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The Office of Public Affairs' bimonthly measurements and metrics
November-December 2019
Big Stories

Secretary of State Pompeo visits Rice

Impeachment drama

Saudi Aramco hits the stock market

Media Highlights

Secretary of State Pompeo visits Rice

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech on foreign affairs at the Baker Institute for Public Policy on Nov. 15. He addressed a variety of subjects, from U.S. relations with China to President Donald Trump pulling American troops out of Syria. Pompeo was one of three high-level administration officials to appear at Rice in 2019, along with Vice President Mike Pence and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. His speech generated nearly 750 media mentions of Rice in outlets as diverse as the Associated Press, the Washington Examiner, Fox News and the Hill.

Impeachment drama

The impeachment of President Trump has led reporters and television producers to regularly call on Rice faculty for perspective and political insights. The historic House vote led to almost 1,000 media mentions of Rice in the last two months of 2019 in outlets such as CNN, the Associated Press, the Daily Mail and Huffington Post. The Senate trial is continuing to generate demand for Rice faculty expertise in the new year.

Saudi Aramco hits the stock market

Saudi Arabia launched the world’s largest initial public offering (IPO) when its stock exchange began selling shares in Saudi Aramco, but the $1.88 trillion valuation on the first day of trading fell short of what the Saudis originally expected. Experts at the Baker Institute were widely quoted by reporters and produced some 325 mentions of Rice in media outlets around the world, including the Wall Street Journal, Agence France-Presse, the National Review and Forbes India.

For a list of November and December media stars,  please see the last section of this report. 
Government Relations

Government Relations concludes another successful year of outreach and support

As 2019 came to a close, Government Relations engaged in a variety of activities supporting Rice’s state and federal priorities while elevating Rice’s profile with government offices. In November, Government Relations participated in the service academy nomination board for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and helped facilitate a science policy discussion between Kelvin Droegemeier, director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, and university leaders including President David Leebron. In addition, we participated in a tax policy discussion with Rep. Tom Reed, a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means. Also in November, we led a trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) for a meeting between JSC Director Mark Geyer and a Rice delegation including Vice Provost for Research Yousif Shamoo and deans Reggie DesRoches and Peter Rossky. 
In December, Government Relations supported OpenStax’s participation in an education and workforce development task force meeting at a national legislative conference in Arizona. We also helped host a two-day campus visit from the director of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command. We worked with the Baker Institute to plan, host and moderate a roundtable discussion on homelessness best practices between Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Rep. Dan Crenshaw and leaders of Houston’s homeless-serving nonprofits network. Meanwhile, President Leebron participated in the congressional district’s service academy nomination interviews with Crenshaw.
University Relations

2019–2020 Rice United Way Campaign concludes

The 2019–2020 Rice United Way Campaign concluded over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend with a total of 881 campus colleagues contributing $285,250, an all-time record. For the past six years, Rice’s annual United Way campaign, managed by the Office of University Relations, has consistently ranked among the top 50 institutional campaigns citywide, thanks in large part to the generosity of retiring Rice Board of Trustees Chairman Bobby Tudor ’82.
Tudor’s matching gift contributions over the past eight years have encouraged members of the Rice community to make new and increased gifts that lifted the Rice campaign into the United Way’s top-tier Chairman’s Division giving society. Under Tudor, who also serves as honorary chair of the Rice United Way Campaign, Rice has raised more than $2.1 million for United Way to help fulfill the university’s Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade (V2C2) commitment to engaging our community and empowering its success.
Creative Services

Veterans Day program

Creative Services edited and designed Rice’s 2019 Veterans Day Ceremony program. The event took place Nov. 11 in Rice Memorial Center’s Ray Courtyard. George Hirasaki ’67, the A.J. Hartsook Professor Emeritus of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, was honored for his military service. The ceremony also recognized World War II veteran C.M. “Hank” Hudspeth ’40, lecturer of political science and trustee emeritus, who passed away last July.

Rice Media Center save the date

The Rice Media Center celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020, and Creative Services is working on a package of materials — including invitations, programs and posters — for the center’s anniversary events. The first project in this series is a save the date, which was mailed to 1,000 Visual and Dramatic Arts Department alumni.

Humanities book presentation poster

Creative Services edited and designed a poster for the School of Humanities to promote a Nov. 18 book presentation. The event featured a conversation with Rice faculty members and Rodrigo Ferreira, a Rice Academy postdoctoral fellow, who translated “Modernity and ‘Whiteness’” by Bolívar Echeverría. Digital copies of the poster were emailed to outside colleagues, and 70 posters were printed and distributed across campus.
Multicultural Community Relations

MCR supports Rice’s diverse alumni and student groups

The Association of Rice University Black Alumni, the Black Student Association and Multicultural Community Relations (MCR) hosted the third annual reception for new black faculty members and administrators Nov. 7. MCR also arranged a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for members of the Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice and the Society of Latino Alumni at Rice to view the exhibition of Colombian artist Beatriz Gonzalez Nov. 22.

The poetic word from Latin America

Along with Casa Cultural de las Americas, MCR cosponsored a poet society conference Nov. 5. The conference featured 12 international Latino poets and drew an audience of close to 200 people in the Rice Memorial Center’s Grand Hall. Peruvian singer Tania Libertad capped off the night with a series of songs that captivated the crowd.

Engaging with politics, history and poetry

MCR hosted two luncheons in November, one for the new consulate general of Spain and another for the new consulate general of Mexico. The luncheons introduced the two consulate generals to members of the Rice community who deal with Spain and Mexico. As part of the Community Dialogue Luncheon, MCR invited history Professor Caleb McDaniel to talk about his new book, “A Sweet Taste of Liberty.” The event was attended by more than 30 community leaders. MCR and English Professor Jose Aranda cosponsored a poetry writing workshop for Rice students and staff Nov. 14. The workshop featured Leslie Contreras Schwartz ’02, who is Houston’s poet laureate, and other Latina poets.
Marketing and Digital Communications
In November and December, Rice social media channels received more than 3 million impressions and more than 100,000 engagements.
Impressions: The number of times the content was seen.
Engagements: The number of interactions (likes, shares, comments, clicks, etc.).
Followers: The number of people who follow the main Rice accounts.
Twitter’s top post was a photo of Lovett Hall with a caption that referenced the “Harry Potter” books. The post received more than 36,000 impressions and had 3,800 engagements.  

Facebook’s top post was about Rice’s graduate entrepreneurship program ranking No. 1 in the U.S. The post reached more than 17,000 people and received more than 2,000 engagements.

LinkedIn’s top post was a video about Rice’s high-achieving women athletes. The video was viewed more than 9,000 times and had 240 engagements.

Instagram’s top post was a photo of Lovett Hall with a caption referencing the “Harry Potter” books. The post received more than 27,000 impressions and 3,655 likes, making this our most-liked photo to date.

Google Analytics for shows a decrease in traffic from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31. Total page views were 884,468, with visitors spending an average of 5 minutes, 36 seconds on the site, an increase from the previous period. While there was a higher bounce rate and a lower number of visitors over the previous period, this is common and can be attributed to the Thanksgiving holiday and winter break.
November/December vs. September/October
Page Views: 884,468 vs. 1,111,386
Average Time on Page: 5 minutes, 36 seconds vs. 5 minutes, 33 seconds
Bounce Rate: 29.44% vs. 26.30%
As of Dec. 31, Public Affairs and the Office of Information Technology have successfully launched 13 Drupal 8 websites; most notable are the sites for the Office of Financial Aid, Carbon Hub and Housing and Dining.
The two departments are also collaborating on an additional 62 websites as part of the Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 migration. Some of the websites currently under development are:
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Language Initiative
  • Art History
  • Boniuk Institute
  • Center for Civic Leadership
  • Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences
  • Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication
  • Chemistry
  • Computational and Applied Mathematics
  • DACA and Undocumented Students
  • Dean of Undergraduates
  • Doerr Institute for New Leaders
  • Energy and Environment Initiative
  • English
  • Enterprise Data and Business Intelligence
  • Environmental Health and Safety
  • Events
  • Facilities Engineering and Planning
  • George R. Brown School of Engineering
  • Glasscock School of Continuing Studies
  • Houston Education Research Consortium
  • Ken Kennedy Institute
  • Kinesiology
  • Neuroengineering
  • Office of Multicultural Affairs
  • Office of the President
  • Office of the Provost
  • OwlSpark
  • Physics
  • Profiles (faculty, staff and students)
  • Religion and Public Life Program
  • Resources for Corporate Partners
  • Rice Alliance
  • Rice At Large
  • Rice Magazine
  • Rice Management Co.
  • Rice News and Media Relations
  • Rice Student Association
  • Rice Transportation Demand Management
  • School of Humanities
  • School of Social Sciences
  • Student Judicial Programs
  • Student Success Initiatives
  • Success and Opportunity
  • Tapia Center (includes Tapia Camps)
  • The Chemistry of Art
  • The SAFE Office: Interpersonal Misconduct Prevention and Support
  • The Shepherd School of Music
  • Volunteer (Development and Alumni Relations)
  • Wellbeing and Counseling Center
  • Welcome Center
Media Stars
Constance Porter, assistant clinical professor of marketing at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business, had the highest number of media mentions — 1,515 — during November and December, mainly for comments about the limited reopening of Toys R Us in Houston. Below are members of the Rice community who were mentioned in the media 10 or more times during November and December.
Constance Porter 1,515
Mark Jones 1,104
Douglas Brinkley 1,079
Utpal Dholakia 1,062
Drew Peterson 758
Scott Sonenshein 736
Vivian Ho 618
Kirsten Ostherr 610
Trey Murphy III 564
Robert Martin 545
Jeffrey Kripal 532
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen 478
Ako Adams 454
Tony Payan 443
Erica Ogwumike 437
Mike Bloomgren 436
Tom Stewart 403
Payton Moore 346
Quincy Olivari 340
JoVoni Johnson 302
Aston Walter 300
Jim Krane 292
Brad Rozner 253
Chris Mullins 243
Jim Blackburn 228
Tina Langley 211
Jerry Mack 181
Blaze Alldredge 173
Chris Barnes 166
Robbie Picazo 143
Sydne Wiggins 137
Nicole Lennon 132
Jonathan Ajo-Franklin 123
Kelsey Norman 119
Scott Solomon 102
Scott Pera  89
Genny Volpe 84
Anota Adekunle 79
Andrew Barron 79
Peter Rodriguez 77
Nancy Mulkey 64
Bill Fulton 55
Dan Wallach 50
Jun Lou 48
Kelly Weinersmith 47
Jia Liang 45
Kevin McHugh 45
James Tour 41
Ken Cowan 40
Lydia Beaudrot 39
Norman Fischer 37
Richard Gunasekera 37
Patricia Reiff 36
Robert Englebretson 34
Artem Kuznetsov 33
Alexah Chrisman 32
Jasmine Smith 32
Nick Leverett 29
Bob Stein 29
Lee Ann Cunningham 20
Ebrahim Nabizadeh 20
Anshumali Shrivastava 20
Xiaoyin Tian 19
Jing Zhang 19
Adria Martinez 18
Seyed Mohammad Sajadi 16
Tori Woogk  16
Marie Lynn Miranda 15
Francisco J. Monaldi 13
Quianta Moore 13
Kyle Shelton 13
Kenneth Medlock 12
Sylvia Dee 11
Mark Torres 11
Chris Hakkenberg 10
Grace Morgan  10
The chart below shows Rice’s media mentions since 2007. The green column reflects the number of Rice media mentions for 2019.
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