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Friday, March 24, 2023 — Houston, TX

Faculty to expand by 200 in coming years


By Maria Morkas     11/2/22 12:18am

Rice University will hire 200 new faculty members in the next several years, according to President Reginald DesRoches. He said he intends to grow faculty size to maintain Rice’s 6:1 student-faculty ratio, in light of a growing undergraduate student population.

“We will hire the best academics, and have the courage to settle for nothing less than excellence as we hire more than 200 faculty across the breadth of the university in the next five years,” DesRoches said in his presidential investiture speech. 

Provost Amy Dittmar said Rice recently grew the first-year class, and as those larger classes progress through their undergraduate experience, the total population will continue to grow.

“The faculty hiring will align with this growth as well as growth in graduate programs,” Dittmar wrote in an email to the Thresher.  “This also provides opportunities for Rice to hire faculty that are working in common areas, which will enhance our research environment and allow Rice faculty to remain at the cutting edge of some of society’s most pressing issues.”

DesRoches said that all of the academic departments will be involved in the hiring process, but the exact numbers vary depending on recent retirements, growth plans and special initiatives. 

“We have had a tremendous amount of success recruiting high-caliber faculty to Rice,” DesRoches said in an email to the Thresher. “Our goal is to attract the very best talent to Rice – faculty who are committed to their scholarship and creative works, with an equal commitment to teaching.”

Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Alexander Byrd said that decision-making on faculty hiring will be driven by excellence in research, creative work, teaching and mentorship.

“So growing the faculty increases the overall capacity of the university as a whole: more of what’s best about the university will be one result,” Byrd said. “This kind of growth can increase the diversity of thought, experience and imagination characterizing the faculty, as well as broadening its racial, ethnic and gender diversity.” 

Dittmar said the search for new faculty members is ongoing across all of the schools and colleges and will continue to happen over the next few years.

“As we search, we are looking for individuals that have a deep commitment to students and teaching and will both enhance our academic environment in research, scholarship and creative works, as well as add to the diversity of the faculty,” Dittmar said.

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Fred Higgs said that each school should experience new talents in the faculty ranks.

“While the culture and community may naturally evolve, there are some unique things about Rice which have made it a perennial producer of students who graduate and become tomorrow’s leaders,” Higgs wrote in an email to the Thresher. “Rice will seek to preserve these distinct attributes, even as we expand the faculty who will be involved in teaching, research, scholarship and creative endeavors.

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