Rice unveils strategic plan for second decade of its second century

Following the endorsement of Rice University’s Board of Trustees, President David Leebron introduced on Feb. 6 a strategic plan to set priorities and guide decisions for Rice for the next 10 years.

Picture of Turrell skyspace with "V2C2 (Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade)" written in the lower right cornerBuilding on the success of the Vision for the Second Century launched 12 years ago, the Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade (V2C2) is intended to elevate the university’s mission of teaching, research and service to even higher levels. The final plan was the result of more than a year of discussions with and comments from trustees, faculty, students, staff, alumni and other friends of the university.

“Rice’s evolving aspirations and the challenges of a rapidly changing world helped shape the vision,” Leebron said.

The seven broad goals endorsed by the Rice Board of Trustees last month will guide the university’s priorities at least into the middle of the decade.

“Our vision and plan for the next decade are driven by our values of responsibility, integrity, community and excellence, our ambitions as a research university of the highest echelon, our special commitment to the quality of our undergraduate and graduate programs and our history as Houston’s first institution of higher education,” Leebron said.

The seven goals range from strengthening the quality of undergraduate and graduate education to extending Rice’s reach through digital education, alumni involvement and international relationships. They are:

1. Provide transformative undergraduate education. Through exceptional teaching, faculty mentoring and experiential opportunities, Rice intends to produce graduates who have the broad intellectual and international perspectives, critical thinking capabilities and creative problem-solving skills to be leaders and contributors to the world.

2. Build nationally and internationally renowned graduate programs. The goal is to make Rice a premier choice for the most promising graduate students and to empower success in their careers by providing outstanding faculty, the best educational programs, extraordinary research opportunities, effective mentoring and a vibrant graduate community.

3. Invest in faculty to achieve pre-eminence. Rice will foster faculty innovation and accomplishment in education, research and artistic endeavors and make additional investments in targeted areas to reach the highest level of achievement and recognition.

4. Expand access, diversity and inclusiveness. Rice will provide the programs and financial support that attract and enable the success of outstanding graduate and undergraduate students from all backgrounds and will build diversity in all aspects among faculty and staff.

5. Elevate research achievement and reputation. Rice will significantly elevate its research to advance human knowledge and creativity and make vital contributions to the betterment of the world.

6. Extend Rice’s reach and impact. The university will increase its impact and visibility nationally and globally through digital education, global presence and alumni engagement.

7. Engage Houston and empower its success. Rice will engage Houston as a focus and partner for research and education, leverage the university’s broad expertise on critical urban issues and be a driving force in enabling Houston’s success as a 21st-century metropolis.

Each of the goals includes objectives that identify more specific ideas for projects and programs that will be considered and implemented in the months and years ahead.

“Taken together, these goals and actions set forth an ambitious vision for Rice University,” Leebron said. He noted that it will take an ambitious and successful fundraising effort to realize the vision and more.

“We will also need to find ways to increase other revenues,” he said. “We will need reallocation of effort and resources and we will need to implement strategic organizational changes that better align with some of our goals and priorities. We will need to embark on new collaborations and partnerships, within Rice and with partners in our city and around the world. And we will need determination, optimism and creativity.”

Acknowledging the dramatic changes taking place in higher education and around the globe, Leebron said Rice needs be in a strong position to compete for the best students, faculty, staff and resources. In addition, Rice will need to anticipate those changes and adapt its plans for the future while also preserving “distinctive aspects of Rice that will continue to serve us well.”

“While these goals will guide us, they will also evolve along with our university as we seek to educate, improve and sustain our world,” he said.

“If we are to be truly successful in the long run, we must not only undertake bold steps to implement the V2C2, but also foster creative and visionary conversations that might help us anticipate the university of the mid-21st century as we then approach our 150th anniversary,” Leebron said. “To that end, Rice will consciously support such conversations as part of our implementing the V2C2. And we will regularly review our goals and assess our progress.”

Both the summary V2C2 plan and a supporting document elaborating some of the specific elements can be read at V2C2.rice.edu.


About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.