Next MBA application deadline, May 1. You belong here.

School Updates

Rice hosts Diversity Matters series March 21 to April 17

by Sam Byrd

Rice University will host its Diversity Matters series on various dates starting March 21 and running through April 17. The series, which will feature multiple panel speakers in each session, fits into Rice’s overarching commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

“We are very excited about the Diversity Matters series of conversations and workshops that members of the DEI office have helped to organize, and we are grateful for the participation of students, staff and faculty across campus whose contributions have made the events possible,” said Alexander Byrd, vice provost of DEI. “We wanted to focus over the next few weeks on some fundamental ideas and practices related to living and working in vibrant, diverse communities like ours here at Rice but also throughout Houston.”

Rice’s dedication to DEI is evident throughout campus life and across the curriculum. Undergraduates participate in the Diversity Talk during O-Week and subsequently take the Critical Dialogues on Diversity workshops. The Analyzing Diversity general education requirement features coursework focused on how difference is understood across human societies, on how those understandings have changed over time and on the consequences of those understandings for human development.

Alexander Byrd

Now Diversity Matters offers further opportunities to build on this work.

The practices and ideas on which Diversity Matters organizers decided to concentrate are essential aspects of university life: the fundamental but not uncomplicated notion of free expression; the importance of intellectual humility; and the necessity of a commitment to actual conversation, particularly a dedication to having robust and difficult conversations when needed.

Free Expression and DEI, 5:30 – 7 p.m., Thursday, March 21, Rice University Welcome Center in Sewall Hall

Free expression is fundamental to DEI. Still, examples abound where the two notions are in tension. Byrd will moderate a conversation on how university leaders — students, staff and faculty — navigate this terrain. In this discussion, participants will draw on the formative experiences, stories and texts to which they resort when their values related to free expression appear in conflict with their regard for the importance of inclusion and equity in the building of a just and caring community.

Panelists for March 21 include:

  • Amy Dittmar, Howard R. Hughes Provost and executive vice president for academic affairs
  • Omar Syed, vice president and general counsel
  • Alexandra Kieffer, associate professor of musicology, Shepherd School of Music; speaker of the faculty senate
  • Jae Kim and Trevor Tobey, 2024 candidates for president of the Rice student association
  • Neha Kohli and Sohani Sandhu, co-coordinators, Rice Diversity Facilitator Program
  • Prayag Gordy, co-editor in chief, Rice Thresher

Intellectual Humility and DEI, 5:30 – 7 p.m., Thursday, March 28, Multicultural Center

Luziris Pineda Turi, associate vice provost for DEI, will lead the discussion, “Intellectual Humility and DEI.”

Luziris Pineda Turi
Luziris Pineda Turi

“The journey of learning about diversity, equity and inclusion is multi-faceted, multi-layered and lifelong,” said Pineda Turi. “We must not forget that our academic pursuits are successful not only due to our intellectual prowess but also because of our ability to listen to others and understand the limits of our own knowing.”

This panel will explore how diversity, equity and inclusion calls humankind to consider the limitations of our knowledge. It also asks us to be open to unlearning when confronted with ideas that spur us to reactionary stands. Lastly, it reminds us that we all have room to learn, and this matters if a university seeks to be inclusive as much as it is excellent. Faculty and undergraduate and graduate students will share perspectives on maintaining intellectual humility at the forefront of their work.

Panelists for March 28 include:

  • Ameenat Adisa, School of Architecture ’27, RISE ’23
  • Jordan Edmondson, Jones Graduate School of Business ’27, RISE ’23
  • Rodrigo Ferreira, assistant teaching professor computer science
  • Denva Gallant, assistant professor of art history
  • Lesa Tran Lu, executive director Rice Synthetic Biology Institute, associate teaching professor
  • Mamiko Suzuki, lecturer in the Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication
  • Aquib Yacoob, Jones Graduate School of Business ’24

Difficult Conversations & DEI, 4:30 – 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 17, 110 Kraft Hall for Social Science

Shannon LaBove
Shannon LaBove

Shannon LaBove, lecturer and associate director of forensics, will moderate the panel. In the talk, the group will examine why difficult conversations are necessary, the pitfalls and challenges with avoiding such conversations and ways to begin a difficult conversation, specifically related to diversity and inclusion. The aim is to provide tools to make these conversations meaningful and productive.

Panelists for April 17 include:

  • Allison Vogt, associate dean of students
  • Bernie Banks, director of the Doerr Institute
  • Rachel Bonini, assistant director of the Center for Civic Leadership

You May Also Like

Rice is Houston's Choice for the MBA
In The Media

The Jones Graduate School of Business is a power player in the MBA ranks, finishing 18th in Poets&Quants’ composite ranking of the top 100 U.S. programs and sixth in our ranking of the best online MBAs. As of fall 2021, Rice Jones also offers an undergraduate business major. Its first class will graduate this May.