Converging Knowledge and Science to Impact Humanity
Nearly 100 years after Rice’s founding president Edgar Odell Lovett proclaimed our aspiration to understand the actions of mankind, societies and individuals are facing an array of complex challenges affecting the economy, energy decisions, health care costs and access, international terrorism, mental health, leadership and urban transformation. The School of Social Sciences is seeking solutions to these challenges while fulfilling its core educational mission.
Backed by the academic departments of economics, political science, psychology, sociology and anthropology, the school has made impressive headway towards its $63 million plan for Rice’s second century. The new Kinder Institute for Urban Research, which is supported by a transformational $15 million gift from Rich and Nancy Kinder, promises to become the nation’s leader in the study of all major urban areas, including Houston and cities around the world. Meanwhile, our GATEWAY program is filling a critical need in social sciences education by connecting our undergraduates’ coursework to their career aspirations through research, internships and international travel grants.
As these gains propel us forward, we set our sights on the final transformational phase of our strategy for Rice’s second century. Our call to action: build a new facility to accommodate our rapidly growing student population, attract the best faculty, strengthen our research and policy collaborations, and expand opportunities for our undergraduate and graduate students to impact the world.
A New Home for the School of Social Sciences — $25 million
A new facility will fundamentally strengthen our research collaborations, bringing together faculty members who are currently scattered across four buildings, as well as accommodate our rapidly growing student population and attract new faculty. The facility — located in close proximity to the Jones Graduate School of Business and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy — will provide for unprecedented collaboration among social scientists doing empirical research on a topic, policy analysts at the Baker Institute studying government policy on that topic, and Jones School faculty addressing implications for corporate success.
Recruiting Star Faculty — $15 million
To put us on par with the nation’s top social science programs, we must recruit exceptional faculty who will raise our research profile, give us a greater voice in national policy deliberations and help launch new academic initiatives, including an undergraduate major in energy policy studies, a master’s program in global affairs and a new Ph.D. program in sociology.
The Social Sciences Research Institute — $15 million
The Social Sciences Research Institute supports translational research in social sciences by awarding competitive research grants to faculty and students at Rice University. It offers two programs: the Scholarly Innovation Program, which invites scholars to engage in research on a wide range of topics with no restrictions on their intellectual endeavor, and the Contemporary Concerns Forum, which invites scholars to tackle real-world issues and conduct innovative research with an eye toward creating solutions to policy and societal problems.
Attracting Top Graduate Students — $3 million
Our nationally ranked programs in public economics, microeconomics, international relations and organizational psychology attract many students to our Ph.D. programs. With the help of philanthropy, we will ensure that we recruit the very best students to Rice and make our doctoral education programs competitive with the top social sciences programs in the country.
A GATEWAY to Enhance Undergraduate Education — $5 million
The GATEWAY program creates unique learning experiences that connect our undergraduates’ coursework to their career aspirations. The program offers students financial awards with the goal of giving every social science major an opportunity to conduct an independent research project, internship or international project, all of which are designed to prepare students for the transition from their undergraduate university life into a profession or graduate studies.