Rice University to recognize graduates for excellence in research and creative works

This year, Rice University undergraduates have the opportunity to be recognized for research and artistic innovation with a new award, Distinction in Research and Creative Works.

The award will be a university honor granted annually at commencement and will appear on the recipient’s transcript and diploma.

Matt Taylor, associate vice provost and associate dean of undergraduates, said that the administration and faculty are interested in recognizing the exceptional work undergraduates are doing in research, design and other creative endeavors.

“At Rice there’s a strong belief that a significant firsthand experience doing research or being part of a design project is an essential element of a Rice undergraduate education,”
he said. “We believe a special kind of learning occurs when students engage in these projects – putting their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to work and building valuable skills for life after Rice.”

Taylor said Provost George McLendon and Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson initiated the faculty-led process that resulted in creation of the award for two reasons: to recognize the remarkable research students were already doing and to inspire undergraduates to think earlier and more seriously about becoming involved in this type of work.

“At Rice we can encourage excellent work by recognizing it with distinction at graduation,” Hutchinson said. “We have always honored those students who have excelled in the classroom with the Latin cum laude honors. Now we will also honor those students who have excelled in scholarship, research or creative work, and we can thus encourage more students to pursue these noteworthy achievements.”

To be eligible for the award, students must be in good academic standing, have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30 in courses completed at Rice and a letter of support from a faculty member or center director. The award will be granted to graduating seniors whose projects produce something and demonstrate commitment and/or achievement above and beyond the norm. A variety of research, design and other creative projects will be considered for the award. A persistent dedication to research also contributes to a student’s eligibility.

Interested students must submit an application to the academic department most closely associated with the subject of their project. Committees in each department will evaluate the applications and select awardees. Academic departments are also responsible for determining and publishing specific criteria for awards in their disciplines.

For more information, students can contact Taylor at ptt@rice.edu or reach out to their respective academic departments.

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.