After nearly a year and a half of consultation and refinement, Vision to 2025
, the Strategic Plan for the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University, is available online for the Rice engineering community.
“When the plan is implemented, the School of Engineering will be recognized around the world as a premier program, with a top-10 ranking for private engineering schools,” said Reginald DesRoches, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering.
The plan aligns with the University’s Vision for the Second Century (V2C2), and contains three strategic goals: research and translation, education and outreach, and culture and operations. It proposes such ambitious objectives as expanding facilities, growing the faculty by 30 percent, and increasing research in key focus areas. The goals will guide investments in the school over the next seven years.
Under the strategic goal of research and translation, the plan pledges that the school will achieve status as a top-10 private engineering program through research preeminence in strategic areas. This will be accomplished, in part, by establishing 20 new endowed chairs to attract outstanding faculty and “reward high achievers.” The strategic areas include engineering and medicine, molecular nanotechnology and materials, cities of the future, and energy and the environment.
To achieve the education and outreach strategic goal, the school will expand the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen and build the Data to Knowledge laboratory, thus facilitating partnerships with industry, and local and national organizations. Students will be prepared for a data-driven workplace by developing new courses, and establishing majors and minors in data science.
The goal outlined in the category of culture and operations emphasizes the school of engineering’s core tenets of administrative effectiveness, interdisciplinary collaboration and diversity. As part of this goal, the school will strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration in the strategic areas with other schools at Rice.
The process of drawing up the plan started in August 2017, when a Strategic Planning Committee made up of faculty members, staff, students and alumni was assembled. Surveys were distributed to collect opinions on the school’s strengths and weaknesses. The committee sought input from more than 2,000 students, faculty, staff and alumni.
In February 2018, a daylong retreat was held with department chairs and associate deans. The result was a draft of the plan, which was further refined with input from faculty, staff and students. The plan was given to the School of Engineering External Advisory Board later that spring, resulting in additional refinements.
Finally, focus groups of key alumni and local members of the Rice University Board of Trustees were assembled in the summer of 2018, before a final plan was posted for faculty comment. In total, several hundred people contributed to drawing up the plan.
"We are grateful to all the people who took the time to offer insights into the best ways to achieve the bold goals enumerated in the strategic plan. Talented and dedicated people have always been our most valuable commodity," DesRoches said.