Rice University: First annual Rice Business DEI report shows action toward fostering culture of respect, opportunity


Rice Business has released its first annual report on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

The report highlights internal efforts to become a more welcoming and accepting community, a major priority for Peter Rodriguez, dean of the Jones Graduate School of Business.

“People come here to work together, to study, to learn,” Rodriguez said. “And they bring with them their entire background: their history, their family’s history, their culture, their identity, their religion, their nationality — all of these things come together. We need to use everything in our power to ensure people here feel embraced and included and that we thrive as an organization. And that’s why we’re committed to DEI as a central part of our culture here at Rice Business.”

In response to the Task Force on Racial Equity and Social Justice Rodriguez established in 2020, the school’s Office for DEI has expanded. Its mission is to facilitate an environment where all students feel a sense of belonging and are valued and respected by offering opportunities for dialogue and learning through initiatives and programming for the Rice Business community.

Students at Rice Business
DEI is embedded into every facet of how students, faculty and staff engage with one another, said Connie Porter, senior associate dean for DEI and associate clinical professor of marketing at the Jones School. The office helps enhance the student experience with recruiting and career support as well as supplementing curriculum, which elevates “cultural competency” through “everyday inclusion,” Porter explained.

“We want every member of our community to thrive,” she said.

The report highlights the DEI office’s actions in support of its mission in five strategic areas: school culture, leadership and oversight, curriculum and programs, external engagement and student, faculty and staff development.

“We want each member of our community, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, religious beliefs, political views, gender and any other aspects of their identities, to feel wholly accepted, included and valued,” Porter said. “Everyone has enormous talent and potential to contribute as an ally, advocate, teacher, scholar and/or leader.”

This year, more women, more Asian students, more Black students and more students who identify as LGBTQ joined Rice Business to pursue an MBA.