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Quality Enhancement Plan

The Civic Inquiry Program

The Civic Inquiry Program forms the core of the QEP. It offers course-based opportunities for rigorous research and design experiences. We believe the QEP will further stimulate the already high demand among undergraduates for research and design experience-by introducing students to Houston through the Civic Experience Program -and by offering course-based opportunities for rigorous research and design experiences under the guidance of a faculty member and alongside a community partner.

The Civic Inquiry Program will feature a range of curricular offerings. QEP Civic Inquiry courses will be upper-level undergraduate classes built around or including a significant community-based research or design project. The courses will be offered across academic disciplines in Rice's six Schools: the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the School of Humanities, the School of Social Sciences, the School of Architecture, and the Shepherd School of Music. 

QEP Civic Inquiry courses will expand the number and type of research and design experiences available to Rice undergraduates. The courses will also provide participating students with a structured process of critical reflection on the intellectual and civic aspects of their community experiences, and offer undergraduate students opportunities to work on community problems under the guidance of expert faculty and in collaboration with community partners. To encourage extended and individual research, the Civic Inquiry Program will offer students summer research opportunities and fellowships as well as enhanced collaboration with existing undergraduate research programs such as Century Scholars and the Rice Undergraduate Scholars Program 7 .



  1. The Century Scholars program matches select incoming freshmen with faculty mentors for a two-year period. During that time, the student and mentor collaborate on one of the mentor's research projects. Participating students receive a two-year merit scholarship and a research stipend. The Rice Undergraduate Scholars Program is designed for undergraduates who may be considering graduate school and careers in research or scholarship. Participating students (approximately 15 per year) work with individual faculty mentors, attend weekly class meetings on topics related to research methods and scholarship, and present required progress reports and final presentations.