Quality Enhancement Plan
Appendix I: QEP Student Newspaper
The Rice Thresher, January 27, 2006
Students will benefit from Rice's QEP
To the editor:
The Quality Enhancement Plan appears that it will provide great
opportunities to students ("Rice to foster involvement in Houston
with new center," Jan. 20). There are currently many opportunities
for students to do research, but they are mostly restricted to the
campus. The community surrounding Rice could benefit immeasurably
from the efforts of its students.
Tying this community-based research into academic courses would
allow students to enhance their "real-world" skills while helping
out the community and progressing toward graduation. Opportunities
for academ majors are the most obvious: researching, English as a
second language classes, learning how non-profits run and so on.
But the type of research would not have to be limited. I envision
research projects on engineering problems around Houston; they
certainly do enough road construction.
I hope the QEP provides an avenue for students to benefit the
community while they develop skills in class and prepare for life
Sean McCuddenBaker sophomore
The Rice Thresher, January 20, 2006
Rice to foster involvement in Houston with new
By Ted Wieber | Thresher staff
Bringing Rice and Houston closer together will be the goal of a
new center for civic engagement, to be formed at the beginning of
the fall semester.
The center, which has not yet been named, will aim to facilitate
research partnerships between Rice students and faculty and
community organizations, and incorporate such research into the
curriculum. The center will also serve as an umbrella organization
for Leadership Rice and the Community Involvement Center.
The center was developed as part of Rice's re-accreditation
process, which happens every 10 years and is currently underway.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools requires Rice to
develop a plan to improve education in a measurable way. The
result, called the "Quality Enhancement Plan," describes plans for
Assistant to the Dean of Undergraduates Matthew Taylor (Ph.D.
'92), a member of the QEP steering committee, said the center will
make research opportunities more accessible to students. Instead of
having to search in different departments for a research position,
students will be able to come directly to the center to learn about
opportunities, Taylor said.
Community Involvement Center Director Mac Griswold, also a
committee member, said Rice's curriculum may also have
QEP-designated courses as soon as Fall 2006. Courses will earn the
designation if they contain a substantial community-based research
or design project, require significant interaction with a community
organization and yield a product that can be publicly
"The largest responsibility of the new center for civic
engagement will be to organize these curricular efforts in support
of community-based research," Griswold said.
Nine classes that meet many of the requirements for QEP
designation include ECON 461: Urban Economics, ARTV 327:
Documentary Production and LING 419: Bilingualism, according to the
QEP website, www.rice.edu/qep. The site also states that incentives
will be offered to faculty who develop QEP-designated courses.
While the plan for the civic engagement center is still being
developed, the center will likely be the hub for different
autonomous organizations, including Leadership Rice, Natalia
Ksiezyk, an assistant director for Leadership Rice, said.
"[Leadership Rice] will be affiliated with the civic engagement
center, and our missions will overlap," Ksiezyk said. "The center's
focus will be more research and academics, while ours will be
hands-on experience. I imagine we'll do a lot of collaborating with
Career Services and the Community Involvement Center."
Wiess College senior Jason Lee, the student representative to
the committee, said he thinks the plan will benefit the
"It's sometimes easy, living within these hedges, to forget that
there is a world out there that can really benefit from our energy
and talents," Lee said. "One of the primary goals of the QEP is to
match what we have to offer as Rice students with the opportunities
available to us."
Committee Chair and Adviser to the President Maryana Iskander
(Wiess '97) said the QEP follows recent initiatives - such as the
Passport to Houston program started by President David Leebron in
2004 - to strengthen Rice's community ties.
Leebron also commissioned an "Engaging Houston survey," to
identify the extent of Rice's involvement in Houston, Iskander
The results of the survey state that Rice community residents
logged more than 1.3 million hours of participation in
Rice-affiliated outreach programs during the 2004 academic year.
Results of the survey can be found at www.rice.edu/engage.
The civic engagement center will be staffed by a half-time
executive director that is also a faculty member, a full-time
managing director and an Americorps volunteer, Taylor said. The
hiring process for the positions will begin in the late summer or
early fall, he said.