&M receives $10M to create cybersecurity research program

Texas A&M University has announced a new cybersecurity-focused initiative. Photo via tamu.edu

Texas A&M University has launched an institute for research and education regarding cybersecurity.

The Texas A&M Global Cyber Research Institute is a collaboration between the university and a Texas A&M University System engineering research agency, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station. The research agency and Texas A&M are also home to the Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center.

The institute is funded by $10 million in gifts from former Texas A&M student Ray Rothrock, a venture capitalist and cybersecurity expert, and other donors. Continue reading.

Houston research organization doles out $28M in grants to innovators across Texas

Houston-based Welch Foundation has awarded almost $28 million in chemical research grants throughout Texas this year. Photo via Getty Images

Chemical researchers at seven institutions in the Houston area are receiving nearly $12.9 million grants from the Houston-based Welch Foundation.

In the Houston area, 43 grants are going to seven institutions:

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Rice University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas A&M University Health Science Center
  • University of Houston
  • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston

The Welch Foundation is awarding almost $28 million in chemical research grants throughout Texas this year. The money will be allocated over a three-year period. Continue reading.

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