Prepared with renewed energy and a vision for the future, the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University is poised for significant growth, greater impact and elevation to the ranks of preeminent engineering programs in the nation. Upon successful implementation of this bold plan, the School of Engineering will be recognized, nationally and internationally, as a premier program, with a top-10 ranking for private engineering schools.

We will achieve excellence by bringing the very best talent to Rice, focusing our efforts in strategic areas, and providing the environment and resources for everyone in our community to flourish. We will be known for outstanding strength in research, unparalleled undergraduate and graduate education, and a strong culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

At the founding of the Rice Institute in 1912, engineering was a central part of the school’s focus and remains so today. Guided by Edgar Odell Lovett’s notion of “No Upper Limit,” the School of Engineering has earned a place among the top schools in the country. We strive not to merely maintain that reputation but to exceed it. In a speech he gave in 1912, Dr. Lovett noted “pleasures of research” are necessarily related to the pleasures of “teaching and public lecturing,” and that “interaction between graduate students and undergraduates was particularly beneficial to undergraduates.” It is in this spirit that this strategic plan is focused on enhancing our research and graduate programs, which will have an undeniable benefit on our undergraduates.

As we look at the challenges facing the world, engineering is crucial to improving our quality of life, security and sustainability. To realize our ambitions, we must partner with the sciences, humanities, social sciences, architecture and business to ensure that our solutions are developed within the context of an increasingly complex world.

We are in a period of unprecedented challenges, but also of unique opportunities brought about through advances in computation and data science, nanotechnology, materials and biotechnology. We will focus our efforts on key strategic interdisciplinary areas that leverage these opportunities, including Engineering & Medicine, Molecular Nanotechnology & Materials, Cities of the Future, and Energy and the Environment.

All of these areas require that we continue to build strength in Computational and Data Sciences. We will leverage our unique location in the heart of Houston — one of the most dynamic, diverse, and entrepreneurial cities in world. We will maintain our strong local presence while enhancing our impact nationally and globally through our research, education and service. The School of Engineering will serve as a force for innovation and entrepreneurship, and help to power an innovation ecosystem at Rice and in Houston.

We will continue our strong tradition of excellence in education by fostering engineering students’ intellectual curiosity, creativity and critical thinking skills. We will provide a foundation for impact through a strong scientific, technical and liberal arts education, and unparalleled research and engineering design opportunities. We will maintain our low student-to-faculty ratio, enabling students to fully engage with our faculty. We will continue to grow and enhance makerspaces for students to learn, create and translate their ideas. We will empower our students to be leaders in their fields, and fearless in the face of uncertainty and complexity.

While talented and dedicated people have always been our most valuable commodity, our infrastructure must support their need to grow and succeed. World-class research, teaching and collaboration require world-class facilities. Our classrooms, labs and other facilities must enable our faculty, staff and students to flourish in their studies and research inquiries. We must provide the infrastructure needed to remove barriers to excellence for everyone in our community.

The future of engineering depends on a diverse workforce with experiences and backgrounds that bring different ideas to the table. Diversity in STEM is important for the future of American competitiveness. We will create a series of programs that enable us to diversify our faculty, staff and student body.

Achieving our bold vision will require resources from our entrepreneurial activities and philanthropy. It will also require that we are better stewards of our current resources and remain efficient in everything we do. We will align administrative support with the research and educational mission of the School of Engineering to engage, equip, empower, enrich and enhance staff support to achieve maximum faculty productivity and impact, and improve the student experience.