Rice celebrates our dedicated staff members and the unique contributions they bring to our community. Please consider the following (below) when nominating a colleague. Those submitting a nomination should first check with the staff member’s direct supervisor, to ensure he or she supports the nomination. Next, each nominee should have:
- completed at least 1 year of benefits-eligible service (from the day of the nomination) at Rice;
- demonstrated career mobility (e.g. promoted, held more than one position, etc.);
- displayed excellence by contributing to Rice work outside of their normal job responsibilities (e.g. served on a project team, university committee, etc.);
- exhibited the values and principles outlined in the RICE MILE.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email Melinda English at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Executive Administrator, Electrical and Computer Engineering (At Rice since August 2012. This position since October 2013.)
- Please describe your professional path while at Rice.
My transition from teaching adolescents to university program administration began with a position as Graduate Program Administrator in ECE. Over time, my responsibilities increased as department needs changed, and the chair demonstrated confidence in the value of my skills and experiences in filling those needs. Shortly after transitioning to the department administrator position, I came across an article questioning whether research administrators work for or with faculty. How an individual responds to that question has a profound impact on the relationship with faculty and staff, perceptions about the work you do, and the perceptions others have about your skills and abilities.
- What has had the BIGGEST IMPACT on your career path (choices you have made)?
Rice ECE has the most productive ECE faculty in the nation, which means the staff have to be equally productive; we handle any administrative task that we can manage – and challenge ourselves to find new ways to remove administrative burden from faculty. When presented with well-researched solutions to administrative dilemmas, faculty respond very positively, thus creating a positive and successful work environment. Our focus on initiative, communication, problem solving – basically professionalism – has led us to build a great team; we can handle any problem when we work together with our faculty.
- WHO at Rice has played a significant role (up to this point) in your career while here?
While many people have supported me in my career at Rice – department chairs, administrative office staff, and colleagues across campus – the success of the ECE Department depends on the ability of the ECE staff and faculty to work together. Without a doubt, the ECE staff has played a significant role in my career at Rice.
Because they take welcome new challenges and then work to understand the university at a deep level, they request details that require me to reach out to departments across campus and to ask difficult questions. They have encouraged me in my efforts to help the team understand why we do things and how we can add value to the department and the university as a whole. Each question they ask helps build my own understanding of the structure of Rice University and allows me to help the team develop a clear understanding of how their own roles fit into the big picture.
Go Team Llama!
- What do you ENJOY MOST about working at Rice?
In so many ways, Rice is a microcosm of the world and is a perfect place for young adults to mature. It’s a safe place to take on new challenges because mistakes are accepted as learning and growth opportunities. This goes for students as well as faculty and staff. The camaraderie at Rice stems from a group of people with diverse interests and who work in a variety of capacities towards the common goal of educating young people.
- What is 1 tip you would give a newer Rice professional as they navigate their career at Rice?
Rice is an dynamic community with experts on every subject who are willing to share their knowledge. We have people who have been here for decades in the same positions and those who have moved around campus. Become part of this community – if you reach out, people will pull you in. If people are reaching out to you – say yes and see where the ride will take you.