May 14, 2015

Plenary Meeting of the Rice University Faculty

May 14, 2015


I. Presentation and Approval of Undergraduate Degree Candidates

II. Presentation and Approval of Undergraduate Honors

III. Presentation and Approval of Candidates for Advanced Degrees

IV. Actions of the Faculty Senate, 2014-2015

V. Remarks from President Leebron

I. Presentation and Approval of Undergraduate Degree Candidates

Professor Rachel Kimbro, Deputy Speaker of the Faculty Senate, called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. She welcomed the assembled faculty members and administrators to the annual plenary meeting. Kimbro explained that the main purpose of the meeting was to approve the undergraduate and graduate degree candidates. She welcomed Registrar David Tenney to the podium.

Tenney distributed the lists of candidates recommended for undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as summaries, shown below:

Recommended Undergraduate Degrees

May 2015

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Bachelor of Science (BS)


BS in Bioengineering (BSBE)


BS in Chemical Engineering (BSCHE)


BS in Civil Engineering (BSCE)


BS in Computer Science (BSCS)


BS in Electrical Engineering (BSEE)


BS in Materials Science & Nano Eng. (BSMSNE)


BS in Mechanical Engineering (BSME)


Bachelor of Music (BMUS)


Total (undergraduate degrees)


Bachelor of Architecture (UP)


Grand Total (undergraduate degrees)


* Actual # of students: (431 Men, 442 Women) 873 UGs and (6 Men, 17 Women) 23 UPs

Tenney said that the University Committee for Examinations and Standing (EX&S) had endorsed the list of undergraduate degree candidates, and that no exceptions were required. Tenney added that the Degree Works system had successfully allowed students to track their progress towards graduation.

Deborah Harter said that the work of Registrar Tenney was exceptional, and he received a hearty round of applause. Tenney thanked two of his colleagues in the registrar’s office, Ellen Everett and Justin Schilke.

Harter made a motion to approve the undergraduate degree candidates, it was seconded, and the faculty voted unanimously for approval.

II. Presentation and Approval of Undergraduate Honors

Tenney presented the Latin Honors information, which he reminded the faculty is determined by school. He said that the students with the highest 5% of the grades in their school receive Summa Cum Laude, the next 10% receive Magna Cum Laude, and the next 15% receive Cum Laude (for a total of 30% per school). View the graphs presented to the faculty by the registrar.

Tenney noted that in the future semesters, the value of an A+ will be 4.0 instead of 4.33, which he said may require calculating Latin Honors out to more decimals. He was asked a couple of questions, to which he said that a “Report to the President” with more information will be completed within a few weeks, and it will be placed on the registrar’s website, available to the Rice community.

Tenney stated that the candidates for Latin Honors were endorsed by EX&S. A motion was made to approve the candidates, it was seconded, and the assembled faculty voted unanimously for approval.

III. Presentation and Approval of Advanced Degrees

Deputy Speaker Kimbro welcomed Professor James Faubion, chair of the Graduate Council, to the podium. Faubion reported that the Graduate Council met on May 12, 2015, and its members voted to endorse the candidates for advanced degrees. He said that there were 92 Ph.D. candidates, 4 Artist Diplomas in Music, and 520 Master’s degree candidates, as shown below, and there were no exceptions required:

Recommended Advanced Degrees – Doctorate & Artist Diplomas

May 2015

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Total of Doctorate Degrees


Artist Diploma in Music


Grand Total (Doctorate & Artist Diplomas)


Recommended Graduate Degrees (Master’s Level)

May 2015

Master of Arts (MA)


Master of Science (MS)


Master of Architecture (MARCH)


Master of Music (MMUS)


Master of Business Administration (MBA)


Master of Liberal Studies (MLS)


Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)


Master of Bioengineering (MBE)


Master of Chemical Engineering (MCHE)


Master of Computer Science (MCS)


Master of Computational & Applied Mathematics (MCAAM)


Master of Electrical Engineering (MEE)


Master of Materials Science & Nano Engineering (MMSNE)


Master of Mechanical Engineering (MME)


Master of Statistics (MSTAT)


Master of Science Teaching (MST)


Master of Science in Bioscience and Health Policy (MSBHP)


Master of Science in Environmental Analysis & Decision Making (MSEADM)


Master of Science in Nanoscale Physics (MSNP)


Master of Science in Space Studies (MSSPS)


Master of Science in Subsurface Geoscience (MSSG)


Grand Total (Graduate Degrees – Master’s Level)


Kimbro made a motion to approve the candidates, it was seconded, and the faculty voted unanimously for approval.

IV. Actions of the Faculty Senate, 2014-2015

Kimbro summarized the actions of the Faculty Senate during the past academic year.

Approved Undergraduate Programs
Minor in Environmental Studies
Minor in Politics, Law, and Social Thought
Certificate in Engineering Leadership
Department of History International Concentration

Approved Undergraduate PoliciesGA revision regarding Majors, Minors, and Certificates
GA revision regarding Course Load and Transfer Credit
GA revision regarding Non-Traditional Coursework
Approved Academic Calendar 2016-2017, including probable alignment with HISD Spring Break

Approved Graduate Programs and PoliciesProcedures for Graduate Honor Council
Professional Master of Energy Economics
Guidelines for Graduate Certificates
Certificate in Teaching and Learning
Certificate in the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Other Policies and ProceduresRevised the “Faculty Statement on Consensual, Amorous Relations with Students”
Revised the “Review of Deans” policy
Approved the recommendations from the Task Force on Non-Tenure-Track Faculty
Endorsed the establishment of a Faculty Ombuds
Endorsed a pilot program with IDEA to administer course and instructor evaluations
Approved a Working Group to Assess the Honor System (2015-2016)

Kimbro thanked James Weston for serving as speaker, and she said that she looks forward to serving with him again next year as deputy speaker. Kimbro then announced the senators for 2015-2016:

Natural Sciences: David Alexander, Kate Beckingham, Jerry Dickens,
Michael Kohn, Anatoly Kolomeisky, Michael Wolf

Engineering: Keith Cooper, Michael Diehl, Marek Kimmel,
Luay Nakhleh, Laura Segatori

Humanities: Graham Bader, Daniel Cohen, Claire Fanger,
Julie Fette, Timothy Morton, Kerry Ward

Social Sciences: Jeffrey Fleisher, Rachel Kimbro, Susan McIntosh,
Stephan Motowidlo (for Fred Oswald, while on sabbatical)

Architecture: Christopher Hight

Jones School of Business: Erik Dane, James Weston

Shepherd School of Music: Robert Atherholt, Charles Geyer

Non-Tenure-Track Faculty: Dave Caprette, Scott Cutler,
Jonathan Ludwig, Stan Sazykin

Presidential Appointees: Gwen Bradford, Illya Hicks

Ex officio members: President Leebron, Provost Miranda

Kimbro also thanked the senators whose terms have expired:

Betty Joseph (Humanities)

Susan Lurie (Humanities)

Brian Rountree (Jones School of Business)

Provost McLendon

Finally, Kimbro thanked the chairs of each of the University Committees:

Ric Stoll, Admissions

James Disch, Athletics

Elias Bongmba, EX&S

Richard Grandy, Faculty & Staff Benefits

Matthew Baring, Fellowships & Awards

James Faubion, Graduate Council

David Tobin, Library

Keith Cooper, Marshals

Don Morrison, Faculty Advisory Committee to the Office of Faculty Development

Will Cannady, Parking and Transportation

Andre Droxler, President’s Lecture Series

Helena Michie, Faculty Advisory Board to the Program for Writing in the Curriculum

George Phillips, Research

Michael Gustin, Teaching

Susan McIntosh, Undergraduate Curriculum

V. Remarks from President Leebron

President Leebron thanked Speaker Weston and Deputy Speaker Kimbro for their service. He said that he had enjoyed a successful relationship with the Faculty Senate for a decade. He applauded the issues that the Senate has tackled, as well as the things that the Senate has chosen not to do. He also thanked Rachel Kimbro for leading the search for Rice’s next provost, Marie Lynn Miranda.

Leebron announced that Rice received a significant gift from Rice alumni Ann and John Doerr to establish the Doerr Institute for New Leaders.

Regarding commencement, Leebron encouraged the assembled faculty members to view the video collection of graduating seniors, which he said was inspiring. Leebron spoke proudly of the opportunities that Rice was able to provide, as well as the students who are enjoying the full value of the opportunities. He said that, weather permitting, the Saturday morning commencement ceremonies would be held outdoors, and he encouraged faculty to attend the masters’ degree ceremony.

Leebron then read the names of faculty members who died during the past year, and he asked for a moment of silence.

Tim Cochran
James Kinsey
F. Curtis Michel
Joe Hightower
John Merwin

President Leebron recognized the following faculty members who are retiring from Rice, including J.D. Wise, who attended the meeting, and who has served the university for 20 years.

Herve Moulin (15 years)

Mark Epstein (16)

Daniel Mittleman (16)

David McStravick (17)

Marcela Salas (18)

W. J. Llope (19)

J.D. Wise (20)

George Kanatas (21)

Michael Carroll (26)

Paul Stevenson (30)

Edward Williams (36)

Elizabeth Long (36)

Marcia Citron (39)

Lane Kauffman (39)

Mark A. Kulstad (40)

Reginald Dufour (40)

Spencer Parsons (45)

Neal Lane (48)

Allen Matusow (52)

Kimbro thanked the faculty for attending, and she adjourned the meeting at 10:30 a.m.