No upper limit to Rice LIFT proposals

Faculty prepares to pitch scores of great ideas at May 2 symposium

The Rice LIFT symposium could be the greatest campus brainstorm yet.

The May 2 symposium — the full title is “Leading Innovation Through Faculty Thought” — will highlight the ideas of Rice University faculty members who responded in overwhelming fashion to the administration’s request for “big endeavors” the institution should undertake in its second century.

A total of 61 proposals by faculty teams will be presented to the campus community starting at 12:30 p.m. in Duncan Hall’s McMurtry Auditorium, with an introduction by Board of Trustees Chairman Bobby Tudor ’82.

“It’s not just the volume that’s been wonderful to see,” said Rice Provost Marie Lynn Miranda. “It’s the creativity and the way faculty have come together in the collaborative and collegial spirit that has characterized the whole exercise.”

The proposals will be presented in three-minute talks by one representative from each team, with time between groups of pitches for discussion. Teams were required to have at least three faculty members, though most of the proposals include many more and from multiple disciplines.

Faculty members were asked to submit their proposals to a protected site only they could visit. But they could all see each other’s proposals and comment, which many did. Miranda said she was delighted that faculty have put so much energy into the effort.

“I’m hearing from lots of people that they appreciate the opportunity to put their best ideas forward for consideration in the strategic-planning process,” she said, noting that multiple members of the board of trustees will join the president, provost’s office, vice presidents and deans in the audience.

While many proposals address areas of specific interest to schools and departments, some suggest that Rice expand its reach into the community. “These proposals were always meant to touch on research, education and outreach, so it’s not surprising to me that some have us reaching beyond the Rice campus to connect with a variety of institutions, organizations and the community,” Miranda said.

She suggested people come early and settle in for what she anticipates will be a fast-paced flow of ideas: “Great ideas presented by our talented faculty – it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The presentations are scheduled to end by 5 p.m. and will be followed by a reception from 5 to 6 in Martel Hall, just outside of McMurtry.


About Mike Williams

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