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The Office of Public Affairs' bimonthly measurements and metrics
September-October 2019
Big Stories

Rice baseball star wins World Series ring

NEST360 raises $68M to save African babies

Mideast news analysis

Media Highlights

Rice baseball star wins World Series ring

The Astros fell short, but Rice won big in the World Series. Anthony Rendon ’12 sparked a comeback victory for the underdog Washington Nationals to win baseball’s fall classic — at the hometown Astros' expense. His connection to Rice was repeatedly cited during live television coverage of the World Series, and his link to the university was mentioned or highlighted in stories carried by more than 1,000 media outlets including the New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and, of course, the Washington Post.

NEST360 raises $68M to save African babies

NEST360, an international collaboration launched at Rice, received $68 million for an initiative to develop critical neonatal technologies for underdeveloped countries. The announcement in London triggered a wave of coverage — especially in the European media — including the BBC World Service, which carried the story on more than 1,350 affiliated radio stations around the world.

Mideast news analysis

Developments in the Middle East led reporters and television producers to ask Rice faculty for expert analysis in unusually large numbers during the last quarter. The death of the leader of ISIS, tensions in the Persian Gulf and uncertainty in oil markets all generated calls for commentary from CNN, CBC, NPR and PRI. One story alone featuring an interview from the Baker Institute’s Kristian Coates Ulrichsen aired on more than 900 NPR affiliates.
For a list of September and October media stars, please see the last section of this report. 
Government Relations

Fall in Texas means football, Astros in the playoffs — and Government Relations 

In September and October, Government Relations kept as busy as a high school football coach on a Friday night. In September, the team helped plan and host multiple visits from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine ’98, including his participation in the Rice vs. University of Texas (UT) football game at NRG Stadium Sept. 14. Bridenstine conducted the coin toss for the game and participated in several activities involving Rice students and alumni that Government Relations helped coordinate, including a pregame talk with the Rice football team and meetings with Rice President David Leebron and UT President Greg Fenves at the stadium.
Less than two weeks later, Government Relations continued the theme of engaging NASA leadership when NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen, was on campus. The department helped arrange a meeting for interim Vice President for Research Yousif Shamoo, Dean of Natural Sciences Peter Rossky and Zurbuchen to discuss the long-term strategic research relationship Rice is pursuing with NASA. 
In early October, Government Relations traveled to Capitol Hill to conduct eight meetings with House, Senate and administration offices, including a meeting at NASA headquarters. In mid-October, we arranged a half-day campus visit from state Sen. Brandon Creighton, chairman of the Texas Senate's Committee on Higher Education, including a conversation with President Leebron to discuss Rice's priorities. Government Relations closed out October by helping Rice's Office of Research and Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering execute a large event to kick off and formally announce a major new research initiative with Army Research Laboratories, which is the direct result of Government Relations successfully hosting Army Futures Command’s Commanding General in April.
University Relations

Rice welcomes Saudi ambassador

Through Rice’s Welcome Center in Sewall Hall, University Relations manages protocol for special campus visitors. In October, the team welcomed Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States. She paid a visit to the Baker Institute during a program on the future of space exploration hosted by George Abbey, the institute’s senior fellow in space policy. Because she has a degree in museum studies, Princess Reema went on a tour of the Moody Center for the Arts led by Executive Director Alison Weaver. Also at the Moody Center, Princess Reema and her brother viewed the “Moon Shot” exhibit honoring the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and enjoyed a virtual reality art installation.
Creative Services

Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication brochure

Creative Services designed and edited a trifold brochure for the Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication. To increase student awareness of the center’s programs, the brochure includes information about the courses offered, service-learning opportunities, cultural events and more.

RISE Nobel Laureate Lecture Series flyer

Working with the School of Social Sciences, Creative Services designed and edited a flyer to promote the RISE Nobel Laureate Lecture Series. Each year, noted speakers are invited to campus to discuss key economic topics. In October, Peter Diamond, an Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT and recipient of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences, spoke about the future of Social Security.

Psychological Sciences enamel coin

Creative Services designed a 2 1/2-inch enamel coin for the Department of Psychological Sciences. One hundred coins were produced to give to visitors, Brown Bag speakers, colloquium speakers and honor students. The coin incorporated the refreshed Rice branding as well as personalized design elements for Psychological Sciences.
Multicultural Community Relations

Vigil honors victims of mass shootings

Multicultural Community Relations (MCR) was the lead organizer for a panel discussion and vigil that honored victims of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio. Nearly 300 people attended the somber event Sept. 13 in the Rice Memorial Center. President David Leebron set the stage with his moving opening remarks and was by followed by six panelists, composed of Rice professors and students, who offered their heartfelt thoughts about the tragedies. Houston Poet Laureate Leslie Contreras Schwartz ’02 recited a poem, and the presidents of the Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice and the Black Student Association read the names of the victims. The event was sponsored by 13 departments and members of the Rice community. 

Rice mariachi band featured on Channel 13

MCR was instrumental in getting Rice’s Mariachi Luna Llena on Channel 13’s morning edition Oct. 23. The student band celebrated the Astros’ return to the World Series with a mariachi rendition of the popular song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

MCR represents Rice at African American galas in Houston

In October, MCR hosted members of the Rice community at two galas supporting African American organizations. Rice staff and alumni attended the 25th annual Greater Houston Black Chamber Pinnacle Awards, which celebrates the excellence of black businesses. Student officers from the Black Student Association, the Rice African Student Association and the National Society of Black Engineers attended the NAACP Houston Branch 101st Freedom Fun Advocacy and Awards Dinner.
Marketing and Digital Communications
In September and October, Rice social media channels received more than 3 million impressions and more than 250,000 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 the U.S. News & World Report rankings announcement. The video was viewed more than 2,000 times and the post was retweeted 30 times.

Facebook’s top post was a behind-the-scenes video of Mariachi Luna Llena’s performance of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” The video received more than 17,000 impressions and received more than 2,000 engagements.

LinkedIn’s top post was a research video. The video was viewed more than 3,000 times and the post received 76 reactions.

Instagram’s top post was a photo of a rainbow over Lovett Hall. The photo received more 24,000 impressions and is the second most-liked Instagram photo with 3,178 likes.

Google Analytics for shows an increase in traffic to the site from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31. Total page views were 1,111,386, with visitors spending an average time of 5 minutes, 33 seconds on the site and a bounce rate of 26%. These numbers show a significant improvement over the previous period, most likely attributed to the page continuously being optimized to meet visitors’ needs.
September/October vs. July/August
Page Views: 1,111,386 vs. 675,995
Average Time on Page: 5 minutes, 33 seconds vs. 4 minutes, 49 seconds
Bounce Rate: 26.30% vs. 37.78%
As of Oct. 31, Public Affairs and the Office of Information Technology have successfully launched two new Drupal 8 websites: the Building Research on Inequality and Diversity to Grow Equity (BRIDGE) and the Center for African and African American Studies (CAAAS).
The two departments are also collaborating on 43 additional websites as part of the migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. Some of the websites currently under development are:
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Language Initiative
  • Carbon Hub
  • Center for Civic Leadership
  • Enterprise Data and Business Intelligence
  • Facilities Engineering and Planning
  • George R. Brown School of Engineering
  • Glasscock School of Continuing Studies
  • K-12 Initiatives
  • Kinesiology
  • Master of Social Policy Evaluation
  • Neuroengineering
  • OwlSpark
  • Public Affairs
  • Religion and Public Life Program
  • Rice News and Media Relations
  • Rice Student Association
  • Rice Summer Sessions
  • School of Humanities
  • School of Social Sciences
  • The Shepherd School of Music
Media Stars
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, fellow for the Middle East at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, had the highest number of media mentions — 2,040 — during September and October, mainly for comments about the Middle East. Below are members of the Rice community who were mentioned in the media 10 or more times during September and October.
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen 2,040
Jim Krane 1,107
Gabriel Collins 1,063
Mark Jones 852
Douglas Brinkley 825
Vivian Ho 793
Amelie Carlton 607
Max Besbris 438
Francisco Monaldi 320
Scott Sonenshein 246
Mike Bloomgren 212
Haotian Wang 197
Wiley Green 158
David Leebron 152
Chuan Xia 141
Bob Stein 115
Diane Crossey 92
Carly Graham 91
Aston Walter 76
James Tour 74
Mattheau Comerford 65
Kirsten Ostherr 63
Clark Haptonstall 61
Jim Blackburn 59
John Li 56
Brielle Bryan 52
Michael Stanford  49
Tony Payan 48
Utpal Dholakia 46
Tom Stewart 46
Nicole Lennon 45
Caleb McDaniel 44
Daniel Cohan 43
Scott Egan 42
Genny Volpe 42
Blaze Alldredge 41
Albert Pope 41
Jesús Vassallo 41
Allison Thacker 39
Anthony Ekpe 37
Vikas Mittal 37
Mark Ditman 35
Peter Rodriguez 35
Ryan LeVasseur 34
Robert Bruce 33
Anthony Pinn 33
Steve Murdock 32
Kori Stroub 32
Katharine Neill Harris 31
Weezie Mackey 31
Myles Adams 30
Alan Crane 30
Elijah Garcia 30
Stephen Klineberg 30
Chad Fisher 28
Bill Arnold 27
Susan McIntosh 27
Brian Riedel 27
Christy Landes 25
Anna Ta 25
Christina Tan 25
Maria Oden 24
Rebecca Richards-Kortum 24
Dan Wallach 24
Eden King 22
Angel Martí 22
Austin Trammell 22
Paul Brace 21
Jeffrey Kripal 21
Will Harrison 20
Aryeh Warmflash 19
Matthew Bennett 18
Marc Epstein 18
Jacob Robinson 18
George Britton 17
Stephan Link 17
Jennifer Carns 15
Cin-Ty Lee 15
Han Xiao 15
Phil Bedient 14
Trey Schuman 14
Dominic Boyer 13
Ahalya Lettenberger 12
Kenneth Medlock 12
Qimiao Si 12
Boris Yakobson 12
John Anderson 11
Bill Fulton 10
Kyle Shelton  10
The chart below shows Rice’s media mentions since 2007. The green column reflects the number of Rice media mentions so far this year as of Oct. 31, 2019.
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